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Mirror, Mirror

West Deals
None Vul
J 8 7
5 4 2
A J 2
A K 10 8
9 6 2
A Q 6
10 7 5
J 7 5 3
West North East South
1 Pass 1 NT Pass
Pass Dbl Pass 2
Pass Pass Dbl All Pass

West led the J against this contract, and declarer won the Q. Declarer cashed the A-K, and East's Q fell, so declarer finished pulling trumps with the J. That was fortunate.
It looks like declarer must lose a heart, three spades, and likely two diamonds. Declarer, however, found another way. He cashed the A and exited a heart. The opponents could take their major tricks, arriving at this position:
A J 2
10 7 5
With the defenders on lead, it is difficult to keep declarer from scoring three of the last four tricks. If they lead diamonds, declarer can assure himself only one diamond loser, and if they lead a major, declarer can pitch a diamond from one hand while ruffing the other in dummy.
The defense can avoid this only if East has both diamond honors and West leads diamonds twice before he is out of entries in the majors.
This is a perfect example of how to play "mirror distributions." Since the shapes of the North and South hands are exactly the same, declarer has no way to score his last two trumps seperately. The answer in this sort of hand is to engineer a throw-in.
<< The Only Chance
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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