The enemy bidding (or lack of bidding) sets their range of HCP's, and the alert player remembers this information during the play of the hand.
Related Play Problems Play Problem 47
Related Extracts from Past Wednesday Games
The play in Hearts is most interesting!
Club Two to the Ten and Declarerís Queen
Spade Ten to Westís Jack
A♥ is cashed
K♦ is cashed
A♣ is cashed
Club to the King, Declarer pitching a Spade
Heart to the King
With 4 cards left, and Declarer needing all the tricks, here is the end-position:
♠ Q ♠ A5
♥ ♥ T
♦ A2 ♦ 8
♣ T ♣
Looking at all 4 hands itís clear enough that Declarer makes the rest by leading the K♠, squashing Westís Queen. But will that be obvious to Declarer? Hereís what can be deduced:
- The A♠ is with East. West has already shown up with J♠, A♥, AK♦, AJ♣, thatís 17 HCPís. Surely West cannot also have the A♠, that would be too much.
- What is the enemy distribution? Thatís a bit harder to fathom than the missing high cards. Letís give West 5 Clubs (perhaps East would have supported with 4, perhaps his opening lead was 3rd best). Did West start out life as 4=1=3=5 or 3=1=4=5? It wonít be obvious!
Anyway, full marks if you realized that the A♠ had to be with East, and bad luck if you misguessed the distribution.
South might well have passed 1♠, but her actual choice of 1NT worked better, pushing West one level too high (and perhaps North should have doubled 2♠!). Just making 7 tricks requires some detective work by Declarer:
Club to the Ace
Heart to Northís Jack
Heart to the Ace
Club (in case a trump promotion is required), ruffed by the Queen and overruffed
K♠ is cashed
T♠ to Northís Jack
Now, Declarer plays a low Diamond towards the board, North casually playing low. Can Declarer guess the Diamond situation? He should! By now, South (who passed originally) will have shown up with Q♠, Q♥ and A♣. Surely there is no room in her hand for the A♦, so Dummyís K♦ wins the tricks and itís down only one.
Perhaps it was a bit feeble for East to sell out to 2♥, but it turns out to be the right decision on the actual board. If West plays in 3♦ it will be -200 thanks to the unlucky Diamond situation. As for North playing in 2♥, she, of course, has a most fortunate Diamond situation and that allows 9 tricks to be made, possibly without the need to guess the Club Queen. For example:
T♦ lead to Westís Ace
Heart to Eastís Ace
Heart to Southís Queen
K♦ pitching a Club
Cash A♣, K♣, and ruff a Club
Of course, East might find the fine opening lead of a low trump, after which Dummyís trumps will be extracted before the Club ruff can be taken. So now, Declarer will have to guess the location of the Q♣. Will she? Probably, by the time that the moment of truth arrives she should be able to figure out that West needs that Q♣ for his opening bid.
4♠ is a fine contract. There are two Aces to be lost and the real question is whether or not Declarer can muster up 11 tricks. Two lines present themselves:
- Set up the Diamonds Ö this will require 3-3 Diamonds or doubleton Jack and trumps 2-2, more adverse splits will be impossible to handle.
- Try two ruffing finesses in Clubs, making 11 tricks when West has both the Ace and the Queen.
If there was any doubt as to the better line that disappears the moment West leads a low Heart, to Eastís Jack and Declarerís Queen. Now, East is marked with the A♥ and J♥, which leaves just 12 enemy points unaccounted for Ö surely West needs them to justify the opening bid and will hold ♣AQ. So, Declarer wins the Q♥, leads the K♣ covered by the Ace and ruffed, crosses back on a trump and takes another Club ruffing finesse, for 11 tricks.
Against 3♠, South will probably lead a Club, which is not as bad for the defense as it looks, itís merely one less Club to be ruffed on the board. The play might go as follows:
Club to Declarerís Jack
Spade to the King
Q♠ won by Northís Ace
Declarer will make his contract if he guesses the Hearts correctly, and he surely should if he reflects upon the bidding and the play:
- South made a Takeout Double
- North has show up with the A♠
- Southís opening lead surely means that she does not have both the A♦ and Q♦.
The indications are that South has the A♥, without that card her Takeout Double would have been made with 8 or 9 HCPís. Making 9 tricks thanks to a little counting.
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