Problem # 222  

 

                                          From                   19th March, 2008, Board 13

                                          Themes               Combining Chances

                                                                      Deceptive Defense

                                          Dlr North            Both Vul

 

♠ 2
KJ94
A854
♣ J982

 

 
        Dummy

West             East

       Declarer

North   East     South   West

            Pass    1♣       Pass

1        Pass    1♠        Pass

3♣       Pass    3NT     Pass

Pass    Pass

♠ AQ96
AT2
3
♣ AT765

 

        

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?

 

SOLUTION

 

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:

 

 

♠ 2
KJ94
A854
♣ J982

 

♠ K7543 
Q8
 KJT7
♣ Q3

       Dummy

West             East

        Declarer

♠ JT8
7653
Q962
♣ K4

 

♠ AQ96
AT2
3
♣ AT765

 

 

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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