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Alternative Universe
(Page of 9)

In a recent Board-a-Match tournament, the following events took place (Click NEXT to follow the play)

West
A63
96
J86
J10752
North
9742
J75
KQ7
Q43
East
Q108
1032
A1092
A86
South
KJ5
AKQ84
543
K9
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P
D
5
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
3
6
K
3
1
0
A
6
5
2
3
2
0
K
9
7
3
3
3
0
4
3
J
10
1
4
0
2
8
J
A
0
4
1
10
Q
A
9
2
4
2
10
3
6
K
1
5
2
4
8
8
2
3
6
2
Q
5
4
2
3
7
2
K
6
7
Q
3
8
2
5
7
9
10
2
8
3
9 tricks claimed
N/S +140
11

The hypothetical bulletin article read

"South got to 2.....in the end position,managed to end-play East into leading away from theA for nine tricks ".

End of story?

North
9742
J75
KQ7
Q43
South
KJ5
AKQ84
543
K9
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

Declarer planned his play on theJ lead.

What were his thoughts?

North
9742
J75
KQ7
Q43
South
KJ5
AKQ84
543
K9
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

The biggest priority was to arrange two entries to lead up towards the spade honors.

To achieve the first entry with the least risk, he drew trumps ending in dummy (West discarding a spade).

He led a spade up to the Jack and Ace.

North
974
KQ7
Q4
South
K5
Q8
543
9
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

When the10 was played, what were declarer's thoughts?

North
974
KQ7
Q4
South
K5
Q8
543
9
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

With the ace of clubs marked offside, the technical play would be to duck in dummy, playing forAx offside.

The attractive play, however, was to play theQ, hoping to induce East into reflexively playing a third club. This might give declarer enough time to setup dummy's spade for a diamond discard.

Heopted for this psychological ploy.East won the A andfaced this problem:

North
974
KQ7
4
East
Q10
A1092
8
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

What were East's thoughts?

North
974
KQ7
4
East
Q10
A1092
A8
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

The routine play seemed to be to return a third club.

However, there were a couple of worrying signs.

The9 on the second round in declarer's hand marked him with a doubleton.

It seemed like declarer's shape was 3532, and his known high-cards were KJx (if partner had the K, he would have led a spade),AKQ, andK.

With 16 HCP already accounted for, it was likely partner had theJ which would help generate two defensive tricks.

The defence's second diamond trick was at risk of being lost, for a diamond could be discarded on the thirteenth spade.

The only way to shut out the deep spade would be to play a diamond now, forcing out the entry in dummy.

East playedthe10 and declarer faced this problem:

North
974
Q7
4
South
K5
Q8
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

What were South's thoughts?

North
974
Q7
4
South
K5
Q8
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

Nice play, this diamond, Mr. East.

At least the lack of play of a diamond by West (when he won theA) has helped us retain some tension.

The8 looked likeQ108. If it wereQ8 doubleton, West's spade discard would be fromA10xx. He would have worried a little bit before making such a play.

Declarer decided to commit to the vision of spades 3-3 and theA offside.

There was a good chance of engineering an end-play.

He ruffed a club to strip East's exit card and got to this position:

North
974
Q7
South
K5
Q
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

What were declarer's thoughts now?

North
974
Q7
South
K5
Q
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P

East was "known" to hold three spades, three hearts, and at least three clubs.

If his shape were 3343,K and another would do the trick. Down to only diamonds, East would have to concede a trick to dummy'sQ.

If his shape were 3334, this would be the position:

West
6
J82
5
North
974
Q7
East
Q10
A9
7
South
K5
Q
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

How can declarer cover this layout?

West
6
J82
5
North
974
Q7
East
Q10
A9
7
South
K5
Q
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

The winning move is to cash theQ, squeezing East in three suits.

A spade discard sets up the suit.

A club discard sets up the endplay

A diamond discard allows declarer to duck a diamond.

The risk, however, was that if declarer had misread the position he could lose unnecessary tricks in clubs or diamonds.

It was tempting to just playK and another. This effects the end-play when East has three clubs. When East has four clubs, declarer can revert to leading a diamond up. Declarer makes his eight tricks always and nine tricks often.

Declarer decided to go all-outand played the last trump.

This was the actual position:

West
6
J82
75
North
974
Q7
East
Q10
A92
South
K5
Q
54
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

When East discarded a diamondon the last trump, he got endplayed in spades and conceded nine tricks.

Despite East's strong defence, declarer triumphed.

In an alternative universe.....?

In an alternative universe, this happened (Click NEXT to follow the play)

West
A63
96
J86
J10752
North
9742
J75
KQ7
Q43
East
Q108
1032
A1092
A86
South
KJ5
AKQ84
543
K9
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
P
P
D
5
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
3
6
K
3
1
0
A
6
5
2
3
2
0
K
9
7
3
3
3
0
4
3
J
10
1
4
0
2
8
J
A
0
4
1
10
Q
A
9
2
4
2
10
3
6
K
1
5
2
4
8
8
2
3
6
2
Q
5
4
9
3
7
2
4
8
7
2
0
7
3
8 tricks claimed
N/S +110
10

The bulletin read:

"Despite East's resourcefuldiamond return, declarer was cold for nine tricks.However, in an inexplicable lack of concentration, he drew too many rounds of trumps and botched a simple endplay"

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