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Enigmatic variations (Le Bridgeur Magazine n°890 – January 2015)

jerome750_en

Article written by Jérôme Rombaut and published in the French magazine Le Bridgeur n° 890 on 15 January 2015.

The following deal from the Team DN2 is so nice that it would have deserved to be played on Funbridge and it cost me promotion to DN1! (DN1 stands for “National Division 1” and DN2 stands for “National Division 2”)

Here is my hand in South: ♠ 10 5 ♥ – ♦ A K 10 8 7 6 5 4 ♣ A J 3.

My LHO opens 1♥ and my RHO bids 2♥. I jump to 5♦ and the auction stops there. West leads the heart ace (7 in East) and my partner, Wilfried Libbrecht, spreads his hand:

S K Q J 8
H Q J 10 4
D 3
C Q 9 7 2

NSEO_en

S 10 5
H –
D A K 10 8 7 6 5 4
C A J 3

You start by playing the diamond ace and East follows with the queen. What to do next?

First notice that if there is a trump to lose, the club king must be well placed and the spade ace must be in West. Otherwise East will take the second spade and will play clubs, leaving you behind. If you bank on a 3-5-3-2 distribution in West, you can play a spade to the jack, a club to the jack, club ace (elimination) and spades. West in the lead with the ace can return neither spades nor diamonds (in the tenace), so he has to play a ruffed heart. But you respond with diamond ace and diamonds, locking opener in his hand for good and obliging him to give away a major trick to dummy. Please note that this line works just as well if West holds a 3-5-2-3 hand: West will be able to return a club to his partner’s king but the trumps split 2-2 will help you reach 11 tricks.

For the sake of completeness, let’s examine the less frequent case when West holds a 2-5-3-3 hand. Are you going to win if you proceed as recommended? Well, no! In this case, when you will play spades, West will hurry up to play his ace to return spades (he will then be able to ruff the third spade and end up in a red suit, locking you in your hand). When West has a 2-5-3-3 hand, the best play is to continue with diamond king and diamonds. Let’s take two examples: West holds 1064 (case #1) and West holds 864 (case #2). In case #1, West is done. If he returns a low club, the 9 will do the job. But if he returns a low spade, you must play the club queen covered by the king taken by the ace, and then run all your trumps, squeezing West (throw-in squeeze) in the black suits. In case #2, West holds his fate in his hands. If he returns a low club, you win by asking dummy to play the seven. But if he returns a low spade, you are left with no resources (because this time, when trumps are run, West will be able to keep only one club and his major honours safe). You should remember that statistically, it is better to play spades at the third trick.

Here are the four hands:

S K Q J 8
H Q J 10 4
D 3
C Q 9 7 2
S A 4 2
H A K 8 6 5
D J 9 2
C 8 4
NSEO_enS  9 7 6 3
H 9 7 3 2
D Q
C K 10 6 5
S 10 5
H –
D A K 10 8 7 6 5 4
C A J 3

 

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Sun14
Sun14

The West hand is incorrect. It should be Ace, King 8, 6, 5 not Queen, King… as North as the Queen of Hearts.

Bernice Jackson
Bernice Jackson

I cannot get any more games from you, Would you please set me up for more games
thank you Bernice Jackson

I cannot get any more games from FunBridge.
would you please set me up?