Monday, April 17, 2017

Bridge Blog 948: Happy Unreturns

Carolyn Siracuse and I wind up defending against a 4 Heart bid by Joe Rooney and Bill Boardman on this layout.

West (Joe)
Spades: 10-8-2; Hearts: A-K-9-6-4; Diamond: 4; Clubs: A-K-J-3.

North (moi)
Spades: Q; Hearts: Q-J-10-3; Diamond: A-Q-J-7-3; Clubs: 9-8-6.

East (Bill)
Spades: K-J-6-4-3; Hearts: 8-2; Diamonds: 10-6-5; Clubs: 10-7-4.

South (Carolyn)
Spades: A-9-7-5; Hearts: 7-5; Diamonds: K-9-8-2; Clubs: Q-5-2.

It's Board 8. Nobody vulnerable. West is dealer. Joe opens 1 Heart. I overcall 2 Diamonds. Bill bids 2 Spades. Carolyn supports the Diamonds. And if I remember correctly, Joe jumps right to 4 Hearts. I'm pretty sure he won't make it, but I only see three tricks in my hand. I pass.
Opening lead is the singleton Queen of Spades. King. Ace. But then Carolyn follows one rule – lead the suit your partner bid, i.e., a Diamond – while breaking another – return the suit your partner led.
I win with the Jack of Diamonds, reckon Joe's 4 is a singleton. Least damaging option is lead a Club, or is it? Carolyn's Queen is finessed.  
He wins the Club, pulls one round of Hearts, then leads a Spade. I discard a Club. He draws a second round of trumps and leads another Spade. This time I ruff and return a Diamond. He ruffs and sends back a Club and another Club. I ruff Club #2 and send back a Diamond. For the final three tricks, I have a winning Heart and two winning long Diamonds. Down three.
Did Carolyn's switch to Diamonds give us an extra trick by delaying my ruffs until the long Diamonds were good? I keep looking at it now, several hours later, and I'm not sure where that extra trick came from (Did Joe play an unnecessary high card somewhere?), but I thought at the time it was Carolyn's move that set us up for a top board. 
The hand record says East-West should make 2 Hearts (they do one trick better in Spades). And North-South can bring home a 3 Diamond bid, a plus 110 versus a plus 100 for 4 Hearts down two.

In actual play in this six-table game at the Airport Bridge Club, three North-Souths get to play 3 Diamonds. One goes to 4 Diamonds and falls one short. None of the East-Wests find their eight-card Spade fit. Judi Marshall and Sharon Benz are the only ones lucky enough to get to play it at 2 Hearts. 

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