<< A Subtle Pinch Interesting Bridge Hands Which Finesse? >>

Trading Options

East Deals
N-S Vul
Matchpoints
From: OKbridge
J 9 6
A 9 6
K 10 7
A K 7 5
Q 7 2
J 8 5
Q J 5 3
10 4 3
 
A 10 8 5 3
10
8 2
Q J 9 6 2
K 4
K Q 7 4 3 2
A 9 6 4
8

Some pairs managed to bid these hands up to 6 , but the pair I watched had an auction that got them to 5 .
West led a spade. East played the ace and switched to a diamond.
Declarer won the A, drew trumps, cashed the A-K pitching a diamond, and ruffed a club. After cashing the K, declarer then ran his remaining trumps, to this position:
J
K 10
Q
Q J
 
10 8 5
4
9 6
West is squeezed on the last heart.
By playing the A, East rectified the count for declarer, as well as ensuring that his partner had the only spade guard.
But if East plays the 10 on the first trick, declarer could cash the top clubs, pitching his spade loser, then cash the trump king, followed by three rounds of diamonds. Whatever West does, he can't keep declarer from ruffing the fourth diamond in dummy, making 6.
But that is not necessarily the best play - it might be right for declarer to play two rounds of trumps before conceding the diamond - in fact, I think that is technically the right play, because it makes the contract whenever the hearts are split 2-2 or diamonds are split 3-3, but also when the diamonds are 4-2 and the doubleton includes an honor. This better line fails here, with West winning the third diamond and continuing a trump. Declarer cannot now ruff the last diamond in dummy.
So East's blind play of the A left declarer only one rather low-probability chance to make the contract, and it worked. The play of the 10 on the first trick would give declarer some options, with only the lower-percentage option working.
Not that I think I would have played the East hand differently - I don't think I could have found this duck.
Here are the results on this board:
(1-6)    6H     N    +6   1430        90.00%
(7)      6S-X   W    -6   1400        76.00%
(8-9)    4H     N    +7    710        70.00%
(10)     4H     N    +6    680        64.00%
(11)     3NT    S    +5    660        60.00%
(12-19)  4H     N    +5    650        40.00%
(20)     5H     N    +5    650        40.00%
(21-22)  4H     N    +4    620        18.00%
(23-26)  6H     N    -1   -100         6.00%
<< A Subtle Pinch
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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