Source: Justin Lall

Playing matchpoints you pick up  A Q 9 2 A T 6 3 J 5 2 8 7.

Starting on your right it goes (1) X (1N) 2(3N) all pass. Your double was a little aggressive, but it is matchpoints.

Partner leads the 2 and dummy is:

J 4 3
J 7
A Q
A K Q 10 9 4 2

How do you defend?

Justin Lall
Justin Lall

We know a lot about the hand. Partner for sure either has the king of queen of hearts, and for sure has another card (either the other heart, theK, or theK). If partner has theK we need to shift to spades and set them. If partner has theK, continuing hearts will hold them to 9 tricks and shifting to spades will let them make 9 or 10 tricks (possibly 11 if they have KTx of spades and then hook diamonds).

The best play is cashing the spade ace. You cater to partner having theK, and break even when partner has the KQ of hearts (he will discourage spades), or theK, 4 spades, andK. Also, declarer may not hook the diamond for the tenth trick even if they should when partner has theQ and10, so we will break even then.

The big thing to consider is that everyone may not be in 3N, so holding them to 9 is probably a losing proposition anyways. This hand becomes much more like an imp hand where beating them is the number one priority.

On the actual deal the SA shift was the big winner, but was not found at the table.