Join Bridge Winners
Does He Read Bridge Winners?
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Playing in our local GNOT, I face this bidding decision 

South
AQ943
AK10
Q7
AQ5
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
?

2, 2, and 2NT all appear logical

Your choice?

South
AQ943
AK10
Q7
AQ5
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
?

2 and 2NT, both non-forcing, feel like underbids.

The 10 is a huge card, suggesting we will often make a game opposite not much at all.

2, the other alternative, tells partner nothing about the nature of our hand. 

I dislike making cue-bids when alternatives are present.

With some reluctance, I choose 2NT.

Just as I bid, the fourth alternative hits my conscious.

Perhaps I should have bid 3NT.....

North
6
96
KJ1063
J9643
South
AQ943
AK10
Q7
AQ5
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

Partner raises to 3NT. 

It is unclear whether 3 would be forcing and I mentally thank partner for keeping it simple.

The 3 is led to the queen and king.

North
6
9
KJ1063
J9643
South
AQ943
A10
Q7
AQ5
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

Which minor next?

North
6
9
KJ1063
J9643
South
AQ943
A10
Q7
AQ5
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

The natural play is a diamond. However, the defense can duck the first round and return a heart next. They can then duck the K too and hope to kill dummy. 

Stuck in our hand, we might make 2 spades, 3 hearts, 1 diamond, and 2 clubs for eight tricks only.

Evaluation suggests that playing clubs first is best. We can drive out the K and then make the entry-generating play of Q covered by the K

The defense would not be able to deny us an entry to dummy.

We would score four clubs, one diamond, two hearts, and one spade for eight tricks.

Both the Q or 10 are serious candidates for the ninth.

I start with the A and East obligingly wins the Q on the second round.

North
6
9
KJ1063
J96
South
AQ943
A10
Q7
5
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

The 4 comes back and you ... ?

North
6
9
KJ1063
J96
South
AQ943
A10
Q7
5
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

East, Chris Sundstrom, is a competent player and was my teammate in a national championship victory.

With both the A and K in his hand, this does not feel like "Lets be honest to partner" situation.

He could easily have been false-carding at trick one.

There are two possible situations:

A. West led 3 from 32 doubleton or xx3 (lowest from three in partner's suit unsupported) and East found the false-card. The winning play would be to finesse the 10.

B. West led the 3 from Jx3 and East played the natural card. The winning play would then be to play the A, blocking the suit.

There are echoes of cute little french boy in the air and I can't help thinking "Does he read Bridge Winners?"

Should I ask him that question?

I don't.  Instead, I elect to rise A and it turns out to be the successful choice.

West
J1087
J53
985
872
North
6
96
KJ1063
J9643
East
K52
Q8742
A42
K10
South
AQ943
AK10
Q7
AQ5
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

A sigh of relief and a play to remember!

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