May 232003
 

None Vul
IMPs
Dealer: West
Lead: H10

drahmi
S A J 4
H K Q 9 7 4 2
D J
C J 9 3
recaptan
S K Q 9 8 3
H J
D K 10 8 7 2
C K 4
[W - E] Maestro
S 7 5
H A 8 6 5
D Q 3
C A Q 7 6 5
fun1
S 10 6 2
H 10 3
D A 9 6 5 4
C 10 8 2
West
1 S
3 D
Pass
North
2 H
Pass
Pass
East
3 C
3NT
South
Pass
Pass

 

The valued correspondent who sent me this hand called it “a candidate for the worst defended and worst played hand EVER!” On the basis of my rather broad Gee experience I would have to disagree: for worst defended, try here; for worst played, well, how about last week’s? But it is certainly distinguished.

The bidding, at least, cannot be faulted, as East/West reach a perfectly normal 3NT, which is stone cold on normal declarer play and defense.

At the table things are a bit different. South leads the heart ten, and dummy hits with a grungy opener but a very useful stiff heart jack. North covers and continues hearts, and Gee ducks the first two rounds, pitching a spade from dummy.

Now the hand is almost an open book. The heart 10 is obviously a doubleton, so Gee has four hearts and at least five clubs for his 3C bid. If he had three spades he would support on the second round at the very latest (yes, I know it’s Gee, but still…), so his 3NT bid makes him probably 2-4-2-5. Four points in the majors, so he needs another eight in the minors to justify his bid. If he has the diamond ace and ace-fifth of clubs it’s hopeless; if he has the diamond queen and AQxxx of clubs, well, it’s still hopeless.

North concludes that he may as well give away a heart trick, so he continues with the heart nine. Gee wins the ace, South and dummy both pitching spades, and is faced with a choice to develop diamonds, with Qx opposite K1087x and six out, or spades, with xx opposite KQ9 and five out, for two or three tricks. What would you do? Me too. That’s why Gee plays a spade to South’s 10 and dummy’s queen.

North needs only to duck to beat the hand, but he wins and clears the hearts, South and dummy both pitching diamonds. Does Gee try to set up a diamond trick, giving him nine if the clubs break? Nah. He runs the clubs, discarding two diamonds from dummy. North pitches a heart, South pitches a diamond, and here’s the end position:

drahmi
S J 4
H 4
D J
C
Dummy
S K 9
H
D K 10
C
[W - E] Maestro
S 7
H
D Q 3
C 6
fun1
S 6
H
D A 9 6
C

 

The maestro has set the table perfectly for the rarely-seen self-pseudo-squeeze. He cashes his last club, South pitches a diamond, and what to do? Being legendary for his attention to spot cards, Gee has of course noted South’s play of the 10 on the first spade. What could it be from but J10xx? And if North had begun with AJx in spades, wouldn’t he have ducked the first round? The choice is clear. Gee discards the 10 of diamonds from dummy. When North discards the diamond jack the position is obvious: he must have begun with AJ tight in diamonds. Gee plays a spade, and finesses the 9. Unlucky again: North produces the jack and cashes the last heart for the setting trick. The maestro picks up a few style points, discarding the spade king from dummy on the heart, setting up North’s last spade for off 2. It’s not every day you make three spade tricks in notrump with AJ4 over KQ98x.

  One Response to “No I Insist”

  1.  

    North could have beaten declarer had he played for the actual hand Gee held; a small spade return after the first 2 hearts are ducked stands out. Still, had Gee won an earlier heart this whole story would likely be lost to posterity.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>