Sunday, January 4, 2015

Don't ever give up

In the second qualifying session of the Senior Mixed Pairs at the Providence RI NABC, Sandy McCay and I played the last round of the second qualifying session against two friends of mine. I picked up:

A K 9 6 K 3 2 Q 8 K 6 4 3.

I opened 1NT and partner raised to 3NT. Left-hand opponent led the 4.

Partner certainly had her bid, but I could see I was in a contract of three no tricks. I likely had three tricks in clubs, possibly two diamond tricks, two spades and one heart for eight tricks. In the meantime, they could take three hearts and a club and a diamond. It looked hopeless. I knew my opponent, however, and was pretty sure he had only four hearts, so at least that suit was splitting. Perhaps there's an endplay.

I played three rounds of clubs (saving the 5 in dummy and the 4 in hand). On the third round, RHO discarded the 7 as LHO won the Q. He shifted to the 5. At trick one, I had asked about their discards and was told they play odd-even, so her spot was encouraging.

LHO can't possibly be leading from the king, but it couldn't hurt to duck and see what would happen. Sure enough, RHO won the K and returned the jack as I won the queen, and LHO discarded a low spade.

What is going on? If hearts really were 4-4, then LHO must have had five spades with 5=4=1=3 distribution. I'm not sure why neither of them continued hearts, but I was grateful for a chance. I won the Q and led a low club to dummy in this position:

On the club, LHO discarded another spade. I inferred that he must have had good hearts to lead from (Q 10 x x) and his spades are either all low ones or headed by the 10. What would you discard on the A. Hint: You better save that low heart to have any chance.

I pitched a spade and so did LHO. Now the suit was splitting 2-2, so I took the top two spades, and my 9 was good, making three.

Here are all four hands:

When LHO discarded a spade, he ruined my newspaper hand. If he discarded a low heart (the 10 in this case), I can lead the J, forcing a cover from RHO (who likely has the queen). Now a low heart endplays LHO to force a lead back into my K 9.

Yes, he could thwart me. On the ace of diamonds, he would have to discard the Q! and save the 10. When I then tried to endplay him, his partner could overtake.

For making game, we scored 41.5 which was 94%.

You can see the score (Board No. 11) here.

1 comment:

  1. I don't know, but I feel like a dummy and am going around singing, "You gotta have heart..."