Friday, August 27, 2010

The Right Time?

Suppose you pick up this hand in 4th seat:
Jxxx AJ98x A54 x
LHO starts the auction with 1 Spade, partner passes and RHO responds 1 Notrump. You make a dubious 2 Heart overcall which is followed by 2 passes. Now RHO reopens with 3 Clubs and is promptly raised to 5 by the opener. What do you lead?


I generally don't have a great flair for the dramatic on opening lead, but this hand seemed worthy of some thought. I figured that the opening bidder would be prepared for a heart lead considering his aggressive raise, so apparently our best hope was to make 2 tricks in diamonds to go with my ace of hearts. My best chance was to find the king of diamonds in my partner's hand, in which case it didn't matter which diamond i led...however, if partner didn't have the king of diamonds, LHO was a big favorite to hold it on this auction (RHO should have a good club suit and something less than 10 HCP). My analysis pretty much ended there and I managed to lead my 4 of diamonds reasonably in tempo. I have to admit that my heart started pounding when i saw the dummy:
AQTxx
Kx
KJ
Kxxx
Declarer took quite a while to play to trick one...I'm still not sure if he was suspicious or just taking his time examining his assets, but finally he played the jack. My partner took the queen and returned a diamond to my ace. I cashed the ace of hearts and continued a heart for a one-trick set. Actually if I had played my third diamond we would likely have scored another trick, for declarer's hand was a surprising:
void
Qx
Txxxxx
AQ98x
His choice of 3 Clubs instead of 3 Diamonds seems a bit odd but isn't crazy and this time it led to a pretty good contract. I'm confident that he would have gotten the diamond right if I hadn't led it right away because I had overcalled.

In fact, I had a small extra edge in coming up with the lead--I was playing last night at the local club where the bidding in general isn't precise enough to locate good minor suit games. My goal was to beat the contract, and it seemed likely that the underlead, if wrong, would cost at most an overtrick. Sure enough, our opponents were the only pair in game!

1 comment:

Memphis MOJO said...

Cute hand, nice lead.