By Bob Klein. Kathy and I were having a ho-hum game at the club Friday until the last hand of the day. With neither side vulnerable, I was dealer and picked up:
I opened 1 Diamond. LHO passed, and Kathy bid 2 Clubs, a game force. How should I proceed?
I had several choices. I could rebid 2 Diamonds, 2NT, 3 Diamonds or 3NT. I decided that a NoTrump bid would be best, since I didn't want to bid diamonds and have partner bid NoTrump, which could wrong-side the contract. If I had been playing with Jenn, I would have bid 2NT since we discussed the pros and cons of bidding 3NT in this position and decided that it took up too much space. However, I hadn't played with Kathy in a long time, and decided to make the value bid of 3NT, which showed about 18-19 HCP. (I only had 17, but with the great suit and jack in partner's suit, I felt I could upgrade.) Now Kathy bid 4NT, inviting slam. Since it was the last board, and not much had been happening for us, I said "what the heck" and just took a shot and bid 6NT.
LHO led the Jack of Diamonds, not a good sign. When the dummy came down, I was looking at:
Well, I wasn't going to make it by running diamonds, but I had a chance because Kathy gave me 7 good clubs. The suit looks solid, but because she had no entries outside, I had to hope clubs were 3-2 or there was a stiff ten, since I had to overtake the Jack to get to them. Assuming the clubs ran, I had 11 tricks: 7 clubs, 3 diamonds and the Ace of hearts. The 12th trick had to be in spades, since if I lost a heart they would cash the Ace of spades for down one. So I had to win trick one and immediately run the clubs, coming down to
and hope I could guess the spades.
Now psychology came into play. The clubs split 3-2, so I ran them. During the run of the suit, LHO played high-low in spades. I asked what their carding agreements were, and they said standard. So, should I believe this as an honest signal, assume he was trying to fool me, or just ignore it and flip a coin?
LHO was a good Flight B player. If he had been an expert, I would have had a real conundrum. He would know I wouldn't expect an honest signal, so he might just give me one, since I'd likely assume he was lying! I didn't think this opponent would play such a deep game, but would he try to fool me, or perhaps give an honest signal to help partner with discarding? Finally, I decided on the latter, ran the spade jack and was rewarded when he won it with the Ace. 6NT bid and made, for 8 out of 8 matchpoints.