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Chiu-Fay

kf001 It is no secret that Bridge Winners loves juniors . Although most junior players have not yet achieved the level of success shared by pairs previously featured in this, look for young partnerships to periodically come under scrutiny in the future. First on the chopping block: UFR co-author Kevin Fay and his partner, Jason Chiu . This week’s deal comes from the USA-Netherlands match during the round-robin stage of the 2010 World Youth Team Championships in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



Fay
A5
A832
KQJ
Q964
Molenaar
4
1076
87432
A852
Chiu
1083
95
A1095
K1073
Verbeek
KQJ9762
KQJ4
6
J
W
N
E
S
P
1
X
P
2
4
P
P
P
D
17
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
2
5
6
0
0
1
Q
3
9
2
3
1
1
Q
A
4
3
0
1
2
4
A
3
J
1
2
2
2
K
6
6
3
3
2
K
5
4
8
3
4
2
10 tricks claimed
N/S +420
6


With defensive notes that fit on half a wine label , it’s no surprise that Chiu and Fay had only agreed to upside-down count and attitude at trick one. If dummy held shortness in the suit led their agreements called for suit-preference, but what if declarer is the one known to be short? We’ve previously debated whether an expert player should give partner the expected signal (count, attitude, suit-preference), or the signal their partner needs. When the dummy came down on this particular deal Chiu’s signal was U/D attitude by agreement, but should it be possible to break protocol and issue an alternative signal?

To defeat 4 either East or West has to shift to a heart at trick two. Who should have found the killing switch? Let’s investigate each player’s problem:

East’s 5
East can’t be sure whether declarer has a diamond or not. If declarer will follow to the first trick, then East should overtake the K with the ace when he wants to:

  1. Prevent partner from making a disastrous shift
  2. Break some suit (presumably hearts) from his side


The failure to overtake then implies one of the corresponding alternatives:

  1. East is unsure of the correct continuation
  2. West should shift to a suit that East cannot break


West’s Q
West knows that declarer will most likely be 7411 or 8311, with an outside chance of 7312. If declarer holds four hearts, then a heart shift will always defeat the contract. Fay assumed Chiu would have overtaken and shifted with a doubleton heart and so believed the ‘duck’ of the A provided an inference that a heart ruff was unnecessary. He therefore opted to ‘safely’ continue diamonds at trick two.

Should East overtake the K and shift to a heart?
There are several possible West hands (e.g. Ax Kxxx KQJ Qxxx) where a trick-two heart shift from the East hand is essential in order to procure a ruff. But dummy’s heart suit should give East pause before he pursues this line. Consider these possible heart holdings for declarer: AJ8x, KQ8x, et al. If declarer holds solid spades then he will have to play the heart suit for two losers. Declarer may misguess, however, and lead a heart to dummy’s seven, which would give the defense three tricks. A shift to the 9 would obviate declarer’s dilemma, and he would happily claim his contract.

Shifting to a heart is the easiest beat, however, and there’s a lot to be said for that.

Should West have found a heart shift?
West should assume that East would overtake the K holding Qxx or J9x to prevent West from “mistakenly” shifting to a heart. Thus, West can envision a few possible reasons behind East’s play of the 5:

  • It was a suit-preference signal, showing a club card
  • Partner made a thoughtless duck with xx
  • Partner’s heart holding is such that he isn’t sure whether a shift is necessary or not, i.e. Qx, Jx, or 9x



When both members of a partnership could have easily found the killing shift on a particular deal, who shoulders the blame? Often the answer is clear, is that the case here? We are going to step out and ask you, the reader, to assign the blame (in %) to East and West, and pick the worst play of the hand. Who should have solved the problem?

We pulled the tape, now we invite you to make the call.

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