FRANK STEWART BRIDGE
CY’S MATCHPOINT PLAY It’s human nature for bridge players to be more impressed with a play that works than with one that is best only in theory. In a matchpoint duplicate game at my club, Cy the Cynic was declarer at 3NT. West led a heart, and Cy won, pondered and led a diamond. East took his king and returned a heart. The Cynic won and led another diamond, and West won and took three hearts for down one.
“What are you doing?” North asked incredulously. “Lead a club from your hand at Trick Two. Win the heart return, take dummy’s high spades and finesse with the queen of clubs. You win four clubs, three spades and two hearts.” Down Two “I would need clubs to break 3-2 with the king onside,” Cy pointed out. “That’s only a 34 percent chance, and if the club finesse loses, I’m down at least three. My play assured no worse than down one.” The goal at matchpoints is to beat the other pairs, not necessarily to make game. So Cy’s play was correct or at least defensible, if only in theory. Daily Question You hold: ♠ 9 ♥ A K ♦ Q 10 9 5 2 ♣ A Q 7 4 3. Your partner opens one spade, you bid two diamonds, he rebids two spades and you try three clubs. Partner then bids three diamonds. What do you say?
Answer: It would be easy to bid 3NT, and that might well be your best contract. But slam is not out of the picture. You would have a chance at six diamonds if partner holds a minimum hand such as A J 6 5 4 2, 8 6, K J 8, K 8. To test the water, bid three hearts or four clubs. South dealer Both sides vulnerable