03 November 2011

The power of 9xx

Lets play a little game. I'll start describing a hand and you tell me when you work out why 9xx is critical. Here's the full deal:

Q 9 2
Q 7 2
A K 8 7 5 4
K T 6 4
7 4 3 2
Q J 3
A Q T 8 6
8 4 3
9 x x
8 7 6 3
K 9 5
A K 9 6 5

I opened a marginal 1 as South to which partner responded 2, GF. Ouch.

I have to rebid 2 and on hearing 3 I turn green and bid 3NT hoping partner holds 15 highs. Not this time.

Seen it yet?

West led the 6 (3rds & 5ths), East won the Jack and cashed the Ace.

Three to the nine, what could it possibly be good for?

East thought for some time before cashing the A. Thinking some more he persisted with the Q.

I'm sure I had a hand with nine third in all four suits once.

Not feeling under any pressure to start winning tricks I ducked the Q and prayed that East would continue.

Would a switch to 9xx be better?

East did continue so pitching a club off the table I ran the diamond suit.

Here's the position with two diamonds to go:

A K 8 7
Q J 3
T 8
9 x x
8 7
9 6

On the penultimate diamond East failed to recognise the quality inherent in his club holding and let go the smallest. Sadly for West that meant that the very next diamond effected a spade/club squeeze and I had my nine tricks.

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