Maritha Pottenger

Adventures in Bridge, August 31, 2018

Hand #23

West: AK72 J873 J6 KQ5

East: QJ86 Q52 8732 A7

You hold the East hand and partner opens 1. RHO overcalls 1 and you make a negative double—guaranteeing four spades and a second place to play (diamonds in this case). LHO passes and partner bids 1. RHO passes. Your bid? I passed. I have “the death holding” in hearts—three small or three to the Queen. RHO often has AKxxx, and the defense often goes King, then Ace, then ruff by LHO (who failed to raise). This is a parallel to Eddie Kantar's comments that secondary honors in the opponents' suit(s) are useless unless you are going to play in no trump. My caution was rewarded when the defense did, indeed, go Ace, King, ruff of the Q [partner started with Jxxx], followed by two diamond tricks for our opponents. If I raise partner to 2, he might assume (with his length in hearts) that I am short in hearts, and make a game try. Then we get too high. (Some pairs did.)

Hand #9

North (Dummy): 83 Q74 8743 AQJ5

East: A102 10962 K6 10763

The bidding went 1NT by South; 2NT by North; all pass. Partner led the 4 (fourth-best leads). I took the A, and returned the 10 (current count when returning partner's suit). Declarer took the K, while partner played the 6. Declarer played the 2 and partner played the K (perfectly reasonable from doubleton King—need not be singleton). Declarer took the A, Q, and J. Partner discarded the 8 (standard attitude signals—high “I like it”) on the third round of clubs. Next Declarer cashed three rounds of hearts, with everyone following. Then Declarer played the A and a low diamond. Partner played the Jack and I—perforce—took the K. At this point you know partner has the Q and the Q. [If Declarer had the Q, she would already have cashed it.] You have a good (thirteenth) heart and the 10 which is beating Dummy's the 5, and the 2. It is OK to cash ONE good trick (either the club OR the heart). If, however, you cash both your club and your heart, you are torturing partner. He will have to decide between keeping his good the Q or his good the Q for the 13th trick. I am happy to say that Ray Sachs rose to the occasion, keeping his the Q, but I should have been kinder and just led a spade at trick 12 instead of torturing him.