From 19th March, 2008, Board 13
Themes Combining Chances
Dlr North Both Vul
West leads the ♦K and when Dummy goes down you can see that the partnership has got to an aggressive game that needs some luck. Clubs will need to be brought in, and if Diamonds are not 4-4 then the opponent who wins the Club trick will have to be the one with the short Diamonds. All being well, that will get you up to 8 tricks. So, the questions to be asked are:
(a) How do you play the Clubs?
(b) Where do you go for your 9th trick?
Declarer ducks the first two rounds of Diamonds. After winning the third round of Diamonds how should Declarer play the Clubs? The percentage play is to finesse twice, that’s a 76% chance of success, compared with 66% for cashing the Ace first, and 70% for finessing once and then cashing the Ace. So, Declarer runs the ♣J, losing to the Queen. West cashes the last Diamond, East following, and then exits a Club to East’s King and Declarer’s Ace.
Where should Declarer look for the 9th trick. He could take the Heart finesse or the Spade finesse, of course, but the correct play, the one that combines chances in both suits, is to cash ♥A and ♥K, hoping for the doubleton ♥Q. It that fails then Declarer can still fall back on the Spade finesse for the 9th trick.
Here is the layout that Declarer is catering for:
Keys for Success
- Ducking two rounds of Diamonds in case the suit was 5-3 (not necessary as the cards lay)
- Combining chances in Spades and Hearts
Post Script (a Deceptive Defense)
Note West’s thoughtful
opening lead of the K♦. The bidding had
marked Declarer with a singleton and West was catering for the
possibility that it was the singleton Queen. West could have been even
more thoughtful and, when in with the Q♣, he could have refrained from
cashing the last Diamond! Instead, if West exits with a Club, who could
blame Declarer from placing West with only three Diamonds. In that
case, the obvious play for the contract is to finesse Hearts into the
“safe” West hand. Imagine Declarer’s chagrin to find out that he has
been hoodwinked and that West had another Diamond after all!
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