Rebecca Rood here again.....the blog's now world famous Agony Aunt...... at your beck and call to put you right on some of your gaffes at the bridge table , and in no uncertain terms I might add. I call a spade a spade, and a dimwit a complete buffoon.
So if you have dropped a clanger be bold.....tell the world....and then you can rid yourself of the demons of shame and guilt, to stand tall and upright once again, and start the game afresh. Indeed, you only have to read my latest correspondence to see what I mean. Here we have an ordinary....... a very ordinary player by the sounds of it....who wrote to me bemoaning her fate, when she went off in a rigid, you could throw-it-at-the-wall, rock-solid, ice-cold, routine bog standard contract, even my 6 year old daughter could have made.
I cannot for the life of me figure out where I went wrong. I thought at the time my logic and reasoning were perfectly sound, and that I was the victim of an astute defender's very clever and deceptive trap. The hand in question is as follows :
North : K954....Q875......KQ......AQ5
South : AQ2.....J9632.....63....1082
West : J86....A10....J10954 .....K93
East : 1073....K4.....A872.....J764
The uncontested auction went : 1C ( prepared )- 1H-3H-4H
Personally, I didn't like his 3H bid one bit, for I would have preferred a 2H response on such a motley 16 count. Naturally I went to game not one for declining an invitation . West led a diamond which East won with the Ace. Continuing with diamonds I took the trick in dummy to consider the best way of playing the trump suit. So I lead the queen of hearts from dummy, feeling incredibly smug when the King appeared on my right, with the stiff Ace falling on my left ? West then retuned a club, which I could afford to duck, and so I wasn't too upset when I lost the trick to East's jack. Again East switched, but this time to a spade, which I elected to win in dummy with the King for the marked heart finesse. Oops....my nine lost to West's 10 and the contract was 1 off.
Was my play really that bad, or was I outsmarted by a superior player ? I welcome with some trepidation your comments.
Yours Still Very Perplexed
That was a truly harrowing tale. As clangers go this one belongs in the Hall of shame, with 10 tricks there for the taking ( 3H,4S, 1D and 2C ).
Firstly, let us consider the bidding, and I must agree with you, North might have been wiser to bid a conservative 2H, but what staggers me is your stretch to game.......which in my opinion showed an unjustifiable faith in your ability to play the cards.
As for the play, then running the heart queen from dummy only works if you trap the singleton 10. What you needed to guard against was a singleton King or Ace, which was twice as likely. Therefore, the correct line is to lead low to the 8 or 9. The contract was clearly a poor one, but once you were given an opportunity to make 11 tricks, your 9 trick haul quite rightly exposed you as a fool.
For pity's sake, did you not notice the complete absence of any sign of annoyance from West when he won with the heart Ace ? You showed about as much table presence as an oversized cabbage. Moreover, it was patently obvious that the finesse of the club queen was always a requirement for the contract to make. So why not play the jack of hearts and let the defence take their trump trick.
West deserves some credit, because he knew the club finesse was on, as well as the 3-3 spade break. But you needed to kep your eye on the ball. Why not join all those other players who only faced 2 heart losers and 1 diamond loser.
I despair at your gullibility and incompetence. Yours Thoroughly Rood.
ps. I would recommend you to read my latest book entitled " Hoisted on your own petard is what comes of being too clever ".