Join Bridge Winners
Hand from Ganzer - Hamman
(Page of 6)

South
AJ9
Q2
KJ10975
Q3
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
?

In the 3rd quarter of a USBC R16 match, you hold a slight lead over the favored Hamman team. Do you bid on?

South
AJ9
Q2
KJ10975
Q3
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

We're vul. Give partner a good minimum like the minor suit aces, we're in good shape on a lead. Furthermore, we have good intermediates in our long suit, so it's less likely that we'll get doubled in 3NT when we're wrong. These reasons were good enough for me to try game, as the underdog team.

West
North
Q8
AJ1095
Q86
J65
East
South
AJ9
Q2
KJ10975
Q3
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
1

Plan the play on the 10 lead. Opponents' leads and carding are standard.

West
North
Q8
AJ1095
Q86
J65
East
South
AJ9
Q2
KJ10975
Q3
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
1

It looks like we need clubs 4-4. Then we're up to 5 , 1 , 2 aces, and we'll still need to take a successful finesse. Are there any other chances? Yes, if RHO plays the A, we can drop the Q representing KQ. Maybe they'll shift, when clubs break 5-3 or 6-2.

This could hurt if A were a falsecard from AK. However, you're deep enough into the match to know that the opponents aren't the type to snooker their partners on trick 1.

North
Q8
AJ1095
Q86
J6
South
AJ9
Q2
KJ10975
3

RHO indeed rises A, and we drop the Q in tempo, having planned out our play. He shifts to 10. What now?

North
Q8
AJ1095
Q86
J6
South
AJ9
Q2
KJ10975
3

The 10 shift sure makes it look like the finesse is off. Remember that they don't know our hand. We could have Ax(x), and we'd have no choice but to let it ride. It's a disaster if LHO wins this trick, as they can go back to setting up clubs. Now even if clubs are 4-4, and Kxx is onside, we still only have 2 , 5 , and 1 for 8 tricks.

Accordingly, we hop A, and LHO encourages with 7. I think this doesn't matters that much, but at the table I also decided to unblock Q from dummy, to ensure that the next spade trick would be won in hand.

North
8
AJ1095
Q86
J6
South
J9
Q2
KJ10975
3

What now?

North
8
AJ1095
Q86
J6
South
J9
Q2
KJ10975
3

It's time to play diamonds. We want to make sure to be in hand on the second diamond trick, so that if they duck twice, we have the option to run the heart suit. This can give us 1 , 5 , 2 , and on trick 10 we can play a spade from dummy to force out the 9th trick, as they only have 1 , 1 , and 2 to cash.

North
AJ1095
86
J6
South
Q2
KJ1097
3

RHO actually wins the first diamond and goes back to 3. LHO wins and returns 5. Obviously we're going to run diamonds. We have 2 , 1 , and 5. Do we finesse or for our 9th trick, and so what should dummy discard on this trick?

North
AJ1095
86
J6
South
Q2
KJ1097
3

They could've beaten the contract straight up if both major finesses are off. Furthermore, RHO may have shifted from a non-honor holding Txxxx. Thus, I decided to take the heart finesse, onside, and scored up +630. The full hand:

West
K752
K73
32
K1098
North
Q8
AJ1095
Q86
J65
East
10643
864
A4
A742
South
AJ9
Q2
KJ10975
Q3
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
10
5
A
Q
2
0
1
10
A
7
Q
3
1
1
5
3
Q
A
2
1
2
3
J
K
8
0
1
3
5
6
6
9
3
2
3
K
2
6
4
3
3
3
10
8
8
7
3
4
3
9
9
5
2
3
5
3
8

It turned out that the Q falsecard was not absolutely needed on this hand, but it did allow me to see which major suit finesse to take. None of the plays were particularly difficult on this hand, but good bridge is often like that, a bunch of unspectacular solid plays that hopefully add up to a victory at the end.

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