Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A tricky 3NT

This was from the USBC semi-finals, and was slightly mis-reported in the daily bulletin.

If you like, cover up North-South and plan the play on the auction and lead shown below.

Board 39
Dlr S
Vul Both

♠ K 10 9 8 4

J 5

Q 9 6 2

♣ Q 8
♠ A Q 6
♠ J 7 5 2
A 10 9 2
J 10
A K 8 7 4
♣ A 10 9 2
♣ J 7 6

♠ 3

K Q 8 6 4 3

5 3

♣ K 5 4 3


3NTAll Pass

3 was stayman, and 3NT denied 4 spades, but showed comfort with the heart stopper.

Opening lead: J

More below...

I won the 2nd heart, pitching a club from dummy. Apparently Rodwell in the same situation took a very long time and pitched a spade -- I think I should have recognized this as a situation worth more thought than I gave it.

Anyway, I tried the 10, which held, then the
J was covered. On the next diamond South was in some pain and shook a heart; I did too. I knocked out North's diamond (South & I both pitched hearts again), and he was endplayed. He chose a spade exit, I won ♠Q, A, and played another, endplaying him again. He played ♣Q, which I allowed to hold, and then claimed.

Note the cute club ending: stiff J in dummy along with 2 winners, opposite AT9. Normally in a position like this South holding Kxx can duck and still score a trick, but here there was no answer.

Rodwell apparently (after pitching a spade from dummy) also snuck the 10 through, then played another--covered and won. Now a club to the 9 and North was endplayed to concede a dummy entry to pick up clubs, cash the diamond, and later establish a spade.

It was reported that after discarding a club and running the 10 I "continued along the same line as Rodwell" which doesn't seem all that accurate.

I'm not really sure which line is better. Seems roughly that we both needed North to have the ♠K and at least one club honor. But, it's not clear Rodwell was going to make if North had both club honors, or South had the ♣8.  Against that, he still had chances if South has both clubs since he retained his slow heart stopper.

Meanwhile, at the other table in my match, declarer also discarded a club, played a spade to the
J, then tried ♣J: covered and won in hand. He next played a club to North's (Alex Kolesnik's) queen, and Alex tangled the hand by playing the Q back at him.

I don't know exactly what happened after that, it actually looks to me like he could survive by winning, playing a spade to the Q (Alex must duck), cashing his clubs, and setting up ♠J while still having a diamond entry.

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