Nov 212002
 

Both Vul
IMPs
Dealer: North
Lead: SK

petit_g
S K Q 4 2
H 4
D J 8 4 2
C K J 10 9
aric
S 6
H K Q 10 8 6 2
D Q 10 7 6 3
C 4
[W - E] srul
S A 7
H J 5 3
D 9
C A Q 8 7 6 5 2
Maestro
S J 10 9 8 5 3
H A 9 7
D A K 5
C 3
West

2 H
Pass
5 H
Pass

North
Pass
3 H
4 S
Pass
Pass
East
1 C
4 H
Dbl
Pass
Pass
South
1 S
Pass
Pass
Dbl

 

Today’s auction is perfectly normal, even unexceptionable, until srul’s 4H bid. (Some might double 1S with aric’s hand.) Our hero, having heard a limit spade raise from his partner, holds six trump, Axx in the opponents’ probable nine-card fit, first and second round diamond control, and a stiff in the opponents’ second suit. I would worry about missing slam. Gee passes.

Mini-Gee comes to the rescue with a not-really-warranted four spade call, which East doubles, speculatively, holding two defensive tricks. West properly pulls to 5H with his useless hand defensively, and back we come to our hero. It’s hard to imagine 5S not making if Mini-Gee has his 4S bid, and in fact it makes even though he doesn’t have it. (Declarer must play East for both club honors, which works.) But I guess if you pass four hearts you double five.

Mini gets off to the fine lead of the SK, killing an entry. A trump seems natural on the auction but two rounds of trump almost force declarer to make. He wins the second round in hand, finesses a club, ruffs a club, and has just enough entries to set up the clubs and cash them, making 5. On a trump lead Gee must duck to hold declarer to ten tricks.

But with the spade lead the contract looks hopeless. Declarer does the best he can, playing CA and a small club, hoping to find either defender with Kx, which is enough to make if trump break or the ace drops. Gee shows out on the second club lead: that’s the bad news. The good news is that he ruffs the second club lead, shortening himself to two trump.

Declarer overruffs and leads a diamond, ducked, correctly, by Mini, and won by Gee with the king. He now knows declarer’s hand is either 1-7-4-1 or 1-6-5-1. (Mini must have four spades on the bidding.) Therefore two rounds of trump are 100% certain to stick declarer with at least a second diamond loser and beat the hand.

Dear reader, you must know by now that Gee continues spades. Declarer ruffs the spade, then ruffs a diamond, a club, another diamond and another club. Diamonds break, so a trump off the board finishes the hand; thanks to the early, pointless ruff, Gee has but two trump remaining, to declarer’s three, and he can win the trump ace at his leisure.

“On that sort of auction, Efes,” says Gee, “it’s usually not a good idea to lead our suit.”

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