Suddenly developing strip squeeze
On Board 14 of yesterday’s club matchpoint duplicate, I misjudged the auction but then received a couple of breaks in the opponents’ best suit that allowed for a nice recovery.
My partner and I are playing a weak notrump. Accordingly, an opening bid of 1 of a suit will be either a distributional hand (meaning a singleton or void somewhere; a six card or longer suit; or some 5-4-2-2 hands) or, if a balanced hand, a strong hand (meaning 15 or more HCP).
Partner opened 1♦. I responded 1♥ on QJ73, J872, QJ2, A7. My left hand opponent decided to overcall 2♣ and my partner made a support double, telling me that he held exactly three hearts but otherwise not describing his hand. What should I bid?
I reasoned that 3NT could be a reasonable contract whether partner is strong and balanced or has long diamonds. If the former, I should be able to make on power; and if the latter, perhaps my diamond holding would solidify partner’s hand and help produce enough fast tricks to make game. I considered finding out a bit more about partner’s hand, but was finally persuaded to just jump to 3NT by two factors: (1) avoiding giving “information leak” to the opponents; and (2) placing the overcaller on lead, which could be critical if partner holds some innocuous club holding such as Jxx or Qx.
Well, the first factor did apply, as North decided not to risk a club lead but rather tried a safe diamond.
I won the diamond in hand and forced out the ♠A. North now led a club but it was the ♣6, forcing his partner to play the jack (causing dummy’s ♣T to become quite powerful). I won the ♣A.
After one club, three rounds of spades, and four rounds of diamonds, everyone is down to these five cards:
I cashed the spade in hand and North had no good discard. When he chose to discard a club, I threw him in with the ♣T and the forced heart return ran to my jack. A finesse of the ♥Q next produced eleven tricks for me: one club, four diamonds, three hearts, and three spades, losing only the ♠A and one club. 8 matchpoints on an 11 top, losing only to three pairs who, somehow, made twelve tricks in spades.