K 4 3
J 10 8 6
A J 3
A 7 2
Q 9 2
A 9 3
K 9 4
6 5 4 3
Q 7 4 2
Q 7 2
Q 10 9 8
A J 10 8 5
10 8 6 5
On hands with several possible lines of play, expert declarers postpone decisions as long as possible, refusing to commit themselves to a line of play before it’s necessary. EXPERT declarers take this one step further, sometimes playing entire hands without making a decision at all.
Today a normal new minor forcing auction lands our hero in a normal spade game, against which West has an unenviable choice of leads. He can hardly be faulted for opening a low heart, although a club turns out to be best. Gee plays low from dummy, as does East (playing the 7 to show even count), and wins the HK.
Now there are four or five ways to make the hand. Declarer can find the trump queen. He can take the club finesse and sluff his losing heart. He can set up hearts. He can eliminate clubs and endplay West in hearts. There are probably other lines that I’m missing.
Our hero preserves most of his options by leading another heart at the second trick. West should duck but flies the ace and shifts to a club, East’s queen being taken by Gee’s king.
At this point the hand is stone cold as long as trump break, with many extra chances. Declarer cashes the club jack, plays the ace and king of trump and runs a heart, discarding a diamond. He wins the return, discards two more diamonds on the club ace and the good heart, and claims.
We now return to Planet Gee. D’Artagnan cashes the club jack, cashes two rounds of trump, ending up in hand, and decides it might be time to do something about his diamond losers. He leads a low diamond and finesses the jack, losing to the queen.
East can seal Gee’s fate by playing back another diamond, but in the holiday spirit he plays a low heart instead, giving Gee one last chance. Discarding a diamond makes the hand unless West led from AQxx. Gee ruffs.
Gee missed a bet when he failed to ask himself what kind of trump holding West might have that would make it more attractive to underlead the heart ace than to lead a trump. The usual answer is the Q of trump (occasionally a singleton but in that case G was not too likely to succeed anyway).
Perhaps we expect too much from G. If we remember that he placed 5th in C in a recent sectional event, that will do much to diminish our expectations.