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Great Defense - My Fault

The Raleigh Bridge Club is surely one of the oldest continuously running clubs in the USA; I believe it dates to the 1930s.  It runs two evening games a week and has done well in resisting the devastation in evening club bridge that demographics has brought elsewhere.  For decades it has been a center of better bridge in its region.

I played there Tuesday evening.  There were 12 tables, including some from the limited game that didn't have enough to play separately.  On board 21 an opponent unknown to me made a great defensive play, but I decided it was my own fault.

Here's the hand (rotated):

West
Q4
J1032
A10732
J5
North
1075
9854
Q4
A1084
East
J9863
76
KJ
K632
South
AK2
AKQ
9865
Q97
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
P
P
D
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

I opened 1NT (a dubious downgrade) and played in that contract. West led a small diamond to the queen, king and five.  East cashed the diamond jack and switched to a heart.  The diamond position was clear.  I should try three rounds of hearts, but decided to play on clubs at once.  I led a club from my hand, intending to duck to East - but West played the jack(!).  Had West been reading Eric Rodwell ("Danger Hand High")?  From here the play was virtually forced: I won the ace and then the queen, but had no play for more than seven tricks, earning us slightly less than average.

If West had played low, East should duck also.  I can still get three club tricks if I read the position: playing the queen trough West looks promising and would work as the cards lie.

West made a great play, but why was it my own fault?  I had led the nine, which made the jack an almost instinctive card.  I can't say that West would have played low on the lead of the seven, but I did not give him that problem.  (I can see the comment from here: "It makes sense to downgrade if that's how you're going to play...")

 

 

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