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Wasted Deuce

I was East on this deal from a recent online match and hardly delighted to see partner preempt in my void. Fortunately, North came to the rescue with 3 D, so I passed and South tried 3 NT. I gave a fleeting thought to bidding 4 D as some kind of “delayed Michaels” for the majors, but then I remembered I was still on planet Earth and passed again.

3 NT by South

None Vul
S K Q
H Q 6 4
D A K Q 8 7
C 6 3 2
S 5
H 10 9 2
D 4 3
C A Q 10 9 8 7 4
TableS A 10 9 4 3
H A J 8 7 3
D 10 9 6
C
Lead: H 10S J 8 7 6 2
H K 5
D J 5 2
C K J 5

West
3 C
All Pass
North
3 D
East
Pass
South
3 NT

Partner found a great lead in the H 10, ducked to the king; then South led a spade to the king and ace. Having no clubs, I returned the D 10 hoping it might hinder declarer’s communication, won by the queen. Declarer next cashed the S Q, revealing the bad break, and paused to consider his options. Eight tricks were easy, and a ninth might come from an endplay against me. It was apparent from the bidding and play that I held the H A and a club void.

Accordingly, declarer cashed two more diamonds ending in hand and won the S J. His plan was to exit with a spade, losing the last two spades and forcing me to give dummy the H Q and the last two diamonds. It was easy to see this coming, so I unblocked the S 9 under the jack in order to stick declarer back in his hand with the fifth spade. Declarer now had to lose the rest — down two.

Declarer’s plan was sound and would have succeeded if he hadn’t wasted the S 2. Everyone has heard the maxim, “Aces are meant to take kings,” but high cards do not rule the world. It could also be proffered that, “Deuces are meant to lose to threes.” Remember this deal the next time you routinely play a low card.

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© 2003 Richard Pavlicek