Friday, April 1, 2011

Bridge Blog 398: Mystery hand

          OK, I wrote it down and saved it. I even kept the traveler, the little slip of paper on which every table’s scores are written. But I’m not entirely sure where this one came from – it’s an old game -- and although my clue is the sheet on which I recorded the hands. It’s Board 25, which would have East-West vulnerable and North as dealer. If it was my game with Pawan Matta on March 18 (I wrote it on the back of a sheet of results from March 18), we were Pair 6, but I recognize my handwriting on the traveler and we’re Pair 2. Then again, it could been from last Friday, March 25, with Usha Khurana, since I fished that sheet out of the wastebasket.
At any rate, I’m North, my partner’s an unknown South (the more I think of it, the more I think it really was Usha). We play it at 4 Hearts and my partner goes down one, but some Souths make it. I think that’s why I wrote it down. There’s a little move in here that could be instructive.

Spades: 9-8-4; Hearts: K-10-6; Diamonds: 10-6-4-3-2; Clubs: Q-7.

Spades: Q-10-5-3; Hearts: A-7; Diamonds: K-7; Clubs: 10-5-4-3-2.

Spades: A-J; Hearts: J-9-5-3-2; Diamonds: A-Q-9; Clubs: A-K-8.

Spades: K-7-6-2; Hearts: Q-8-4; Diamonds: J-8-5; Clubs: J-9-5.

          What’s West’s lead? Probably a low Spade. Four, Queen, Ace. Then this is where I think the move has to be made. South should lead the Jack of Hearts, so that it can be covered by the Queen, King and Ace. In my case, I’m not sure what happened. Either South didn’t cover the Queen, thereby losing to both the Queen and the Ace. Or covered with the King after West played low, losing two Heart tricks that way.
But if it goes J-Q-K-A, you’re halfway home. Lose to the King of Spades, then win the next trick (no matter what West leads), draw two rounds of trumps, do the finesse on the King of Diamonds, lose a Diamond to the Jack and take all the rest. If the Diamond King doesn’t  finesse, or if West has the Ace of Hearts and East has the Queen, all bets are off.

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