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Best hand
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In a long event, any player will have one hand he likes the best.  This was my favorite hand from the senior trials.

 

North
KQ
K87
AQ95
9853
South
AJ10853
A2
8
K642
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

 

2:  6+ spades

The auction was, shall we say, optimistic.  But the play is the thing.

Opening lead:  Queen of hearts.

Plan the play.

North
KQ
K87
AQ95
9853
South
AJ10853
A2
8
K642
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

It looks pretty grim.  Even assuming the king of diamonds and ace of clubs are onside, that is only 11 tricks, and the twelfth trick appears to be a long way away.

Might there be a squeeze?  There is a problem with correcting the count.  East will certainly duck the first round of clubs from any ace-third holding, so I won't be able to correct the count if that is the case.  Therefore, East must have ace-doubleton of clubs for a squeeze to have a chance.

Suppose West holds the sole guard in one of the red suits, either QJ109 of hearts or KJ10x of diamonds.  It looks like he might be squeezed in clubs and that red suit.  The problem is that after taking the second round of clubs, East can lead the red suit in which West has the sole guard.  Since I will then have no communication in either clubs or that red suit, this will break up any squeeze.  This should not be a difficult defense for my competent opponents to find.

Suppose East has 5 diamonds not including the king and ace-third of clubs.  He will have to guard both suits.  I coudl win the heart lead in my hand and run all my trumps but one, so I threaten to establish the long diamond with a ruff.  He will be down to 7 cards, which will be 4 diamonds and 3 clubs.  Then what?  If I lead my last trump I can no longer establish the long diamond, and if I led a heart to dummy that will blow my entry to ruff out the diamonds.  

Is there anything else?  West could have KJ10 tripleton of diamonds in which case the 9 of diamonds can be established.  West could have the sole guards in both red suits, in which case he will be squeezed.  These possibilities are extreme long shots.  Perhaps there is something better.

North
KQ
K87
AQ95
9853
South
AJ10853
A2
8
K642
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

How about a pseudo-squeeze.  Assuming the ace of clubs is onside, all I need is for the opponent who hold 3 clubs to mistakenly discard a club.   There is nothing in the auction to indicate that I have 4 clubs, so he may discard a club thinking his partner guards the third round of the suit.  However, he isn't going to discard a club unless he is under extreme pressure.  How can I create such pressure in his mind?

North
KQ
K87
AQ95
9853
South
AJ10853
A2
8
K642
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

 

I'm going to have to run as many trumps as possible.  This will be necessary to put on the pressure.  This will mean taking several discards from dummy.  What will dummy keep?  What end position should I be aiming for?

North
KQ
K87
AQ95
9853
South
AJ10853
A2
8
K642
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

 

i will want to keep all dummy's diamonds, so an opponent with Jxxx of diamonds may think he has to hold all of his diamonds.  I will want to run all of my trumps, since only on the last trump will there be real pressure.  That means I need to retain the ace of hearts in my hand.  If I get my hoped-for club discard, I can then take a winning diamond finesse, lead a club to my king, and play another club setting up my clubs.   I need to keep a club in dummy to lead up to my king of clubs, and a heart in dummy so I will be able to get back to my good clubs.  Therefore, dummy will be coming down to 4 diamonds, 1 heart, and 1 club.

North
KQ
K87
AQ95
9853
South
AJ10853
A2
8
K642
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

I won the king of hearts in dummy, and started running trumps.  West followed to the third round.  Would it make any difference what order I made my discards from dummy?

North
KQ
K87
AQ95
9853
South
AJ10853
A2
8
K642
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
P
P
P

It looks natural to discard the three clubs first, saving the heart discard for last.  Retaining the heart in dummy would put more pressure on West if he is the opponent with 3 clubs, although he shouldn't have any difficulty discarding diamonds since he will see that he doesn't need to hold long diamonds because he holds the king.  I was convnced that the opponent to be pseudo-squeezed would be East, if he started with 4 diamonds and 3 clubs.  Naturally he will dump all of his hearts first, but his problem will come on the last spade.  Suddenly I had a brainstorm.  If I discard a heart first it will appear that I started with Axx of hearts, since why would I ever pitch a potential heart threat and come down to 1-1 in hearts.  If East places me with 3 hearts he will know that I don't have 4 clubs, so when his partner doesn't discard a club East may think it safe to discard one on his final discard since his partner will be guarding the third round of the suit.

I pitched the heart first, and then ran the trumps.  As expected, East had no difficulty discarding hearts on his first three discards, but on his last discard he had a huge problem.  After a long huddle, he discarded a club.  I took a winning diamond finesse, club to my king winning, and busted out the clubs to make.  The full hand was:

West
742
QJ106
KJ73
107
North
KQ
K87
AQ95
9853
East
96
9543
10642
AQJ
South
AJ10853
A2
8
K642
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
4
P
4
P
4N
P
5
P
6
P
P
P
D
6 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Obviously East had clues both from the bidding and his partner's discards which should have led him to the right conclusion.  That is not important.  The key was that I did look ahead to see that a legitimate squeeze couldn't work.  Having come to that conclusioin I saw the possibility of a defensive error, and played in such a way as to maximize the chance for that error.

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