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Think Before Claiming
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Playing at the club. 3rd hand nobody vul. Partnerpasses and RHO opens 1.

I look down and see my first-ever 10-card suit:

South
K
109
AKJ10987542
W
N
E
S
P
1
?

What to do? I have a 3-loser hand that doesn't need much help to make game. But with partner a passed hand they likely hold the majority of the high cards and with me short in both majors I worry that they may find a fit and compete in a major. There is some chance we have a slam our way but I don'tsee a good way to explore for it. I bid 5, thinking that it can make or be a good save if partneris broke and hoping it will end the auction.

It doesn't. LHO bids 5, partnerpasses again and RHO bids 5.

I decide that the odds that 5 makes are too high for me to pass, so I break the rule about bidding after a preempt and I bid 6. If partneris broke and I am down 2 doubled for -300 that's still better than letting 5 make and I am not feeling good about my hand for defense. My 6 bid is passed around to RHO who doubles, ending the auction.

The A is led.

My partner, who has to run to the restroom, has far too good a hand to miss the action:

North
5
AK853
87643
Q6
South
K
109
AKJ10987542
W
N
E
S
P
1
5
5
P
5
6
P
P
X
P
P
P

Having been uncomfortable with my decision to bid on, I am ecstatic to make. I ruff the diamond lead in hand and turn over my hand:

"Draw trump, two top hearts, losing a spade, making 6."

That gave us 94% (tie for top) on the board, but it was a horrible misplay.

Do you see what I did wrong?

The claim statement is solid. Only one trump is outstanding, nothing can block.

But do I have to lose a spade?

At a minimum if hearts are 3-3, after drawing trump and cashing the two hearts I can ruff a heart to my hand and if they break I can play a trump back to the board to cash a long heart for a spade pitch. On the actual hand hearts broke and I could have taken the overtrick.

But that isn't really my regret.

The line that I missed?

If (as I expect on the bidding) RHO has the A and LHO has long diamonds a double squeeze will develop.

I only have one reentry to the board after ruffing a heart (unless I want to risk a great contract for an overtrick by cashing two top hearts before drawing trump). But I have lotsof entries to ruff diamonds. Two trumps and a top heart will let me ruff 3 more diamonds, ensuring only one opponent can guard the last diamond, while retaining a heart entry to it.

After running the clubs, I will reach this end position (lead is in South):

North
K8
7
South
K
9
2
W
N
E
S
P
1
5
5
P
5
6
P
P
X
P
P
P

When I play my last club, either a) someone pitches the last diamond b) someone pitches the A or c) someone pitches a heart. The only way the hearts can still be guarded if they don't unguard diamonds or spadesis if the player with the long diamonds also has the A, which seems unlikely on the bidding.

The full hand:

West
8432
QJ7
AQJ1095
North
5
AK853
87643
Q6
East
AQJ10976
642
K2
3
South
K
109
AKJ10987542
W
N
E
S
P
1
5
5
P
5
6
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
6X South
NS: 0 EW: 0

As expected, RHO has the A and LHO has the long diamonds, so the double squeeze would have worked. I haven't even mentioned the best part; since LHO had QJx, he might elect to keep the heart guard and pitch the last diamond (hoping that I would lose count of the diamonds). I would not only win an extra half a matchpoint but my partner would owe me two beers!

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