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Born to Blush Unseen

"Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air."

-- "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard", Thomas Grey

A friend showed me a hand she had played at a local club. Placing the hand records in front of me, she asked if I could see how to make eleven tricks in hearts on a particular board, as indicated by the double-dummy analyzer.

The opening lead is the 2. You may want to have a go first before reading further.

West
Q10954
K82
9763
2
North
AJ32
AJ97
AQ4
54
East
K76
43
K10
KQJ1063
South
8
Q1065
J852
A987
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
X
XX
2
2
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
4
10
A
3
1
0
8
4
A
6
1
2
0
2
7
5
5
3
3
0
6
2
9
3
1
4
0
3
K
Q
9
3
5
0
10
8
J
4
1
6
0
A
3
7
K
1
7
0
A
10
2
3
1
8
0
Q
K
5
6
2
8
1
J
8
10
5
2
8
2
Q
9
11

I spent awhile working on it, and eventually found the winning line. (Follow the play by clicking on NEXT). South must ruff two spades in hand, finessing hearts along the way. (In the given line, the 3rd spade is ruffed with the queen, followed by the 10 to the jack, but equally, declarer can ruff low twice, play the ten then queen of hearts, and then cross to the ace of diamonds to draw the last trump).

After the last trump is drawn the hand is essentially a single-dummy problem. East's majors are known, and he must have the king of diamonds. The 2 lead means he must have either four or six clubs. If he is 4-4 in the minors, besides the fact that the usual opening bid is 1, the hand cannot be made where he has Kxxx, as he will simply take the third round of diamonds, and then exit with two rounds of clubs, leaving declarer with three losers. So declarer must play for East to have Kx and KQJxxx, and play ace then queen of diamonds to create an entry to hand. After winning the king of diamonds, East can cash a club, but on the next club, while declarer must follow suit and dummy must ruff, West is squeezed in spades and diamonds. In a sense, the hand perhaps plays itself if one ruffs spades in hand, as the squeeze falls automatically into place. But what'sinteresting is that it's a suicide squeeze, where the menaces were already established before the squeeze card is played.

So why the title 'Born to Blush Unseen'? Well, if the hand record didn't have GIB or Deep Finessse, who would have thought to analyze the hand to see if eleven tricks were possible? This hand would almost certainly not have been given a second thought by my friend, and a lovely hand would have been lost forever.

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