Join Bridge Winners
RESURRECTING THE VERY EASY 6NT FROM THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
(Page of 2)

This was the previously published (and deleted) “very easy” 6NT deal:

Board 20, Dlr W, Vul All

West
K863
K5
AKQJ
KQ2
East
Q2
AQ1064
82
A853

How should West play, declaring 6NT after the spade ten lead?

A week ago my sister-in-law, Jill Meyers sent an email to me, among others, giving this layout, stating that she was unsure what line was best. She had declared 6NT with these cards in the fourth session of the quarterfinals of the recent world championships as a member of the silver medalist Mixed Pairs USA team. She didn’t state her line.

I responded that it was difficult to give an objective answer. I knew the board, for I was a voice commentator at the Levin-Weinstein table in the Bermuda Bowl USA – England match when it was played; the best play wasn’t immediately obvious to me. Thus my interest in the deleted article (which I had only glanced at): What was the obvious play from dummy at trick one?

Here is my analysis, not influenced with what others had to say and hopefully not biased from knowing what would have been successful.

An assumption from the lead is that LHO holds the 10 and 9 of spades, RHO the ace and jack. Ducking will be successful when RHO holds four or more hearts; she can be endplayed with the spade queen after the minor winners and the heart king is cashed (might as well cash the heart ace also, preventing the necessity of a decision and related anxiety should the heart jack fall doubleton). The minor suit distribution is immaterial.

Playing the spade queen at trick one establishes a simple positional squeeze against LHO when he holds both club length and heart length. This requires two suits to be held in one hand (LHO); playing the deuce requires only one suit to be held in a particular hand (RHO). This would seem to strongly favor low from dummy at trick one. But there is a fly in the ointment. When RHO holds three hearts she can false card by discarding the spade jack (or possibly playing it at trick one), keeping the ace and a small spade when the minor winners are cashed.

The results from 28 of the 32 tables are available in BBO archival files. Of these reported results, it was played in 6NT 20 times, 16 times with the spade ten lead, 3 times with a diamond lead, once with the spade nine (Rusinow?). Jill was one of the three declarers who ducked a spade lead; she later executed the endplay to make the contract. She said that one of the reasons she ducked is because she though RHO might play the ace. That logic was vindicated. Makiko Sato of the Japan’s Women’s team ducked; her RHO did fly with the ace. Wergoed of the Netherland's Senior Team ducked and executed the endplay.

So which play is better; queen or low at trick one? It is definitely not an easy decision. I give the nod to low.  It is difficult to find successful defensive false cards, even for those competing in the world championship.

West
K863
K5
AKQJ
KQ2
North
1094
92
7653
J1064
East
Q2
AQ1064
82
A853
South
AJ75
J873
1094
97
D

End

20 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top