Friday, July 10, 2009

Nice defense from regional Swiss

Between the trials in June and nationals in July, and the fact that I’m only living in Princeton for two more months until I have to go back to Evanston and leave my wife here for the year, I’m not playing many sectionals or regionals this summer. I did make it to the Philadelphia-area regional for one day yesterday, to play the Thursday Swiss with Bob Heitzman and RJ Becker-Bobby Levin. The great thing about bridge is that there are as many interesting hands in a Thursday Swiss as in a world championship. After 4 of 7 8-board matches, we had 60 and played the leaders who had 61. We won two game swings and a partscore swing that featured interesting play and defense, for a blitz, then blitzed again in round 6 and actually clinched with one to go. Here’s the first game swing:

Dummy: .Axx...xx.....AQTxxx..xx

Declarer: Qxx...KQTxx...K.....KJxx

I arrived in 3NT with lefty overcalling in spades: 1H-(1S)-2D-2NT-3NT

ST (rusinow) was led to my Q. I could make if diamonds came in, with maybe some additional chances. I cashed the DK and led the HK. Lefty won and continued spades; I won (ducking would have been fatal) and righty pitched a club. I tested diamonds, keeping all my hearts, but righty turned up with Jxxx. Time to try hearts; I hooked the T which held and played two more rounds, righty turning up with Jxxx in that suit also. Righty tried a low club and I had no guess; I had to try the CK and it held, so my last heart made nine tricks. Lefty’s hand was KJTxxx Ax xx Qxx. It always feels good to make a thin game with less-than-perfect breaks, but it didn’t feel as if I had done anything special or the opponents anything silly. It’s a hand where you hope for a swing but aren’t sure. There was a swing, because the defense *had* slipped, as Levin demonstrated at the other table. Do you see where?

After the first two tricks were the same (spade to Q, DK), Levin ducked the HK! This completely wrecks the entries, and declarer cannot make it even with mirrors. In fact, he went down 3. I think that for many players the duck would not be instinctive, but on a bit of thought, it almost can’t be wrong. The DK really looks like a singleton. If declarer has Qxx KQJxx Kx Jxx (so you need to win and cash clubs), he has made an implausibly subtle double-cross play by cashing the DK. With diamonds running, almost any declarer would either try to slip a heart by without cashing the DK, or run the whole diamond suit hoping for discard trouble. I am sure that Bobby’s instincts told him that diamonds weren’t running, (or at least that he should play for that), and he found the duck without much effort.

I’ll try to post the other hand, a cute squeeze hand, tomorrow.


Memphis MOJO said...

Good post, thanks for sharing. Congrats on the win.

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