GIB, Schmib

West
J107653
Q
32
A874
North
Q2
AK10532
Q94
QJ
East
A9
9874
J1085
1062
South
K84
J6
AK76
K953
W
N
E
S
1NT
P
2
P
2
2
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Imps, practice match, last board.  I was North.  Over 1N, I decided to play 3N if partner had a doubleton heart - I had a tool to force him to bid 4 with 3(+).  After the 2 intervention the tool was gone, but I chose to bid 3N anyway.

West led a spade.  If declarer decides to play for 6-card and split aces (possible on the delayed action), he  can duck trick one in both hand and claim.  As it was, declarer tried Q and West cleared spades.  Declarer now played a low heart and made 10 tricks when fortune smiled.  After the hand, I made the comment that partner had the wrong red jack - if he had J then ONLY 3N can be made (by ducking at trick one).

Unsurprisingly, we lost an imp to 4 making 5 in the other room.

As I was walking back to my room, a thought occurred to me.  What if I HAD bid 4?  West would have led a spade (perhaps the jack) and East could play ace and another.  What should declarer do now?  Play A?  Come to hand and lead a low heart or the jack?  No!  All these plays would fail if East held the Q fourth - extremely likely on the auction.  The ONLY play that makes sense is to win Q and lead a LOW heart.  Now if they rise Q, switch to a club and get a spade through, you can ruff high, return to J, cross to a minor queen, draw trump and claim.

As it happens, with J losing to the Q (the one holding where you're 'wrong'), you now go down - 'cold' for 5.

So, I say "GIB, Schmib".  GIB or Deep Finesse can tell you how to make 4 against Q98x; it can tell you that 5 is cold when it's stiff Q.  It can even tell you 5N is makeable.  What it can't do is spot how the actual layout is interesting - and how playing correctly will lead to failure.  It takes a human to do that.