Paul Bethe

Nice technique pard

Dealer: N

Vul: All

West East
A9873 Q62
T83 A765
T8 432
972 KQ5

On the given deal, from the first day of the Silodor Open Chairs in Reno, the field was in 3N by N.   Deep Finesse tells us that NS can make only 8 tricks.  However, that assumes the perfect lead of the Q.  The more normal lead of a fourth best heart happened at many tables, including mine.  My partner took the Ten with his King, and continued the 9, which was ducked.

I won’t tell names, but at least one World champion declarer now tried to play on clubs, and now went down when the Q of spades switch was found.

My partner observed the diamond 7 in dummy, and noticed that doubleton T8 in either hand would preclude having to play on clubs.  So he cashed the diamond Queen, and continued with the 9 to dummy’s Ace.  Technique was rewarded when West delivered.

The heart Ace was driven out, pitching a spade.  Now when the opponents switched to spades, we were scoring up 10 tricks, using the diamond 7 as an entry to dummy’s good heart.

Note that West might have tried to guile declarer by dropping the Ten of diamonds, offering the losing option of a restricted choice finesse of the 7 of diamonds.  However, on this hand, declarer should reject this.  If East has 8432 of diamonds, he can fly 8 on the second round to quash the entry, and thus declarer should stick to the legitimate plan of T8.


Richard PavlicekApril 1st, 2010 at 12:51 am

Another interesting deal, though North erred in pitching a spade on the

third heart (club pitch is a lock) as a club shift leaves him with only eight

tricks. If West held CKQ, he would have to guess spades to survive, and

there may have been no guess with AQ East.

Also, 2nd paragraph: Attacking clubs is definitely wrong as you say, but

winning the SK is 9 tricks.

Paul BetheApril 1st, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Hi Richard,

You are absolutely right about 9 tricks… maybe the story I heard had the declarer playing clubs at trick 2 instead of continuing the heart 9? (although that seems strange)

And yes – I see your point about a club shift.


Paul BetheApril 1st, 2010 at 4:32 pm

OK – I have the story.

After 2 hearts were ducked, the declarer played a club towards dummy, maybe hoping for Hx with East. At that table, East flew King, and returned the Queen of spades. Declarer, at matchpoints, played for the overtrick by finessing in clubs, only to go down 3.

Richard PavlicekApril 1st, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Ah, the price of greed. 🙂 Or leading the wrong black four from hand.

Another interesting aspect (on your partner’s line) is if the D10 did not

drop on the 2nd round. Ask him if he would have led a third heart then?

If so a rattlesnake (diamond back) leaves him in dire straits. If instead

he would run the SJ, you’ve got a keeper.

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