Louie's Losing Play

“I got a letter from Publishers Clearing House,” Unlucky Louie told me in the club lounge.
“You won $5 million?” I asked.
“The letter said I may already be a loser,” Louie sighed.

Dlr: South ♠ 8 4
Vul: N-S 7 4 3 2
♣ A K 7 4 3 2
♠Q 10 7 6 ♠ K J
J 9 8 Q 10 6
J 10 9 8 2 Q 6 5 4
♣ 5 ♣ J 10 9 8
♠ A 9 5 3 2
A K 5
A 7 3
♣ Q 6
South West North East
1♠ Pass 2♣ Pass
3NT All Pass

Opening lead — J
Louie consistently finds losing plays because he proceeds without thinking. He was declarer at today’s 3NT, and West led the J to dummy’s king. Louie saw 11 tricks with a normal 3-2 club break, so he promptly led a club to his queen and returned a second club.

Eight Tricks

Alas, West discarded a heart. Louie could set up the long clubs but couldn’t get back to dummy to cash them. He took eight tricks.
Louie’s play was a loser — in theory as well as in practice. If the clubs break badly, Louie’s ninth trick must come from hearts, but the only entry to the 13th heart is in clubs. After Louie wins the first trick, he should lead the A-K and a third heart. The 3-3 break sees him home. If the hearts didn’t break well, Louie would still make 3NT if the clubs came in.

Daily Question

You hold:
♠A 9 5 3 2
A K 5
A 7 3
♣Q 6
Your partner opens 1♣, you respond 1♠ and he rebids 2♣. What do you say?

Plenty of minimum hands for partner will make 6♣ a good contract. He might hold:
♠ 4
Q 3 2
K J 8
♣A K 10 8 4 2
One approach is to temporize with a forcing bid of 2, hoping to get more information. An option is to bid 6♣ directly. Nothing is wrong with “bashing”: bidding what you think you can make.

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