A matchpoint fight for an extra trick
In a duplicate pairs event, all of your results are compared with those of the other pairs sitting in your direction, North-South or EastWest. You get one point for each other pair you outscore, and half a point for a tie. So, trying to win as many tricks as possible is vital.
In today’s Danny Kleinman deal, how should South play in two hearts after West leads the club queen? What do you think might happen at other tables?
Nowadays, most Souths will open one no-trump, to avoid a potential rebid problem, and play there. Presumably West will lead the club queen. South has eight top tricks: one spade, five hearts and two clubs. A bold player, hoping that West has the diamond 10, might win the first trick with the club king and immediately play a diamond to his queen. Here, that should not work unless West ignores his partner’s discouraging club two at trick one and perseveres with a second club. (In no-trump, if South had x-ray vision, he would win the first trick with the club king and lead specifically the diamond nine. The curious may work it out.)
In two hearts, you can gain a ninth trick by ruffing a club on the board. Win the first trick with dummy’s king (the honor from the shorter side first), cash the heart king, play a heart to your ace, take the club ace and ruff the club 10. Then return to hand with a spade and draw the last trump to gain that overtrick.
Plus 140 will probably be just over average. Plus 110 would be a disaster, losing to all of the pairs who are plus 120 in one no-trump. Finally, anyone who scores 150 in no-trump will get a top.