Squeezing The Dummy

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Few Hands With Vince

Last night I had the pleasure of playing with Vince Demuy. I have never been his partner, but we have been teammates and opponents on several occasions before. Vince is a great player so I was hoping to make a good impression on him, but I screwed up two hands. See if you can do any better.

All vul at imps you get to 3N with these cards:

KJ52
JT97
9
KJ82

AT7
AK2
K752
T93

RHO opened 1 which is passed around to partner who X's. You try 2N, not wanting to hang partner for just balancing, and he bids 3N. The lead is the five of clubs, ducked to RHO's ace. Back comes the queen of diamonds which you win immediately with the king. You finesse the club and when it wins, repeat the finesse. RHO discards a spade. You cash another club pitching a diamond from your hand as RHO pitches a heart. Also relevant is that RHO is Josh Donn, a defender capable of deception.

So, we are at the crossroads. We are clearly going to cash the AK of one major and then try and finesse in the other. We know the queens are split as the opps play 14-16 NT and RHO didn't open 1N. If RHO started with the 2, 3, or 4 small hearts and the spade queen would he be likely to pitch a heart first then a spade? Or would he be likely to pitch a spade first and then a heart? I judged that Josh was probably trying to mess with my head by pitching from the suit he had the queen in first, followed by the one he didn't have the queen in. So I tried the AK of hearts and everyone followed, but the queen didn't drop. Now I had RHO narrowed down to xx Qxxx AQJTx Ax or Qxx xxx AQJTx Ax or Qxxx xxx AQJT Ax as possible holdings. With the first one LHO may have led a spade from Qxxx instead of a club from the same holding, so I chose to play josh for the spade queen. Wrong! He had the first hand and I was down 1. Josh later commented he thought I might play him for Qxx if he pitched a spade first! It was actually a triple cross. Oh well.

The other hand I got wrong was a defensive problem. I held:

KJ9532
JT54
2
A4.

LHO opened 1N (14-16) and RHO bid 2N which showed diamonds. I wasn't going to come into a live auction, but I probably would have balanced so I chose to pass. LHO bid 3D showing a good hand for diamonds, and RHO bid 3N. I passed and partner led the 7, fourth best. Dummy was:

87
Q6
KQJT94
862.

Declarer won the queen at trick one, contributing the 2, and led a club from dummy. Quickly, what do you do? I chose to rise with the ace. If declarer had Kx of hearts, and the pointed aces and KQ, KJ, or just K of clubs this was necessary as we had 5 fast tricks and he was stealing his ninth. This is a bad play if declarer has KJ of clubs and Kxx of hearts as it eliminates the guess for him, which is exactly what the position was. Oh well.

I'm not sure if I made a "clear" error on either of these hands, but I still felt bad to get them both wrong as a lot of imps were on the line. Despite these hands and a very decent grand we bid going down 2, we still managed to pull out a last minute win. Hopefully I'll get another chance to play with Vince again as I cannot think of any errors that he made.

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