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Platinum Pairs Warm Up

Spring Nationals isn't  my most favorite National. The venue is always some place like Philadelphia, Kansas City, St. Louis or Reno where mid-March is far from Spring,  more like late Winter if you're lucky. But there is one event I wouldn't ever miss even if the venue was Fairbanks, Alaska - Platinum Pairs!  Not that my record of making it to the finals - 1 for 4 is anything to write home about, but if I was 0 for 10 I'd still be playing. When it comes to MatchPoints I'm a glutton for punishment.

Sadly this year I have to miss it, as my nearly 4-month old new kidney isn't quite ready for the rigors of travel and tournament. So I'll leave you with two play problems that you might find interesting.

The first one is from the first session of Platinum Pairs in Kansas City, 2017.

West
North
J1086
KQ4
AK975
2
East
South
A953
862
10432
A7
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
3
P
P
X
P
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
2
10
A
3
1
0
6
10
Q
3
1
2
0
J
4
3
Q
0
2
1
K
10
3
7
1
3
1
8
5
5

The contract looks pretty good. A rates to be on-side. If trumps are 3-2, you can easily deal with 3-1 break. If trumps are 3-2 and s break 2-2 you could be making an embarrassing number of overtricks. But if LHO had opened 1 the bidding would have gone 1 overcall by partner, 3 by RHO and now you can't find your 4-4 fit. You're lucky partner is 4-3 in the Majors and not 3-4. When RHO shows out on the second trump, never mind overtricks, let's make the contract if we can.

The second one is a one-card variant of a hand that occurred in the NABC practice tournament that's going on in preparation for the upcoming "On-Line BBO National".

West
North
A1032
J6
AQ1072
A5
East
South
K54
AQ102
864
KQ3
W
N
E
S
 
P
1
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2N
P
3N
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
2
6
K
3
1
0
6
3
10
J
2
1
1
J
K
6
5
3
2
1
4
3
4

If the second finesse had worked and the suit broke 3-2 you'd be facing a different problem. After unblocking the A, cashing tricks pitching a and a , you're down to a 5-card ending. Dummy has AT3 J6 and you have 5 AQT - K. When you run the J it holds. Should you repeat the finesse to make 12 or settle for 11 ?

But when LHO shows out on the second , it's time to start thinking about making the contract if you can. 

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