Don’t Double The Magician!

One of the best hands I have ever played, happened on this Sunday, I played on a BBO star match with Sam Cohen against Jimmy Cayne and Dano Defalco. It was a pretty exciting match, very tight, and we were leading by 11 IMPs before the last bord, which means, that at this point they could only win the match with a positive swing, and everybody knew it:

South, all vulnerable:

The 2 weak two opening is questionable: the  quality is bad, we have an outside Ace, but with 6-4 in the minors, I decided to open it.

North's 2NT was at least game invitational relay for me, not having agreement with Sam to bid  this way, and when we landed in 3NTafter East's overcall. West decided to double the contract. Sam fortunately passed in normal tempo, and it was up to me to make this crucial decision. My point was, that 3NT will not be good a contract, because:

  • Partner didn't bid 3NT immediately to 2, so he may be gambling now
  • West seems to have ♠ tolerance and good , because he doubled 3NT, and it is easier to bid 3♠ with  shortness for East

Therefore the 3NT doubled is a pretty bad place to be. So, considering all this, I decided to bid 4♣, West doubled it, and later he also doubled 4. The opening lead was the  Q, I won it in my hand and started to put all the pieces together.

The solution

West will have probably either 2-3-4-4 or 3-2-4-4, having 3 and one  trick. Can there be anything done about this? The answer is yes, if we can end-play him to get back a  trick.

So I played small  to the Dummy's Queen, and seeing East's Jack, my plan started to be realizable:

I played ♣ Ace and King, I played ♠ Ace, ♠ ruff, I played ♣ Queen and I ruffed ♣9 in the dummy, I ruffed another ♠, which worked, and I was ready: I had already 9 tricks and I had  K97  and  4 in my hand, a 100 % trick: I played  4, and doesn't matter, who wins this trick, because West will take trick 11 in case of surcoup, giving me the King . At the table, West won trick 10, and was already end-played.

It is worth considering, that it looks like that West couldn't defeat the contract, winning the 1st  with the Ace, because doesn't matter, that he continues with  or club, we can establish , having 3 more entries to the dummy, and he could only take 2 and a  trick this way.

The complete deal looked like this:


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