Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The Long Drive Home

I drove home from Kingston with Dave Colbert and Mike Cafferata who were my last round opponents in the Swiss.  They were at the other table and Dave was playing my hands.  We spent a lot of the car ride home talking about this hand which I played in four spades while Dave was in four spades doubled.  It is interesting how we each played it.  Here is the hand:

S K10xx
H void
D AKQ1098x
C Kx
S xxxx
H xxx
D x
C AJxxx

As I remember it Isabelle opened 1D and East overcalled 1H.  I made a negative double which conveniently showed the other two suits and West bid 2D showing about a limit raise in hearts.  Isabelle bid 4H and I bid 4S which was the final contract.  The opening lead was a heart and now I spent 5 minutes thinking how to play it.  Its up to you now.


Here’s what I did.  I ruffed the heart, led a club to the A and lead a spade up playing the king when West played low.  The hand was soon over when East won drew 3 rounds of trump and cashed to hearts.  I think all lines need 3-2 diamond break and a 3-2 spade break.  My line needed the spade ace onside.  If it was I was home.  If he wins the spade ace and taps me say.  I ruff cash the SK and play diamonds pitching my hearts.  They will make their remaining trump eventually.  West does best to duck the spade, I win the king and let them take their 3 trump whenever they want.

Here is what happened at the other table.  I am not sure about the auction although I am sure it was similar but Dave was doubled in four spades by Jeff Smith sitting East.  Now Dave knows the trump ace is almost certainly over the SK.  What is his best line?  Dave decided that the trump were 4-1 and he led the S10 off dummy.  (Obviously you can’t make it on that distribution).  Jeff won and played a heart.  Dave won and played 3 diamonds, Jeff discarding on the third diamond.  Now Dave was toast.  If he played any more diamonds the short hand would ruff in and he couldn’t play another spade.  If he does Jeff wins and plays another heart.  There are no more trump in dummy so Mike has to win.  He can cross to dummy on a club but Jeff can ruff in on the next diamond killing the dummy.  In the end he was one down.

There is one other line that might work and I did consider it at the table.  I think this is the one Dave should have tried since it works when the spade ace is offside if clubs are 3-3 (along with spades 3-2 and diamonds 3-2).  Basically you set up clubs and only use the 3 top diamonds as pitches.  Here’s how it works.  You play 3 top diamonds throwing your last two hearts.  If the AQJ of spades holds the short diamond they should not ruff.  Now you play three rounds of clubs ruffing in dummy.  These are your remaining cards

S K10
H void
D 1098x
C void
S xxxx
H void
D void
C Jx

Now you lead a spade from the dummy. You need to lead the S10 from dummy.  The idea is that you keep the Spade K there to overruff West (the short hand).  You lead a spade and the defence wins and you ruff in hand.  Now you play clubs.  If West every ruffs you overruff with the spade King.  Since both your hand and dummy have winners you don’t care which hand you are in.  East takes his two trump tricks at any time.

I don’t think this is the best line when you don’t know where the SA is but it is certainly the best line if you do.  Even if clubs are not 3-3 this will work if the club queen is onside (and you finesse) or if the club queen is doubleton.  I don’t how the clubs are but I really wish I played the hand this way.  It would have been a great story.

1 Comment

Jeff SmithMay 21st, 2008 at 3:53 pm

The clubs were 4-2 with the Qxxx behind the AJxxx

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