In December it was nice to get away to Phoenix for the Nationals, not just for bridge but as a family get-together with our son Rich (now living in San Mateo, CA). On this deal from the finals of the Reisinger Teams, I was West and Rich was East (thats strange since I live in the East, and Rich in the West, but maybe it gave us an edge by confusing our opponents).
My jump raise to 3 was weak (inverted minors) though ineffectual as our opponents easily reached the normal game in hearts. I led the 3 (lowest from an odd number) to the queen and ace, and declarer considered his options.
Tempted by the chance of a quick discard, declarer immediately led three rounds of spades, pitching the J as I ruffed with the 5. It was obvious we had no diamond trick coming, so I shifted to a club, ducked to the queen. Rich next led his last spade (a slight error as declarer could succeed at double-dummy, while a club return would seal his fate) forcing South to ruff high; then the J was finessed to lead a heart to the queen, dropping my jack. Rich now had to make a second trump trick with his nine; down one.
Declarer was enamored by the discard opportunity and in pursuing it opened a floodgate for his own demise. Since a 3-3 spade break is against the odds, proper technique is to resign yourself to a diamond loser: Win the second diamond (holding up is slightly better); finesse clubs twice, and use dummys entries to lead toward the K-Q twice. Only a heart, diamond and club need be lost.
© 2002 Richard Pavlicek