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Johnny Kran's Midnight Razzle-Dazzle
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I strolled into the midnight room one night in Providence, to watch the real action of the tournament. I saw many of the usual suspects drinking beers, having some laughs. and of course playing some cards. On one side of the room I see my buddy John Kranyak (aka "Johnny Kran") partnering the young Swedish star Ida Grönkvist. Their opponents included a Dutch Internationalist, who I'll allow to remain nameless.

So I watch a couple hands, with a bit of action, but nothing too special. Then Johnny Kran picks up:

South
AK104
9
3
AKQJ1096
 

and see the bidding go:

W
N
E
S
1
P
2
?

2 was weak.

He's got a tough problem with his 9+ trick hand, especially when the opponents bid his long suit. What would you do?

He chooses a thoughtful 2 and the bidding continues:

South
AK104
9
3
AKQJ1096
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
3
P
?

Partner's 3 bid is an interesting development, but what does it mean?

Did partner forget to overcall 1? Unlikely.

So, why is partner introducing a new suit at the 3-level when she couldn't overcall at the one level? It looks like partner's bid is lead directing and based on a spade fit.  

Johnny Kran decides there is no use messing around. He whips out RKC and gets a 5 response showing 2 Keycards without the Queen. He can't really play clubs now since 6 asks for a club control. So, Johnny Kran bids a practical 6.

 

South
AK104
9
3
AKQJ1096
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
3
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
X
P
P

LHO doubles. What would you do?

This looks like a double by someone with QJxx and some outside kings. It looks right to run. 7 is a possibility, but perhaps trying for only 12 tricks in 6NT has better chances. Since partner has 2 aces, Johnny Kran can count 7 clubs, 3 aces, and the K for 11 top tricks. If partner has the Q there's a finesse for 12 tricks. If partner has even the J there might be a squeeze.

South
AK104
9
3
AKQJ1096
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
3
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
X
P
P
6NT
X
P
P
XX
P
P
P

Not surprisingly this also gets doubled. Since 6NT is unlikely to go down more than 1, and there is a good chance of making, the IMP odds favor redoubling. Not to mention this is the midnights and there's a pretty girl across the table to impress. So redouble is basically automatic.

LHO leads the K and dummy comes down with exactly what he hoped for:

North
753
AQ83
A43
753
South
AK104
9
2
AKQJ1096
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
2
3
3
P
4NT
P
5
P
6
X
P
P
6NT
X
P
P
XX
P
P
P
 

With the K presumed onside, 12 tricks are practically in the bag, but perhaps there's a chance for 13?

Those heart spots look menacing. If LHO has the KJ10 to go with his QJ there is a squeeze. This would be the end position:

West
QJ9
KJ10
North
75
AQ83
East
62
765
10
South
AK104
9
A
D

Johnny Kran runs the clubs, and on the last club LHO is in a quandary. He pitches the J hoping partner has the 9. When declarer leads the 9, the 10 pops up. Johnny Kran confidently calls for the Queen and soon claims his overtrick to chalk up +2510. 

Here is the whole hand:

West
QJ98
KJ107
KQ8
82
North
753
AQ83
A43
753
East
62
6542
J109765
4
South
AK104
9
2
AKQJ1096
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
2
2
3
3
P
4N
P
5
P
6
X
P
P
6N
X
P
P
XX
P
P
P
D
6NTXX South
NS: 0 EW: 0

 

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