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Worth the Effort

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

North was a little light for his 2 NT rebid, which usually shows at least 17-18. Still, I sympathize somewhat. He does not have enough to reverse to 2 , and a 2 bid sounds weak. 2 and 2 are unpleasant options.
West led the K, East overtook with the ace and continued with the J. This held, and East shifted to a low spade. West won the ace and continued the spade.
The contract is in the bag, and you don't want to waste too much time hunting for an overtrick at imps. If hearts are 3-3, you have an overtrick, but what if hearts are 4-2? If West holds the length with his presumed Q, you can squeeze him.
So you win the spade, and run two more spades, pitching a club, then you run three diamond tricks, pitching a heart, to this end position:
A K Q 8
 
10 2
10 7
West can no longer hold four hearts and the Q.
While this squeeze is inconsequential - the overtrick amounts to only half an imp here - it is such a basic squeeze that it should be found. This is like failing to take a risk-free finesse for an overtrick, and it requires only slight timing considerations - namely, taking the spades before the diamonds, so that you end up in your hand at the four-card end position above.
Here is the complete deal:
Q 9 8 2
A K Q 8 4
K Q
6 2
A 6
J 9 7 6
9 6 4
K Q 9 8
 
7 5 4 3
5 3
8 7 5 3 2
A J
K J 10
10 2
A J 10
10 7 5 4 3
Those Wests who found a low club lead set this contract - East wins the first two clubs, then shifts to a spade, and West cashes out, for down 1.
<< Safer Than Sorry
Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 1995-2009.
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