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Best hand
(Page of 7)

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