Thursday, October 20, 2011

Don't get forced

With both my regular partners out of town, I was partnered in a club game by the club director.  We had a good game (65%, for top position), but the reason it was great was that I was playing opposite a better player. He'd tell me when I misplayed a hand.  This was one of the two hands I misplayed:

I find myself in 3H and get the lead of a club queen. East cashed his Ace, led back a club. I led a diamond toward the king.  West took her Ace and led a club forcing me to ruff. Now, I led a spade toward the King.

What now?

I cashed the king of diamonds, discarding a spade thinking hazily about cashing side-suit winners before a cross-ruff. That was the wrong line for two reasons: (a) my trump spots are too low, so defenders will overruff and (b) the King of diamonds is needed to stop a forcing defense in diamonds.  I went down when East overruffed dummy and kept leading diamonds.  West finally got her 9 of hearts for down one.

What should I have done? I needed to take a spade finesse, giving up the spade queen.  Then, pull two rounds of trumps and either discard a spade on the good King of diamonds or ruff a spade high depending on when the defenders take their Ace.  In fact, it is better if I don't lead diamonds at all and immediately get to work on my spades.

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