K 8 5 3 2
Q 9 5 2
K 9 7 3
A K J 2
K 10 8
A Q 8 6 5
10 6 5
6 4 3
A 10 9 6
Q 9 8 7
A J 7
Yesterday we had a brief respite, a hand where Gee’s play, though bad, was possibly the best at the table. We now return you to our regularly scheduled programming.
The score was tied in a team game when today’s hand came down, the last in a ten-board match.
The bidding is pretty normal. N/S go down 1 in three spades, but East, with most of the opponents’ high cards marked, takes a flyer at the heart game.
Gee leads the SA and continues spades. Timo, North, wins the second spade and shifts to a club; Gee cashes his ace and leads another. Now declarer, after pulling trump in two rounds, needs four diamond tricks to make: how do you play the suit?
The book says you play the ace and finesse the jack on the second round if the queen doesn’t drop; this wins against Qxx or Qx onside, or a singleton queen in either hand, for around 30%. In this case, however, Gee is almost certainly marked with the DQ for his opening bid; N/S have 16 points and Timo has already shown up with the spade king and a club honor. Furthermore Gee can have no more than six cards in the majors, so with seven in the minors he must have at least four diamonds.
Is it hopeless? Not quite. Declarer leads the D10; and Gee, holding Q987 and looking at AKJx in dummy, plays low. Declarer repeats the finesse and claims. Now it might look to STCPs™ like me that the contract always goes down as long as Gee covers the 10; it even looks that way to Timo, who asks Gee why he didn’t. “It didn’t matter,” Gee explains, “because she could ruff the fourth round of diamonds anyway.”