Jeff Lehman

Not as bad as I thought  

At a recent regional, I was invited to play a small two-session event with an aspiring player who needed a bit more than 6 gold points to become a Life Master.  I was ruing my failure to accomplish the goal – we had needed to finish first overall and instead finished second, about half a gold point short of her needs – because of a lead choice I made that I – always one who enjoys telling a good story, even at his own expense – said cost us seven tricks!

I held

N
North
K765432
8542
8
9

 

and heard the following auction of opponents, beginning with an opening bid by my RHO in second seat: 2NT-3 (alerted); 3NT (alerted)– All Pass.  Upon inquiry I learned that 3 asked opener to name her best minor and that 3NT showed diamonds that are equal to or better than clubs.

From those explanations, I surmised that responder was interested in a club slam.  I could infer that clubs might lie badly for declarer, what with declarer possibly not having good clubs and my owning a small singleton.  Envisaging a defense of my placing partner on lead with a club and then receiving a spade return through declarer’s ace, I chose to lead my club.  Declarer was shortly claiming all thirteen tricks for a score of +520.  When I asked partner what was her spade holding she answered “four to the ace”.  Great, I admitted: my lead cost us seven tricks … and, I was later guessing, my partner becoming a Life Master by virtue of our winning the event.

Further investigation – not conducted until today – disclosed that my actions were not as bad as I thought.  Here is the 52-card layout:

 
11
None
South
N
North
K765432
8542
8
9
 
W
West
QJ
AJ
AKQ1052
QJ4
9
E
East
K97
9743
AK10763
 
S
South
A1098
Q1063
J6
852
 

Because of the blockage in spades, my lead choice actually cost only four tricks, not seven tricks.  Furthermore, my lead cost us only 2 matchpoints, not quite enough to win the event.  Here were the NS results on the board:

5S by N -100, 7 mps

4D by W -190, 6 mps

5C or 5D by E or W (twice), 4.5 mps

3NT by W – 520, 3 mps

6C or 6D by E or W -940 (three times), 1 mp

More importantly, the next day my partner for the event picked up the additional partial gold point she needed to become a Life Master.

Leave a comment

Your comment