Join Bridge Winners
Road to the GNT Final Four R16 Q4
(Page of 6)

When we left off, our District 6 team (Gill-Shore, Pettis-Lo, Shi-Palmer) led District 16 (Bramley-Compton-Hamman-Passell-Wold) 81-42 after two quarters. Our plan as a team was to rotate through sit-outs the first three quarters, then make a decision for the 4th quarter depending on who was feeling good and/or playing well. Noble and I happily took the rest (playing these matches is tiring!) and came back to find our teammates had a small loss on the quarter, 24-35, leaving us with a 28 IMP lead going into the final quarter. While we had lost a bit in the 3rd, I was definitely still pumped to be up 28 on a team this good. Certainly that was more than I could have reasonably asked for heading into the match!

One of our teammates had a bit of a headache, so Noble and I went in to play the last quarter as East-West against Compton-Passell with Shi-Palmer at the other table against Bramley-Hamman. Board 16 found me declaring a light 3NT:

Dummy
KQ97
1093
73
KJ74
Declarer
AJ6
A6
AQ62
10865
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

Our style at IMPs (particularly red) is to just bid game with solid invitational hands and invite light, so partner's hand seemed normal for his bidding. LHO leads the 2 (4th best), and RHO plays the queen on dummy's ten. With no reason to hold up, you win the A and have to decide how to tackle the hand.

Dummy
KQ97
1093
73
KJ74
Declarer
AJ6
A6
AQ62
10865
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

You need three additional tricks to make the contract, and you pretty much need them from clubs. The two real options are

  1. Lead the 10, planning to double-hook against the Q and 9. This gains if LHO holds Q9x (2), Q9xx (1), AQ9x (2), and AQ9xx (1). This also gives LHO a guess from Qx and Qxx and he might duck thinking you're trying to find the Q.
  2. Lead to the J, then lead to the K. This gains against Q, Qx (2), and AQx (2) onsides

 

Both lines pick up Q9, AQxx, AQ9, and AQ onsides and lose to Qxx onside. Since LHO almost certainly would have led a club from 5, this is a toss-up on the legitimate holdings. I thought LHO also might have chosen a club instead from Q9xx or AQ9x, particularly if he'd led from Jxxx. That would make the 4-card club holdings a bit less likely than they would be a priori, so I led a low club, playing what I thought was the best legitimate line rather than a line that required my LHO to go wrong.

Because a heart lead seems preferable to a minor on this auction, I think the 10 would have been a better play. If I have a fatal flaw in bridge it's that I give my opponents too much credit. The 10 is going to give LHO a headache from Qx or Qxx and even a great player will often go wrong. As a side note, is it ethical to take your time at trick 1 to let LHO figure out to duck the 10 smoothly? Or against expert opponents should you strive to put the 10 on the table quickly because that's what you would do if you were trying to find the queen?

Today, my choice seemed like it really didn't matter, since the Q was offside and the opponents took the next 5 tricks:

Lho
10842
KJ42
J95
A9
Dummy
KQ97
1093
73
KJ74
Rho
53
Q875
K1084
Q32
Declarer
AJ6
A6
AQ62
10865
D

At the other table, declarer did lead the 10 after the same start. This prompted our teammate to hop the A and cash the hearts. Declarer chose to pitch two diamonds from hand on these tricks, and East continued with a diamond. The diamond finesse wouldn't help, and the contract was still making if the clubs were coming home, so he hopped the A and when the club finesse lost, teammates cashed 2 more diamonds (they missed the unblock). Still, we picked up 5 IMPs from the two red undertricks to pad our lead.

On Board 17 I got to declare an interesting contract once again:

Dummy
J74
KJ876
A109
107
Declarer
A108653
A4
KQJ
Q2
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P

Over 2, I figured there was no use in fooling around, since game could be very good opposite a minimum raise. Since we invite light, partner is likely to only accept with a maximum, and I didn't really need that (KJx xxxx xxx Kxx isn't cold but you'd certainly need to be there). Sometimes with this shape, 3NT is the right game, but the slow diamond tricks on the side steered me away from notrump.

LHO leads the 3 (3rd/5th) and you have to decide how to tackle the hand.

Dummy
J74
KJ876
A109
107
Declarer
A108653
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