After a month-long hiatus from playing with one another, Yin and I reconvened to play this week and the results were sadly what has become typical for me of late. To say that my confidence is shaken would be a gross understatement.
It wasn’t entirely my doing (okay, so I doubled a 2♣ bid asking for the club lead that insured us a zero and later I misplayed a hand so that I couldn’t get to the good tricks on the board, but in my defense on that one I’d wager no one else in the room had to contend with repeated, pesky trump leads). We really did get unlucky on some hands, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our opponents got lucky, for example, finding a 4-3 major suit fit that broke well while others played in a “better” minor suit fit.
There was one slam that we stopped just short of and three tricks in I was convinced wasn’t making (or at least not easily) only to then discover that it was always making and my safety play to ensure that I made my five actually put us in danger of getting a zero because everyone was making six (while some of them were actually bidding it).
I was the dealer and my hand, white against red, was as follows:
The bidding went (with the opponent’s silent throughout):
*Meh (don’t like this bid, but what else am I going to do? I have values in the unbid suits, well sort of.)
**Knock, knock. Anybody Home? (And by the way, I’m worried about clubs.)
*****1 or 4 keycards: Seriously, go away.
******Fine, but I’m not happy (and I’m still worried about clubs.)
My LHO led the 8 of diamonds and considering Yin had bid them and I had cue-bid them, this lead screamed “Singleton!”
This is one of those hands that has a lot of options, several of which will result in our making six. There is a little bit of good/bad news, I’m convinced that the JTxx of diamonds are to my right so I do not think I can get two heart pitches on the diamond suit.
I win the diamond lead in my hand after my RHO plays the ten. I decide to see what is going on with the trumps, I figure I can pitch a heart on a club and on a diamond. On the first trump trick my RHO drops the ten which, under the circumstances, is good news. Another trump, and my RHO plays a small heart so now I’ve got reason to believe that the king of hearts is offside and that I need to worry about a diamond ruff if I switch to clubs. As far as I am concerned all of this is excellent news.
I’m thinking, Well judged, Yin. That singleton heart really was dubious with a trump holding of KQJ. I’m only in five so my only worry is a diamond ruff. I lead the jack of hearts, losing to the king and am shocked when my LHO leads a second diamond which brings down the proverbial house of cards because that means I would always have been able to get two heart pitches on the diamonds and so I was always going to make six. My “safety play” to make five had just risked all of the matchpoints. It was just that sort of a night.
In retrospect, I wish I had asked about the queen of trump. I don’t know if his one keycard is the king of trump or the ace of clubs (it’s possible he wouldn’t have wanted to go past game to cue-bid the latter, but he did know I was worried about clubs). And, yes, worst case scenario, I would find out that he has both the queen of trump and the king of diamonds (denying of course the king of clubs) and then I’m already one level too high, but that’s a pretty pessimistic view to take. Let’s face it, when the dummy hit I was convinced I had missed a pretty chilly slam, even with the (presumed) diamond break, and HCP-wise I was thinking slam as soon as he bid 2♦. Clearly others were not so reluctant as I.