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A mildly interesting deal (NY winter regional)
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West
J
KQ109742
KQ1072
North
852
AJ3
J4
A9863
East
K96
8
AK987632
J
South
AQ10743
65
Q105
54
D

This hand was board 19 of the second qualifying session of the NYC winter regional's two-day Truscott Board-a-Match. Take a look at the deal and plan the play in a diamond contract to achieve the maximum double-dummy number of tricks.

West
J
KQ109742
KQ1072
North
852
AJ3
J4
A9863
East
K96
8
AK987632
J
South
AQ10743
65
Q105
54
D

Got an idea of what the max result is? Would it change your answer to learn that the highest makeable diamond contract is 1? If it does, take another look and try to spot the path to making 1.

West
J
KQ109742
KQ1072
North
852
AJ3
J4
A9863
East
K96
8
AK987632
J
South
AQ10743
65
Q105
54
D

Let's see...South starts a round suit, North wins and plays a to the queen, South plays the other round suit, North plays a  to the ten, South cashes the A and plays a fourth for North to ruff with the J. The defense takes three , two round-suit aces and two trump tricks for down 1.

Having seen that play out, you've got one last chance to spot the path to par in diamonds if you haven't already!

West
J
KQ109742
KQ1072
North
852
AJ3
J4
A9863
East
K96
8
AK987632
J
South
AQ10743
65
Q105
54
D

The only makeable contract is 1 *by South.* West either has to lead a round suit to one of North's aces or the J into South's suit to allow the play to go along the same lines that work against 1 by East. If North plays it, East can defeat the contract by starting with the AK to prevent the uppercut.

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