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The Ghost of Joan Remey

When I learned to play bridge, Joan was a local legend. A friend told me what it was like to play with her. He said his opponents eschewed their 5-3 major suit fit to play 3N, at matchpoints, and that Joan crouched into her fighter stance to keep them from taking the overtrick they needed.

It was a neat story, but I needed a deal to make it more interesting. During the last round of a miserable two session pair game I got that deal: the only redeeming feature of the day.

West
3
J64
10965
J10963
North
Q9765
K93
AQ4
K2
East
AJ104
Q1072
J72
85
South
K82
A85
K83
AQ74
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
14
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
With plenty of extra values, North bid game in NT. He was lucky to find pard with three spades and a flat hand, giving them a good chance for a good board.
J
K
5
4
1
1
0
With no clues from the auction, declarer needs to guess the spades. The correct play is to lead through the doubleton ace. Some of the field are playing 4S. Without any idea who has the ace or who has the (putative) doubleton, I prefer to lead small from dummy and, should the king hold, go back to dummy and lead small again. This still picks up Ax in the east, but also gains when east panics with ATx. That's why west should drop the jack from Jx (A Barry Crane winner missed this against me and his client blew a trick because of it). That doesn't rate to help in notrump, though.
5
4
K
3
3
2
0
8
6
6
10
2
2
1
Ok, now what? 14 HCP in dummy, 8 HCP in my hand, 15-17 HCP with declarer, leave pard 3-5 HCP. Pard has already shown CJ, so she either has HJ or not, but nothing else of interest. If I lead a heart, and pard doesn't have HJ, declarer can take a free finesse. Does that matter? Declarer can count, for sure, three club tricks, three diamond tricks, two heart tricks, and, eventually, two spade tricks to make 4N, after losing three spades to me. One more heart trick (that he might well take anyway, it is matchpoints) can't help him. Can it help me?
2
5
J
K
1
3
1
7
J
2
6
2
3
2
Q
A
4
3
3
4
2
Declarer can get to dummy and clear spades, but I'll take the setting tricks in hearts. Declarer can shut me out of my three tricks, though, leaving pard with pocket tens.
3
5
Q
2
1
5
2
A
7
8
6
1
6
2
4
J
K
9
3
7
2
A
3
2
8
3
8
2
Q
9
9
7
3
9
2
7
So my non-material heart winners wither on the vine, keeping me from winning my third spade trick, but they hold declarer to his contract. 3N making three is 0.5/17 matchpoints. Making four is 10.5/17.
9 tricks claimed
N/S +400
13

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