Sunday, October 24, 2010

Jennbridge: An Interesting Hand at the Club

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:

♠  K87
♥  AT5
♦  AKQ765
♣  J

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:

♠  JT
♥  Q642
♦  void

♣  AKQ9643

♠  K87
♥  AT5
♦  AKQ765

♣  J

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

♠ K8
♣ none

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. 

Good luck!

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