From 26th July, 2006, Board 1
Difficulty * * *
Dlr West None Vul Hands Rotated
Partner’s 2♣ was Drury, showing some values and a Heart fit.
West leads the 5♣, and, when Dummy goes down, you can see that you are in overtrick mode, unless there is atrocious distribution. But, hey, those overtricks are vital at matchpoints, how do you maximize your chances for that 11th trick? Or 12th trick?
This hand become quite simple as soon as we recognize these basic facts:
(a) Sooner or later, there is a Spade finesse which must be taken;
(b) If the Spade finesse loses we’ll need a Spade ruff on the board;
(c) If the Spade finesse wins, we’d love to get two Spade ruffs on the board.
Clearly, we must play on Spades immediately, before drawing trumps. Win the K♣, and advance the Q♠, covered by the King and won by the Ace. Well, that certainly clarifies things! Now, we need two ruffs in Dummy to capitalize on our good fortune in the Spade suit.
This is the recommended sequence of plays, starting from Trick One with a Club lead:
- Win the K♣
- Q♠, covered by the King, and won by the Ace
- Spade to the Jack
- Spade, ruffed with Dummy's Nine
- Finesse the Diamond Queen
- Another Spade, ruffed with Dummy's Jack
- A♣, pitching a Diamond
- Then, play on trumps.
Yes, with everything working, and with careful play, 12 tricks are there for the taking.
Note the importance of delaying the cashing of the A♣, which must be done after the Diamond finesse, the point being that we don’t know what to pitch on the A♣ until we know whether the Diamond finesse is working. If the Diamond finesse had lost, and the defense had then played two rounds of trumps, we would win the second round on the board, cash the A♣ (pitching a Spade this time), then finesse against the J♦.
Keys to Success
- Taking the Spade finesse right away
- Going after Spade ruffs on the board
- Not cashing the A♣ until after the Diamond situation was clarified.
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