I woke up in a giddy mood Wednesday, probably from not enough sleep, and it carried over to the bridge table where my high spirits were further heightened by this hand, where I took a flier and reaped a big payoff.
It was Board 6 in this 4½ table Howell movement and we were first to play it. East-West (Judy Zeckhauser and Judy Kaprove, respectively) were vulnerable. East was dealer. Three passes to me, sitting North with this hand:
Spades: A-10-8-4; Hearts: 9-7-2
Diamonds: A-K-4; Clubs: J-7-2
Flat hand, 12 high card points, but it must be good for something, especially if we’re not vulnerable. Aware of my spot in the balancing seat, I decided to add 3 points to my count. 15! 1 No Trump. Partner Celine Murray brightened and bumped it straight up to 3 NT. Oops! Earlier, she forgot about the Jacoby 2 NT convention, so I shouldn’t have expected her to remember about the balancing seat. Nevertheless, her hand wasn’t so bad. It’s just that there were only six sure tricks between the two of us.
Spades: K-Q; Hearts: J-8-5
Diamonds: Q-J-9; Clubs: Q-9-8-6-5
Did Judy Zeckhauser lead a Diamond or the Ace-King of Clubs? I’m not sure. But at any rate, if it was a Diamond, then I went to work right away setting up the Clubs. The upshot was that I won three Spades, three Diamonds and three Clubs, dodging those deadly Hearts until the very end thanks to the opponents’ mismatched distribution. Here are their hands:
Spades: 7-6; Hearts: K-6
Diamonds: 8-7-6-3-2; Clubs: A-K-10-4
Spades: J-9-5-3-2; Hearts: A-Q-10-4-3
Diamonds: 10-5; Clubs: 3
It felt like grand larceny, but it wasn’t, really. According to the traveling score slip after the game, the next people who played it made nine tricks at No Trump, but stopped bidding at 1 NT. Another pair went to 4 Clubs and made it. Bottom board went to the last North-South, where South (!) played it at 2 NT, got a fatal Heart lead from West, and won only six tricks.