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Dialing Toll Free
Bobby and I were scheduled to be on BBO VuGraph during the 2nd round of the final session of the Reisinger. However, when we arrived at the table, our seats were already filled and our opponents, David Gold and Tom Townsend, had started play without us against the wrong pair! Perhaps that was an indication that the results at the other table over the next three boards were going to be irrelevant. We played a substitute board, which left us temporarily satisfied, but that feeling didn’t last long.


On the first hand I picked up:

South
J652
QJ732
A
873
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
P
X
P
?

The opponents play 4-card majors. What would you do?
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If Bobby held 4 spades he likely would have doubled at his first opportunity or bid 2 now, so we’re unlikely to have an 8-card spade fit. I certainly had reasonable defense so, with no better alternative, I passed and hoped for the best. Bobby led the K and the full hand was:

T. Townsend
AQ
A964
J943
Q94
B. Levin
K73
KQ8652
AK105
D. Gold
10952
10
Q8762
AKJ10652
S. Weinstein
J864
QJ732
A
873
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
4
2X West
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
7
A
3
3
1
0
8
4
K
2
1
2
0
Q
10
7
4
1
3
0
2
10
3
J
2
3
1
6
2
9
5
3
4
1
8
Q
K
2
1
5
1
A
J
4
Q
1
6
1
5
5
3
9
3
7
1
6
A
7
9
0
7
2
4
6
K
7
2
7
3
5
J
A
10
0
7
4
6
3
8
Q
3
8
4
J
9
8
10
0
8
5
E/W -800
13


You can follow the play with the ‘Next’ button. We scored 800 for a satisfying result.

This is when things really got exciting:

South
J54
10653
10865
J3
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
X
P
?

Did I say exciting? I meant terrifying. How would you deal with this mess?
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At this point I was looking for the nearest fire exit! I thought briefly about passing, but these guys are sharp and they surely would have realized that this was a pass of fear and not for penalty. After all, I didn’t overcall 1 so how could I conceivably hold a penalty pass? I decided to bid 2. I had 4 hearts so it’s certainly possible that they wouldn’t do the right thing. Well, it turned out that Bobby made an aggressive double and our opponents handled it very well when Townsend made a card showing double of my 2 and Gold left in with AQx of trumps. The full hand was:

T. Townsend
KQ763
K4
J73
A106
B. Levin
A1092
J972
A
9872
D. Gold
8
AQ8
KQ942
KQ54
S. Weinstein
J54
10653
10865
J3
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
X
P
2
X
P
P
P
D
5
2X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
A
2
6
1
1
0
2
5
J
A
0
1
1
K
2
8
3
0
1
2
4
7
Q
5
2
1
3
A
6
3
9
2
1
4
K
5
7
J
1
2
4
2
8
J
Q
0
2
5
J
9
4
8
0
2
6
6
7
Q
3
2
2
7
Q
10
6
8
2
2
8
K
10
10
9
3
3
8
4
7
10
9
1
4
8
A
4
5
K
1
5
8
N/S -500
13


At the other table our teammates, Martel-Stansby, bid unopposed to 3NT (1-1; 2-2; 2N-3N). Chris Willenken, South, made the best lead of a low spade setting up 3 spade tricks for the defense. Chip, however, established diamonds by leading low towards KQ942 (this caters to a singleton ace in either hand) and took 9 tricks. Well played and defended! But--as is often the case with BAM scoring--nothing mattered; 800 had already lost the board.

So, with it all tied up going into the top of the third David Gold picked up this collection:
West
Dummy
2
AJ95
QJ97
J1098
Gold
1083
K86
A1084
742
South
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1NT
2
4
5
X
P
P
P
D
6
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
8
J
0
0
1
5
7
A
3
2
0
2
2

What would you return and why?
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This is an interesting hand for defensive carding. It’s a relatively common agreement to lead the King from AK--when you normally would do the opposite--if you will be shifting to a singleton. It’s also typical to lead the King from AK at the 5-level or higher, since you’ll often want to cash an unsupported ace. So, which card should partner lead from AK if they also held a stiff diamond?

The problem can likely be solved even without answering this obscure question. Our 8 at trick one was a suit-preference signal, showing a diamond honor. However, there wouldn’t be a pressing need for partner to shift to diamonds unless he held a singleton. If declarer’s shape were such that a diamond return would sacrifice a trick, a caring partner wouldn’t put us to this guess but rather play another spade at trick two. Furthermore, it is difficult, if not impossible, to construct a hand for declarer where a club shift at trick three is necessary to obtain the maximum penalty. One final note is that there is not much information to be gleaned from declarer’s play of the 3. A good declarer will play either the deuce or the trey from an original holding of K632.

David must have reached the same conclusions, one way or another, and returned a high diamond at trick 3. The full hand:
T. Townsend
AKQ7654
7
5
AQ65
B. Levin
2
AJ95
QJ97
J1098
D. Gold
1083
K86
A1084
742
S. Weinstein
J9
Q10432
K632
K3
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1NT
2
4
5
X
P
P
P
D
6
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0


You may dislike the 2 overcall. What can I say, I’ve been reading Kit Woolsey’s articles and went with his theme: pass is a bad four letter word. When dummy came down I was happy I stuck my neck out since I thought we had reached a profitable sacrifice. As it happened, the layout was rather unlucky and the opponents were able to defend perfectly. If either of these conditions failed, we would have won the board. Perhaps it was Fate that ordered there be yet another -800.
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