Join Bridge Winners
Toughest decision
(Page of 3)

We played this hand a week ago in the quarter-final of the Hungarian Cup. That is teams, IMP scoring, good opponents. Quite specifically West is a very strong player, East is young talent. Their overcalls are sound and mostly 5+ cards. They play natural opening leads, UDCA and reverse smith.

North
K74
KJ75
1084
1085
South
A8
AQ8
72
AK9432
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
X
2
X
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

West starts the defence with the Queen of spades. Please make your own plan before reading on.

North
K74
KJ75
1084
1085
South
A8
AQ8
72
AK9432
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
X
2
X
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

I had two possibilities:

(a) Win anywhere, draw ace, and guess clubs if a high card is dropped from West. Odds favour crossing to dummy (in hearts) and finessing (because of restricted choice). 

(b) Win with the king, and run the 10 (and let West win if not covered)

Plan (a) is the straight percentage play, about 46% chance if we don't know anything else about their hands. 

Plan (b) is only 25% (wins when the QJ is held by East), but has other merits. They don't know a lot about my hand, only that it's strong with 3 hearts and a spade stopper. Even if West has a club honour, they might not find the diamond switch. It's IMP scoring, thus 5 club tricks are more than enough in that case.

Decisions like this are the hardest one for me. Should I play against the odds? Have I mentioned, that I graduated as a mathematician? Wink It's hard to calculate the chance of the misdefence. If I choose plan (a) and West has QJx or QJ then my hand will be an open book and they can't go wrong anymore. But how will I tell to my teammates that I went down in a laydown vulnerable game, when clubs were Q - Jxx or J - Qxx? I was thinking and thinking.

What do you think? Which way is the right one?

West's hesitation after my 3NT suggested that clubs won't be 2-2. If he was thinking about saving then he probably has short clubs, if he was thinking about doubling then he probably has a club stopper. This was my toughest decision in the match.

Finally I decided, that they may not know enough and just blindly continue spades, thus I won the spade king and ran the club 10. West took it, not a big surprise. And ... led a small diamond (attitude), bad news. Ouch! East took the ace, and started thinking (good news). I was praying. It had some effect, she finally produced a spade. The full deal was:

West
QJ1095
KQ953
QJ7
North
K74
KJ75
1084
1085
East
632
1096432
AJ6
6
South
A8
AQ8
72
AK9432
D

So we won the battle. Unfortunately we lost the match.

13 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top