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Reading your opponent

West
87542
Q942
J10
J10
North
A3
AKJ1075
Q9
Q83
East
KJ6
63
A654
A652
South
Q109
8
K8732
K974
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Last round of an 11 round swiss pairs and you sit at table 2 in the 160 pair field contemplating that this is what it is always like when you are trying to win a swiss. You plough the field through some not so great bridge players but it is all about playing well at the end against good players. You have been intimate with RHO before in a bridge sense. LHO you only know from people telling you how good he is.

Board 5 of the 9 board match and if you had to guess the score is maybe 5 imps all.

LHO starts with the 4 of spades which goes to the King. The Jack of spades is returned and you enjoy playing the clever Queen of spades from hand and win the Ace on the deck - meh - maybe they will work out this layout but it felt good. You pull a small club and RHO doesn't like it. He contemplates life in a serious fashion before rising with the Ace and promptly cashing the diamond Ace and returning his last spade. 

Hmmm - what is he thinking ? You pitch a heart on the 10 of spades and convince yourself that RHO doesn't have the Queen of hearts. Now you try a diamond to the Queen on the deck noting a big diamond from LHO and cash the Queen of clubs. LHO plays another big card so maybe you should finesse that club ? Tough to know - maybe those diamonds break so you play a club to the King. Should have finessed. Try the King of diamonds but no joy there as LHO pitches a heart.

Disappointing but you always did like that heart hook so you calmly play a small heart and when you say "knave" LHO graciously declares that is 10 tricks for you.

Turns out this was the big swing of the match. You must have done something right. You win the match but the patient dies when the leaders smack someone at table 1. Ohh well - silver lining is that RHO is your bitch now. He would have seen the smooth and confident heart to the knave and know that he gave the game away.           

 

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