6-5, Come Alive

Lunch time bridge with Stu Goodgold, Grant Robinson, and Jeff Berger.
Monday, September 23, 1991

Red vs white, you're Dealer, looking at    98743
Wanting to play with these guys again,     -
I don't open the hand.  I passed,          J2
LHO (Stu) also passes, your partner
Grant opens 1 diamond, and RHO (Jeff) leaps to 3 clubs.  I decided I had to
start bidding this hand sometime and I had better start now.  What do I bid?
Negative double? (This was Frank's choice)  I didn't think partner would work
this out.

4 clubs?  I certainly have the shape for it, but the disparity in the
major suits is too great.  My spades looks like a four card suit.
Partner with Q10x of spades and Kx of hearts will bid 4 spades.
I'd rather be in 4 hearts.

I finally chose 3 hearts, expecting partner to bid 3 spades if he has four,
in which case I'll gladly raise to four.  Else he can bid 3 no trump, in
which case I'll take it out to 4 hearts, giving up on the spade suit.

The complete auction was      You   Stu   Grant   Jeff
                              ---   ---   -----   ----
                               P     P     1D      3C
                               3H    P(!)  4H(?)   P
                               P     5C    5H      P
                               P     P
      QT98            Stu deserves a black mark for passing my 3 hearts.
      KTxx            If he's going to bid 5 clubs, he should do it immediately.
      7               Grant should cuebid 4 clubs agreeing hearts and suggesting
QT52        -         slam by showing his stiff.  After my 3-level vulnerable
K           xx        overcall, I could easily have enough for 6 hearts.
Qxxx        AJxxx     Grant's stiff club and a try for slam could be all I
Kxxx        AQxxxx    needed to know to bid it.  On this hand, I don't really
      98743           want to be in 6, but I might have had more than 6 HCP on
      AJ7642          this auction.

Anyway, you're in 5 only hearts.  Stu starts with a low club to Jeff's
ace, and Jeff continues with another club to my jack and Stu's king
for dummy to ruff.  I lead the queen of hearts from dummy and rise
with my ace to drop Stu's stiff king!  Since that worked out so well,
I played a spade to the Ace, righty showing out.  My spade spots were
so good that I was able to ruff two diamonds and finesse Stu out of both
his Q10.  Stu didn't initially see that I could do this and questioned
it when I said that's what I was going to do, but he saw it soon enough.
Also, when I led a low diamond from dummy, Grant said, "Oh, you have
some diamonds to lose, huh?"  I said, "No, I don't have any diamond
losers." as Jeff played his ace and I ruffed.  It didn't matter,
though, the hand was over.  Making 6.

  Why did I play the ace of hearts?  I figured that RHO couldn't know
I had 6 hearts, not 5, and since he couldn't see the jack of hearts, he
wouldn't know if his partner had Jx.  On this hand, I was spectacularly
right, but I wonder.  Would declarer be so eager to play the queen from
dummy in a 5-3 fit?  Wouldn't a low heart to the ace and another toward
dummy's queen be the more likely line if he were missing the KJ?
Especially since RHO was the one that preempted.  Chances are that
LHO has KJx.  So if RHO was looking at Kx, he should know that either
it doesn't matter (declarer has the jack and is going to do whatever
he's going to do.  If he finesses, good for him.  If not, your king
scores.) or declarer is just baiting you, hoping you'll cover if you
have the king.  He isn't really going to finesse.  Either way, RHO
should duck.  Interesting that you should always duck unless it's the
one case where declarer, for whatever reason, is taking a peculiar
line with Q109(8) opposite Axxxx.  Unlikely on this hand.