Wednesday, September 23, 2015

When you've got them

Playing in a strong club game, we're facing a pair of opponents who finish high in national events.  I always seem to get bad results against this pair. I was West on this deal:


North deals and passes.  Partner opens 1C and South overcalls 1S.  What's my call sitting West?

I'm not strong enough to bid 2H over the 1S overcall, but I have hearts, so I double (this is negative).  North bids 2S.  Two passes and it's back to me.

Well, I do have six hearts, so I venture a 3H bid confident that my failure to bid 2H will keep us from going overboard.   South, after a lot of thought, decides to compete to 3S. This, then, is the bidding:

P - 1C - 1S - X
2S - P - P -   3H
P - P - 3S - allpass

Had this happened at the table, what would you think of the situation?  I didn't think 3H was making and it looked as if they were one too high.  Would I finally get a good board against this pair?

I led the 9 of clubs and declarer won and led back a club.   Partner cashed two clubs and led the Jack of hearts.  Declarer ducked.  What's my play?

Partner's plays have given me the count of his hand.  He has 3 spades (from the bidding), 2 hearts (from the switch) and 5 clubs (from his cash-out).  So, declarer is 5-3-2-3.

I can duck the heart after which declarer has to lose a heart, a spade, two clubs and a diamond for a one-trick set.  Unfortunately, I failed to count out his hand.  I went up with the Ace of hearts and compounded the mistake by leading a small diamond.  Declarer guessed right, ducking to his hand.  Letting 3S make was a bottom of course.

Going up with the Ace of hearts was not a critical mistake -- we could have still survived had I simply returned a heart, and the heart return is obvious if I had counted out declarer's hand.

When you've got them on the bidding, play tight on the defense.