Sunday, March 7, 2010

Hero in 3NT?

I faced this hand today in our District GNT event:

My partner opened 1 Club in first seat, I responded 1 Diamond and West overcalled 1 Spade. My partner made a support double, passed to me. Now 3 Notrump, what else? West led an attitude spade deuce to East's jack. Think about your line of play before you read on.

Assuming a normal 3-2 diamond spit, you have 8 tricks ready to take. One option is to duck the lead--now if spades are continued, the defenders will not have communication even if the club finesse loses and you will have 9 tricks. An alert East can shift to a heart, though, through your ace-queen and if that hook is off, you are back to relying on the club finesse. The right play both technically and psychologically is to win the queen of spades and run the diamond suit. Assuming the suit divides 3-2, West will come under some pressure and you may well be able to read the position from the way he discards. In fact the hand is cold if West has the king of hearts and few defenders can blank a king in tempo--eventually you will be able to cash 7 winners, stripping West of safe exit cards and throw him in with a spade to lead away from the king of hearts. Was I the hero of this hand? Sad to say, no...this came up towards the end of a 2 day 90-board marathon and my radars weren't close to being ready for the situation. Seeing stars by this point, I seemed to think that my remaining stiff ten in dummy and 87x in my hand would suffice for a second spade stopper. I won the lead and took the club hook for a swift down 1. The hero of this hand was Jeff Schuett, the declarer for our opponents. He played the hand as described for a well-earned 10 imp swing. Well done!


Memphis MOJO said...

It's always easier afterwards to see the solution on deals like this.

GL in Reno, if you go.

kennyz said...

While Jeff's play was probably right, I'd like to make you feel better by pointing out that it was not without risk, and that his line might certainly have failed on a number of layouts where yours succeeds. Imagine 4-1 diams, then give RHO the K of clubs and either a stiff spade or J9 doubleton, and you're making while Jeff goes down. How about 3-2 diams but 6-1 spades. LHO has AK9XXX K XXX KXX. Jeff's down in a cold contract now, as long as the defender reads what's happening and blanks the cl K, which he certainly should.

Jonathan Weinstein said...

I was going to make the holdup, after which at worst you are on one of two hooks (if they find the heart shift.) It's a close judgement against the pressure play, depending on the opponents as you say.

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