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New Beer Rules and Countermeasures

At the recent District 8 NAP finals, my opponent Will Engel was declaring 3-X (non-vulnerable) and needed to find an eighth trick from 98 in hand opposite AQ74 in dummy. The diamond length and the K were marked as likely offside on the bidding. So he ran the 8 to the T, then later played A,Q (king, ruff) successfully pinning lefty’s J from an original J53 and establishing the 7, getting him his -100. Well done. This was worth enough matchpoints that I say it deserves a beer even if the beer rules say otherwise. Perhaps you should get a beer whenever you score the 7 on rank, even if you don’t meet the other criteria.

 

I might not have thought further about it, but Deep Finesse said the defense dropped a trick. With that hint, I spotted the key play: if the J goes up from J53, declarer can’t handle it. He had only one side dummy entry and couldn’t afford to lose two tricks in diamonds. After 8,J,Q,K he would have had to try playing lefty for JTx or the esoteric anti-percentage (ed.: not so obvious, see comments) J65; diamond to the J,A and a low diamond out creates a ruffing-finesse position but leaves him short on entries. This is a first cousin of better-known second-hand-high communication-cutting plays, but how many of you would have thought of it? On Mars, I suppose when the 8 runs to the T declarer shrugs and plays lefty for Kxx, then everyone has a good laugh about the obvious Grosvenor, but I’m not sure there is a game that tough on Earth.

 

 

It's nice that when declarer attempts to establish the 7, the defensive counter harnesses the might of the 6!

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