Saturday, April 4, 2009

The king's gambit

A gambit in chess is a situation in which a player sacrifices a piece to gain a positional advantage. You can read what wikipedia says about it here. You can sacrifice any piece except your king (which would end the game, obviously).

Bridge is different. You can sacrifice anything, even your king, and Richard and I saw that situation in Houston at the NABC. After not qualifying in the North American Pairs (sigh), we played Thursday afternoon in a side event (I had to begin work Thursday evening). The first round we played two tough cookies: John Diamond and Brian Platnick. You hold:
K 6 2 A 9 7 A 5 4 2 Q 9 6.

You open 1, the next hand doubles, partner passes and right-hand opponent jumps to 2, ending the auction. Your lead?

Let's say you lead the 6 and you see this dummy:
Q 7 4
K J 5 2
10 7
A K J 10
K 6 2
A 9 7
A 5 4 2
Q 9 6

Diamond plays the J and contiues with the 2 from dummy to partner's 8 (upside down), queen and you? Let's say you duck. Declarer is also watching the spots, so he boldly continues with another heart. You win the ace (Partner plays the 6), and you exit with a heart, everyone following.

Declarer now leads a spade from dummy and partner plays the J, declarer the ace, and you? Well, I've given you a big clue in the title of this piece and in the introduction. If you play low, it's too late, he makes four.

Here are all four hands:

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

Declarer can lead another spade and eventually discard two losing diamonds -- one on a club and one on a heart to make four. If you played the king's gambit and dropped it under the ace, partner will get in (declarer has to get trumps out before he can take his discards) to lead a diamond through to hold declarer to three.

Some clues were there: Declarer didn't lead trumps right away and partner played the J. It's easy to find the right play after the deal is over, but would you see it in time at the table?

This was board #8, and you can see the hand record on the ACBL web site here.

No comments:

Post a Comment