Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Don’t You Hate it When You Get Things ‘Almost’ Right

Playing in our IMPS League Weekly Game, I had a neat defensive problem come up that while we almost succeeded, the patient wound up dying anyways at the end.

Our Vul opps got to 3N on the simple auction 1H-1N-3N (4 card majors, 1N is not forcing). Partner led a Small Club, and the Club suit was

KJx              Tx

I won the A, and led my middle Club back, declarer inserted the J, losing to the Q, and partner returned a 3rd Club, clearing the suit and setting up 2 tricks for us. The only problem remaining was to get partner in to cash them.

The interesting part of the hand is the battle in the Heart suit between declarer, having to set up a third trick in the suit, vs us, trying to force an entry to my partners hand to cash Club tricks. The other 2 suits are irrelevant to the story since they were going to provide a set (5) number of tricks for declarer, or enough tricks for us to set the contract, there was no way for declarer to set up any more tricks in those suits.

The Heart suit was, with the spots being of prime importance:

742       AQ65

Declarer won the third Club in hand, and led the 7 of Hearts, partner put the 9 on this, a somewhat unusual card, and declarer played the Q. I survived the first hurdle by pitching the J of Hearts on this. (If I play low, declarer can always play for this position and keep partner off lead by leading up to the Heart A, and ducking if partner plays low, I will not be able to duck any longer) Declarer now came back to hand in Spades, and led a low Heart. Partner, worried about me having JT doubleton of Hearts, played the K now, forgetting that declarer never raised Hearts on the auction, something he probably would have done with 4, even if they were bad. Declarer played the A of Hearts on this, and I made the same mistake that partner did, playing declarer for 4 Hearts rather than the actual position, and did not follow through with pitching the 10 of Hearts.

When I played the actual low Heart, declarer came off board with a low Heart, hoping for something good, and it came up when I had to win this trick, giving declarer a lucky third Heart trick and the contract.

I really found this hand annoying for myself, since I had found the pitch of the J of Hearts under the Q, then did not follow through with the subsequent pitch of the 10, leaving the 8 of Hearts as the boss Heart for partner to cash the 2 Club tricks.

Of course, this might have been a little easier with the 8 of Hearts at the first Heart trick, but that does not really matter. When partner played the 9 and the K, I have to play him for the 8 as well, since there is no way for me to beat the contract if I win any Heart trick. Since it is IMPS, an overtrick from pitching the 10 of Hearts is not really going to matter.

At the other table, it was played from the other side, so there was no Club lead, so out partners easily made an overtrick with more time. This could have allowed us a big swing in the match, instead of winning 1 IMP.

1 comment:

  1. If your partner plays the 8 the first time, he can work out that you have three hearts. With only KJ109 outstanding declarer would play low from dummy on the first round, not the queen, as he knows you will have to win.