We're down 5 IMPs going into the last board of the match. I pick up:
This hand, with 10 cards in the majors and 6 losers, is a 1♥
opening in my opinion. I suspect my counterpart at the other table will not agree, so we would have an opportunity for a swing if I were in first seat. Unfortunately, I'm in fourth seat. LHO opens 1♦
, partner passes, and RHO bids 2♣
My choices are 2♥ or double. Double brings spades into the picture. But that's not probably not important unless partner has five spades. A six-two heart fit rates to play better than a four-four spade fit, especially given that my hearts are weak. I bid 2♥.
LHO raises to 3♣, and partner bids 3♥. RHO bids 4♣.
Partner should have at most two cover cards for his single raise. So 4♥ seems like a poor proposition. I pass. LHO and partner pass also. I lead the ♥7 (third best from an even number).
Partner plays the ♥
K, and declarer wins the ♥
A. Does this mean declarer has another heart? Partner knows I have six hearts. He might duck with ♥
Kxxx to advise me we don't have any heart tricks. Then again, perhaps he can't afford to do that. I might underlead the ♥
A if I needed a quick spade shift, especially since I wouldn't expect declarer to have the ♥
K after he gave up on 3NT.
Partner can have at most one more cover card for his raise. If he has the ♠
K, we aren't beating this. I must hope partner has the ♦
A, in which case we can take a diamond, two spades, and possibly a heart. Make that probably
a heart. With ♥
Kxxx and an ace, partner might have raised to 4♥
rather than to 3♥
Declarer plays the ♣
2 to the ace; partner plays the ♣
5. Declarer leads a low club from dummy to his ♣
Q, partner following with the ♣
9. I doubt declarer would have bid 4♣
with a five-card suit. But I can't be sure whether he has six or seven. Since I want partner to switch to a spade when he gets in with the ♦
A, I pitch a heart (the ♥
6). A spade discard would suggest I want to cash my ♥
Declarer plays the ♦
3; I play the ♦
7. Partner captures dummy's ♦
Q with the ♦
A and shifts to the ♣
J. Partner must have the ♦
J to be doing this. I'm glad he overrode my request for a spade shift. This will work out better. With dummy's diamonds out of the picture, we will hold declarer to six clubs, one heart, and one diamond: down two.
What should I discard? A spade pitch might enable declarer to establish a long spade trick if he has four spades. Not that that's likely. He would probably have bid 3♠
rather than 4♣
if he did. But I'd rather not make any assumptions I don't have to.
The danger in keeping all my spades is that I may get endplayed if declarer is 3-2-2-6. Will that happen? Declarer can cash a diamond, ruff a diamond, and play trumps. His last five cards will be three spades, a heart, and a club. If I keep three spades and two hearts, declarer can play a heart. I win and tap him. Now a low spade endplays me. To prevent that, I must keep three hearts and two spades. If declarer cashes the last trump, I can simply pitch the ♠
Q and claim the balance.
So I must keep three hearts, but I don't need four. I can pitch a heart on this trick. After that, I must pitch spades.
I pitch the ♥
5. Declarer cashes the ♦
5. Instead of ruffing a diamond to his hand and hoping I sleepily pitch another heart, he leads the ♠
7. Apparently he has ♠
K10 and is hoping partner has QJ. I win with the jack and lead the ♥
Q. Declarer follows. I tap declarer with a heart and score two more spade tricks. Down two.
We can actually make 4♥
! Partner covers two of my six losers, and the spade finesse covers a third. This is an exceedingly lucky lie of the cards, so I don't regret not bidding game. I needed RHO to have the ♠
K to have a chance. If LHO had it or even if partner had it (leaving him with at most one more cover card), I would have four losers. So game was something less than 33% on the information I had.
I assume we've lost the match. It's hard to see how we're going to pick up 5 IMPs. Our teammates need a plus score, and there aren't many plus scores available to them on this board. But surprise! Our teammates come through. They score +400 in 3NT. I'm not sure how that happened. Perhaps West was on lead and tried the ♠
Q? In any event, we pick up 11 IMPs to win the match by 6, giving us 17 out of 30 victory points.
Table 1: +100
Table 2: +400
Score on Board 8: +11 IMPs
Result on Match 6: +6 IMPs (17 VP)
Current Total: 109 VP (out of 180)