Friday, April 10, 2009

Don't get fancy

I played bridge at the club last night. I usually only play live bridge a couple of times each month. During the week, it's so convenient to play online, and on the weekend, I'm often playing poker.

The second round, I held:
Q 10 A 7 5 4 10 4 3 K Q 10 7.

No one was vulnerable and my right-hand opponent opened 2. I passed as did LHO and partner doubled. RHO passed, and it was my turn. What would you bid? I bid 3. We were playing lebensohl, and so I showed some values. Also, I wasn't sure how much the Q was worth. My second choice would have been 3NT (gulp) because LHO couldn't raise spades -- let's keep moves like that our little secret, okay? All in all, however, I like the 3 bid.

LHO now bid 3, and it was passed back to me. I passed, too. Bawk, bawk.

I led the Q (Rusinow leads) and this is what I saw:

A 3
9 8 6 3
A Q J 2
6 5 2
Q 10
A 7 5 4
10 4 3
K Q 10 7

I immediately thought aha! When declarer plays a spade towards the ace, I can drop the Q. Now, if South had K J 9 x x x, he will lead another and finesse by playing the 9, and I'll win a spade trick. If I play the 10 the first time, he might figure out to drop my other honor.

Jonathan Weinstein has a new bridge blog called JLW's Bridge Blog, and so far, it looks pretty good. He posted a nice piece in which he discussed making a falsecard when holding the K-10 doubleton. In the comments, some of us mentioned doing the same thing with Q-10. You can read what he wrote here.

Is this my chance to be a hero? Should I go for the newspaper play?

Partner overtook with the A and returned the 3. Declarer played the 9 and I won my 10. I cashed the K and partner discarded the 8, upside down count and attitude.

I followed partner's suggested defense and played a fourth round of clubs. Declarer discarded a heart from dummy and partner ruffed with the 4 and returned the K, declarer dropping the jack. Another heart was ruffed by South, and he led a spade to the ace. There was no point playing the Q now because there are only two more spades left and the K-J will pick them up.

South led another spade, and, after some thought, he played the K, dropping my queen. He took a diamond finesse which lost and claimed down two for plus 100 our way. Here are all four hands:

A 3
9 8 6 3
A Q J 2
6 5 2
Q 10 9 8 4
A 7 5 4 K Q 10 2
10 4 3 K 9 8 7
K Q 10 7 A 3
K J 7 6 5 2
6 5
J 9 8 4

Notice that playing the Q would have been a disaster. Declarer did not have the 9, so he had no losing option. Sometimes we want to make the fancy play when a less-than-fancy play would work just fine. I'm just sayin'.

There were nine tables in play and 8 was top on a board. Plus 100 was worth 4.5. If I doubled, we would have scored 7 instead. I can't deny my chickenhood. My conservative bidding cost us 2.5 matchpoints. One pair bid and made 4 our way. Deep Finesse says, however, that you can only make three. DF doesn't lie.

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