Pressure Play

After your LHO opens a 12-14 NT and your opposition have agreed H, you end up in 4Sxx (yes redoubled - we had a bad night and I thought he was being cheeky in doubling us). LHO leads KH and dummy goes down with

S A975
H Axx
D Q9xxx
C x

and your hand is

S T8432
H Q
D JTxx
C Axx

How do you play? I am really annoyed that I saw the right play too late.

My analysis now is...

Provided there is no D ruff, and trumps are 2-2 then I am home and dry. Now the bidding leads me to think that maybe the trumps are not 2-2. If they are 4-0 I have no chance. If they are 3-1 then the only chance I have is if the singleton is an honour and I can persuade the person with 3 to put an honour on.

So, the right play is win AH. Ruff a H . Lead the TS. Whatever happens put up the ace.

As it turns out, LHO had KJx and I feel he probably would not have put an honour on the T. However, if he had QJx, I suspect most people would put an honour on.

I am annoyed because I played for the 2-2 split by immediately leading the AS, it failed and I went 1 off for -400!

A Grand, a Grand, my kingdom for a grand

I knew we were on for a good day - the very first hand, after 3 passes, I look at my hand and see

S AJ8
H AKQ762
D AQ2
C 8

Very nice, methinks. Open 2H. After a pass by my LHO, my partner bids 4S. Now, I am playing with my regular partner and am so glad. This is obviously not a S suit. He is a passed hand and has jumped beyond game. Therefore, this must be a splinter, agreeing H, saying he is a maximum pass, and saying he has a singleton (or void) S . This makes my hand enormously powerful. After a brief excursion into blackwood, I bid 7H. If partner has AC and KD it makes. If partner has AKQC it makes. Otherwise there are finesses, etc, etc.

As it turns out, partner has

S T
H JT985
D JT7
C AKJ9

Looks like either D or C finesse is required. The best line is to take out trumps, then play A, K, 9 C (ruffing the 9). The Q may drop in which case it is made. If it does not, then rely on the D finesse. Must be at least 60% chance.

Anyway, its all irrelevant - I get D lead into my tennace. This is my thirteenth trick. The above play would have failed as the QC does not drop and the KD is wrong.

So, first board of the night we bid a 'good' grand slam (IMHO) that should go off, but we made it - fantastic. Top in our club and 98.92% nationally.

IN PROGRESS - Defensive doings

North

S J5
H T8532
D A85
C KQ7

West

S A72
H A76
D J764
C AT4

East

S QT94
H Q9
D K93
C J982

South

S K763
H KJ4
D QT2
C 653

After 3 passes, West opens 1NT and is left to play. There is an argument for North to overcall 2H, but this did not occur.

North opened with 3H, on which was played the Q, K and A. Declarer cashed AS and then continued with the 7. The result is for South to win the K. South then cashed the JH. If at this point, south plays his last H, then North is thrown in, forced to allow declarer to make the 6 tricks he deserves.

Instead, the first master stroke of the hand occured and South played a small C. If declarer takes the Ace, then the defense get 8 tricks - 2 off. Declarer played correctly by ducking letting North win the K. An initial glance make it seem like this has gained the defense nothing and that North is thrown in. However, the discards for East are tough. This is the state of the hands after North has cashed all his Hearts.

North

S
H
D A85
C Q7

West

S 2
H
D J7
C AT

East

S T9
H
D K9
C J

South

S 3
H
D QT2
C 53

Leading a D allows declarer to make 4 more tricks. However, a small C is different. If declarer wins the J on table, he has to give up the last 2 Ds. If he wins in hand, then North makes AD and QC.

Did you spot the error by declarer? A little more care in his dummy play would have resulted in assured 4 tricks at the end. Instead of coming down to JC, he should have come down to 9C. He then lives to enjoy either both Cs and both Ss, or the Ss, one D and one C.