Bridge By The Lake
By Ken Masson
Fishermen are noted for their tall tales about the enormous catch they didn’t quite land and which they blithely refer to as “The one that got away”. I had some sympathy for them when I almost, but not quite, landed the doubled contract in this month’s diagram.
In a game played at the Lake Chapala Duplicate Bridge Club in Riberas I opened the South hand one spade in third seat. West, holding a 20 high card point hand, might have bid 2 spades, Michaels Cue Bid, to show hearts and an unspecified minor, or even made a takeout double but instead chose to simply overcall 2 hearts.
Herself, sitting North, passed as a “free bid” of 2 spades would have overstated her holding. East similarly was happy to pass with his paltry collection and when the auction came back to me I felt my hand was strong enough to venture a 2 spade bid. West was not done as she showed her second suit at the three level.
Herself now judged, correctly, that her hand had improved to the point where she could show her spade support so she chimed in with 3 spades. In my usual over-optimistic fashion I saw this as a challenge to play in the major suit game and bid 4 spades. With her fine collection of high cards, West lowered the boom with a penalty double as I thought I detected a look of bewilderment from my long-suffering partner.
West led the diamond ace and when she saw a singleton in the dummy switched to the club ace and then king which I ruffed. I paused to consider my options and saw that there were some possibilities of making this contract. If the opponents’ spades were divided 2-2 or 3-1 with a singleton queen and I could somehow ruff 3 diamonds in dummy and score the heart Ace that would amount to 10 tricks.
I now played a low diamond towards the dummy and when West followed with the king I ruffed with a low spade. Back to my hand with the heart Ace to lead another low diamond. This time West ruffed with the spade 8 and I over-ruffed with the 9 to play another club towards my hand which I trumped to play yet another diamond. West discarded a heart and I won with dummy’s last trump. Next came a heart back ruffed by a low spade in my hand for my seventh trick.
My last four cards were the spade ace, king and jack and the diamond jack. I now exited with my last diamond and hoped that East would win and be forced into playing a card that would be useful to me. But when he played the spade 2 I rose with my ace as West showed out and I had to concede one more trick to East’s trump queen.
Where did I go wrong? The bidding and early play showed West with at least five hearts and at least four clubs plus exactly 2 diamonds leaving her with a maximum of 2 trumps. If one of her trumps was the queen, wouldn’t she have ruffed with it earlier to ensure it scored a trick?