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A Bridge Movie from the Club
(Page of 5)

You are playing cross imps in a five table club game. It is the last round and you have enough bad boards already so you are not in contention. But pride, baby, pride. You play fairly standard 2/1.

You pick up your average hand

South
J10976
J532
J1074
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
2
P
P
X
P
?

and see the auction develop as shown. Obviously you have some choices here: pass is possible; 2 and 2 also. Your choice?

Partner could easily be 4-4-3-2 or 4-4-4-1. In both cases hearts will be better than diamonds. And with probable fits in both red suits it doesn't make sense to defend. So you try 2. Partner raises to 3. Do you bid the vul game?

Despite the fact that you have only three high card points I think you should. You have the fifth heart. You have good heart spots. And your side length in diamonds is a positive feature. You bid the fourth and final heart. You comment to LHO that partner has a GOOD hand. LHOleads the K and partner says "As long as you have five hearts ..."

So now you get to play it.

North
AKQ9
KQ2
A10976
2
South
J10976
J532
J1074
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
2
P
P
X
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P

You look at dummy and think to yourself that only a heart shift will give you problems. Without a heart shift you should be able to take at least 10 easy tricks: three ruffs in dummy, three top spades, the A and four hearts in hand. Your dastardly LHO indeed shifts to the A. And you ...

You unblock the K from dummy to keep some fluidity. RHO follows with the 8. Another heart follows on which East shows out. No cross ruff. You win the Q and cash the three high spades throwing your remaining clubs, then finish drawing trump. This leaves you to tackle diamonds in this position.

North
9
A1097
South
9
J532
W
N
E
S
P
P
P
1
2
P
P
X
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P

You have three choices: play a to the 9. When that loses and a black suit is returned and West follows low on the second diamond ...

Or play a to the A, hoping for either stiff honor or a 2-2 break.

Which looks better?

The "right" play in a vacuum is two finesses. In retrospect I think it is wrong on this hand. West has already shown up with A, K. If he also had KQ he would have opened in third seat. So East has at least one of the honors. He also (presumably) has six clubs, at least four spades and a heart. So he has either one or two diamonds.

I went wrong: I took the first diamond finesse, then misguessed on the second round. I won't even show you the whole hand.

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