Ready, Steady, Down – The Gee Chronicles
Jan 022003

E/W Vul
Dealer: East
Lead: C9

S K Q 4
H A K 10 9 6 4
D A K Q 7
S J 7 5 3 2
H 8
D 10 8
C Q 10 9 8 6
[W - E] efe
S A 6
H Q J 7 3
D J 9 3
C J 7 5 3
S 10 9 8
H 5 2
D 6 5 4 2
C A K 4 2



2 C
2 H
3 D

2 D


Today we find the maestro declaring 3NT after a shrewd tactical bid. By refusing to support his partner with four Gee keeps the partnership out of a reasonable diamond slam that is probably down on the actual layout (table feel!) although it makes double dummy. And, of course, he right-sides the contract.

The best line after a club lead is a nice question, but it’s probably to discard a heart from dummy, win the club, and play the two top hearts. If an honor falls, you are cold. Cash the top diamonds and exit a heart: you will either have nine tricks, if the diamonds break, or the defense will have to provide your ninth, by leading a black suit.

If no heart honor falls on the ace and king, your chances are still good, but you need the diamonds to break. Cash four rounds of diamonds and play a spade honor. If East wins he is endplayed. If West wins he will be forced eventually to lead a spade back, and you can still make if the spade jack is onside. If the spade is ducked, exit a heart, with the same ending.

Even against perfect defense, this line wins close to 90% of the time: all of the heart 3-2 breaks (68%) and 40% of the heart 4-1 breaks (5%), and the rest of the time if diamonds break unless the spade ace is with West and the spade jack with East.

At the table, Gee wins the first club and finesses a heart to East, who returns a club. At this point a second heart will put him down, but that would be the logica continuation of mere bad play, and mere bad play is no concern of this site. No, Gee shifted to a spade, guaranteeing five tricks for the defense. So our Gee-spot becomes 90% – 0% = 90.

Not 100, I grant, but you can’t say he isn’t trying.

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