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A Slim Chance

South Deals
N-S Vul
IMPs
From: OKbridge
A J 7 5 4 2
8 7 6 5 2
A 2
 
K Q
K Q J 9 3
8 3
K J 9 4
South West North East
1 Pass 6 ! All Pass

North's 6 bid was an aggressive tactical bid. There is a risk of missing a grand or going off in six, but the immediate bid has the advantage of muddying the defense.
For instance, here, by not showing his spades or his club shortness, our intrepid North has not made the killing diamond lead obvious to the defense.
Sadly, West finds the lead of the Q anyway. Is there any way to save this contract?
There is. If one defender started with a stiff A and exactly two spades, you have a chance:
A J 7 5 4 2
8 7 6 5 2
A 2
10 9
A
Q J 7 4
10 8 7 6 3 2
 
8 6 3
10 4
K 10 9 6 5
A Q 5
K Q
K Q J 9 3
8 3
K J 9 4
You win the diamond lead, play a spade to the king, overtake the spade queen with the ace, and play the J. East must follow, you pitch a diamond, and West can ruff with his natural trump trick.
This line also works anytime the person with the long spades has all three hearts.
It also works when East has two spade and all three hearts. In this instance, East must ruff low on the third spade, declarer overruffs, ruffs a club in dummy and plays another spade winner. Again, East must ruff low, and declarer overruffs, ruffs another club, and leads another spade winner. Whether East ruffs with the ace or not, declarer pitches his diamond loser.
The declarer I watched simply gave up after the opening lead, leading trumps immediately, praying, I suppose, that the opponents were too blind to take their diamond trick. The opponents, staring at dummy, could easily figure it out. As it was, the cards were not favorable, so declarer could not make his contract. That does not excuse declare from trying, however. The difference between making and down one was 22 imps.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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