Saturday, September 30, 2006

A missed opportunity

Suppose you're playing with me and you hold the following hand:
AKJT752
A9
7
932

All vulnerable, your partner (= me) as dealer, imps scoring, the bidding goes:
pass - pass - 4 - 5
all pass

You may disagree with the 4 bid, but I like it.

I lead a and you take a look at following dummy:
83
J8
KQJ
KJT765

Declarer wins with J in dummy, and leads J which you cover. Now the question arises: how can we defeat this contract? Imo there's a lot known about the entire hand.
- Your partner didn't lead which suggests he holds 2 or more (or 0, which is unlikely because declarer would hold 4 from the Q and wouldn't bid 5).
- He lead , your short suit, which suggests that he's long in , doesn't hold the Ace, but still wanted to give us a ruff.
- Declarer played J, which suggests he holds either KQ or KT. Looking at the vulnerability, I'd rather give him KQ or even KQT, so there won't be another trump trick unless you can ruff.
So there are 2 suits left to try and reach partner for a ruff: and . Looking at the auction and HCP alone, I think you shouldn't give partner A. There's a lot more to say for Q, since we think partner has 2+. Declarer can easily be singleton or void to explain his bidding. There's one more chance for success: partner having a void in either black suit.

So which suit do you play, and which card?

The key is in the lead: if partner played a high , he says you can reach him with , but if he lead a low , he's asking for a return.

At the table, I held Q96, declarer had a singleton. I lead a small instead of a high one, partner took A immediatly but continued K. After analysing this hand, I saw my error. Partner said he thought about a low at the table, but didn't do it because he hoped for another trick. I was glad he realised his argument for playing a high was wrong. We missed an opportunity to defeat 5, but I guess we learned from that mistake...

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