A Boston Croc

 

You always take a chance when you pick up a partner at the partnership desk, but I got lucky.

 

                            S  A Q J 4 2

                            H  A K 4 2

                            D  A 4

                            C  K 7

          S  8                            S  10 9 6 5

          H  Q 10 8 7 5                   H  9 3

          D  10 7 5 3                     D  K Q J 9

          C  A Q 4                        C  J 3 2

                            S  K 7 3

                            H  J 6

                            D  8 6 2

                            C  10 9 8 6 5

 

I passed as West. North opened 1S, and that was passed back to me. I doubled, North bid 2S, and there it rested. Partner Jonathan Lane, who's from New Zealand, led a top diamond and the play went fairly logically (except for declarer leaving a trump out in the East seat) until we were all down to five cards.

 

                            S  4

                            H  4 2

                            D  --

                            C  K 7

               S  --                    S  10

               H  10 5                  H  --

               D  --                    D  Q

               C  A Q 4                 C  J 3 2

                            S  --

                            H  --

                            D  8

                            C  10 9 8 6

 

North exited with a heart to my 5. With a certain amount of foreboding I wheeled out the H10. Not a flicker from pard as North followed, but the crocodile snapped his jaws! Jonathan ruffed my winner and played his diamond. Now, whether declarer ruffed or not, she was going to lose two more tricks. If she ruffed, she would have to lead away from her CK. Well played.!

 

 

A Helping of Duck

 

 

                            S  A K J 9 4

Dlr: North                  H  J 6 5

Vul: Both                   D  Q 9 4

                            C  7 6

          S  7 6 5 3                      S  Q 8

          H   --                          H  K Q 10 7 4

          D  K J 10 8 6 5                 D  2

          C  J 8 2                        C  K 10 9 5 3

                            S  10 2

                            H  A 9 8 3 2

                            D  A 7 3

                            C  A Q 4

 

         WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

          -           Cordon         -           Rhind

          -           Pass          Pass         1H

         Pass         1S            2C           Pass

         Pass         3H            All Pass

 

David Cordon invited game with his jump in hearts, but fellow Bermudian Jack Rhind said no. The opening club lead went to the queen, and Rhind cashed the CA and ruffed a club. He led a trump, and when East put up the 10, Rhind ducked. A diamond came back, and West won with the king when Rhind played low. East ruffed the diamond return and led the trump king. Once again Rhind ducked -- he could make his contract by winning the ace and driving out the queen, but the line of play he chose is more interesting.

Rhind ruffed the club switch, cashed the  S A-K and led the jack –and East was caught in a trump coup. He could ruff whenever he wished, but Rhind had the ace-9 over the queen-7.

 

Aggressive Bidding Requires Strong Play

 

When you bid aggressively, you have to play well. Charles Nemes and Charles Sheaff got to slam on this deal, and then it was up to Nemes to make it.

 

Dlr: South                  S  A 6 5

Vul: N-S                    H  K Q 10 5

                            D  7

                            C  A J 8 6 5

          S  Q J 10 9                       S  K 8 7 3

          H    --                           H  J 7 6 4 3

          D  10 9 8 5 4 3                   D  Q 6

          C  K 9 3                          C  7 4

                            S  4 2

                            H  A 9 8 2

                            D  A K J 2

                            C  Q 10 2

 

         WEST         NORTH         EAST         SOUTH

          -            -             -           1NT

         Pass         2D (1)        Pass         2H

         Pass         3H (2)        Pass         4D (3)

         Pass         4S (4)        Pass         5D (5)

         Pass         6D            All Pass

 

         (1) Forcing Stayman.

         (2) Invitational to slam.

         (3) Cuebid.

         (4) Key Card Blackwood.

         (5) Two key cards without the queen of trumps.

 

The opening diamond lead rode to Nemes' jack, and he led the HK, getting the bad news. But since he had all bases covered he continued trumps, drawing four rounds and leaving East with the master trump. Next came the CQ, covered by the king and ace.

Now Nemes was home -- he had all the outside tricks, and East could take his trump whenever he pleased. This was a 13-IMP gain because their opponents stopped in the heart game, making five.

What happens if East instead leads a spade? Declarer can still make it, but it requires picking up the DQ, on a finesse if necessary.