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A Quiet Two Diamonds
(Page of 4)

Watching the Semi-finals this morning, this quiet part-score hand really appealed to me.  Gavin Wolpert played in two diamonds, with no opposing bidding.   Look at it from Gavin's perspective (I rotated the hand to make South the declarer):

West
North
109865
AKJ85
109
3
East
South
A
43
AJ7643
K642
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
9
Q
A
3
1
0
3
5
10
2
1
2
0
2

Nunes, to his left, led the trump two, to the nine, queen, and his ace.  He returned a trump, dummy winning the ten as righty showed out, discarding the spade two.  Now what?

Eight tricks are easy if the club ace is onside, but clubs can wait.  A better plan is to start eliminating spades.  Spade to the ace, heart to dummy, spade ruff, heart, spade ruff, and then exit in trumps.  Perhaps the full hand will look like this:

West
K74
107
K852
AQJ8
North
109865
AKJ85
109
3
East
QJ32
Q962
Q
10975
South
A
43
AJ7643
K642
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
9
Q
A
3
1
0
3
5
10
2
1
2
0
5
3
A
4
3
3
0
3
7
A
2
1
4
0
6
J
4
K
3
5
0
4
10
K
6
1
6
0
8
Q
6
7
3
7
0
7
8

This line looks like it will endplay West unless West can lead a small heart to partner's queen.  Then, you will need the club ace onside.

At the table, Wolpert played a spade to hand, heart to dummy, spade ruff, heart.  Unfortunately, hearts were 1-5, and Nunes trumped this, and cashed the diamond.  However, Fantoni had no entry in spades, so the hand was still cold:

West
KQJ7
10
K852
AQJ8
North
109865
AKJ85
109
3
East
432
Q9762
Q
10975
South
A
43
AJ7643
K642
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
9
Q
A
3
1
0
3
5
10
2
1
2
0
5
3
A
7
3
3
0
3
10
A
7
1
4
0
6
4
3
J
3
5
0
4
8
6

as declarer would just throw two clubs on the good spades. 

Well played.  This hand was played in diamonds in many matches, and only Wolpert took eight tricks.  

Let's back this up a bit.  What would happen, at trick two, had Nunes risen with the trump king, and exited a heart? 

West
KQJ7
10
K852
AQJ8
North
109865
AKJ85
109
3
East
432
Q9762
Q
10975
South
A
43
AJ7643
K642
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
9
Q
A
3
1
0
3
K
10
2
0
1
1
10
A
7
3
1
2
1
5
3
A
7
3
3
1
J
5
5
4
3
4
1
4
8
6

Now West has plenty of spade exits.  The hand could still be made, double-dummy, but only by avoiding a second heart play.  In practice, this defense would have set the contract.  

So, the defense should prevail?

Back it up even further.  The contract is in no danger unless trumps are 4-1.  So, perhaps declarer should prepare to eliminate spades immediately.  Had declarer cashed the spade ace at trick two, and then led a diamond, there would have been no hope for the defense. Playing the spade ace early would also be crucial on more mundane layouts, like the hand on top of page 2. 

By the way, how should the West hand be bid after a third seat one diamond opening?  I have no idea!  Most players passed.  One tried 1NT and two overcalled one spade.

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