Monday, 24 March 2014

Bodged - Deal of the Week #18

Here's a hand from last week, where I should have done a lot better. It's a tail of woe.

Board 2
Dealer East
Love All
♠ x x x
♥ A J T x x
♦ K T 9 x
♣ x
♠ K Q x x
♥ K x x
♦ x
♣ K Q J x x
♠ T x x
♥ x x
♦ 8 x x x
♣ A x x
♠ A J x
♥ Q x x
♦ A Q J x
♣ x x x

I sat South as dealer. Playing a Strong NT I opened 1♦. West overcalled 2♣ and North bid 2♥. In the local system this only promises 4 Hearts, so I couldn't raise this straight away. I rebid 2NT, which seems the only sensible option. North maybe thought this showed more strength, or decided that we needed to bid a game, so went straight for 5♦.

West lead a trump. The contract actually looks pretty good. If the Heart finesse works I've got 10 top tricks, and can ruff a Club for my 11th. Or if the Heart finesse fails I need to ruff two Clubs. Having avoided a Spade lead, 5♦ is actually a better contract than 4♥, as 4♥ will only make if the Heart finesse works.

I won the first Diamond in Hand (big mistake, as we'll see), and lead a Club. West played the ♣J, and East skilfully overtook with the ♣A. This is almost certainly safe, as it's very unlikely I've got the ♣K - I wouldn't be playing the Clubs this way if I did. East then returned the ♠T, which is the switch I'd been dreading. I took the ♠A, and now I can't afford to lose the lead as I'll have two Spade losers on top of my Club loser. So I need the Heart finesse to work. I ruffed a Club first, then came back to hand with a trump. At this point the trump suit looked like this, with the lead in my hand.

- 8x

What I want to do know is draw the last two round of trumps, and pin everything on the Heart finesse - which given West's overcall and the cards played so far is almost certain to work. But I've bodged it. I can't draw trumps, despite being dealt all of the ♦AKQJT9. If I cross to the ♦T there's no way back to hand, and I need to be in hand to finesse the Hearts. What I should have done is one the very first trump trick in dummy, then I would have just high trumps left in hand.

I gloomily lead the ♥Q, and finessed again when West ducked. East ruffed the third Heart, and the defence cashed two more Spades.

Looking at the deal East has only three important cards, but he played them all with guile for an excellent defence. Of course I still should have made it, but he gave me a chance to fail and I grabbed it eagerly.


  1. You can still recover after you don't win the first diamond in dummy. As you say, you need the heart finesse anyway, so you can just cash the trump 10 before you come back to hand to take it, and draw all the trumps. If it loses, you go one more off, but it's aggregate, so who cares?

  2. I would have come back to hand if I could have, but I got myself stuck in dummy - no entries back to hand!