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Return to sender (Le Bridgeur Magazine No. 910)

Article written by Jérôme Rombaut and published in the french magazine Le Bridgeur No.910 (July/August 2017)

Jérôme Rombaut plays a deal from the quarter final of the 8th European Open Championships held in 2017 in Montecatini, Italy.

I am playing 3NT in South with these hands:

S A 5 2
H A 9 3
D 8 6 5 4 3 2
C 2
S K 9 3
H K 6
D A Q 9
C A J 8 4 3

 
La séquence d’enchères :

South N

 
As we are playing weak NT, the  rebid shows 17-18 points.

The opponent leads 4th best with the spade 6. On this deal, the difficulty lies in managing to establish the diamonds. You should normally finesse the King. But in a teams match, especially with 9 cards, you must avoid losing the stiff King stupidly afterwards. So you have to find the right line of play to play the diamond Ace before finessing the Queen and then, if nothing happens, to be able to get over to dummy to play a small diamond to the Queen to establish the suit. Have you found the solution?

It is a nice one. Take the lead with the spade King, play the diamond Ace and get over to dummy to play the spade Ace by establishing opponent’s spades! Then you will be able to return diamonds without losing your heart Ace since you also control the suit with your King.

Returning opponent’s suit may seem dangerous but in reality, in the worst-case scenario, he will only take 3 spade tricks (the lead shows at most five spades in West) and one diamond trick (you would lose two diamonds only with King-Jack-third afterwards and you would be doomed anyway with spades split 5-2).

The full hand was:

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