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Three Recent Deals
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I haven't had much time to write lately, but here are three problems from recent tournaments. The first is from San Diego in April, and the others are from Cincinnati last week. IMPs throughout. Click NEXT to advance the play.

 

Problem 1

Both sides vulnerable, North deals

West
North
A10962
4
Q1085
AK9
East
South
5
KQ9653
J743
Q4
W
N
E
S
1
1NT
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
9
10
K
3
2
0
1
A
7
2
5
2
0
2
6
J
2
8
0
0
3
3
4

Playing standard leads and carding, West leads the singleton 9. East plays K, A, 6, as West discards the 2 and ruffs with the 2. West returns the 3.

Plan the play.

 

Problem 2

Neither side vulnerable, South deals

West
K7
KQJ9753
Q2
KJ
North
A954
62
K10
AQ632
East
South
W
N
E
S
1
1
X
P
2
2
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
2
4
8
0
0
1
J
6
2
10
0
0
2
9
4
6
A
3
1
2
3

South opens 1, you overcall 1, North doubles, and South rebids 2. You try 2, North cuebids 3, and South's 3NT ends the auction.

You lead the K, asking for unblock or count, and continue the suit as declarer holds up twice. Partner discards the 2 and 6 playing standard carding, and declarer pitches the 4 from dummy.

Plan the defense.

 

Problem 3

Both sides vulnerable, East deals

West
North
Q98
AQ102
AKJ102
6
East
KJ3
K84
863
KQJ10
South
W
N
E
S
1
P
P
X
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
6
10
A
3
1
0
2
4
8
2

You open 1 as East, and after two passes, North balances with a double. South jumps to 2, and North closes things out with 4.

Partner leads the 7 (third from even, low from odd): 6, 10, A. Declarer leads the 2 to partner's 4 and dummy's 8.

How do you defend?

Solution 1

West
North
A10962
4
Q1085
AK9
East
South
5
KQ9653
J743
Q4
W
N
E
S
1
1NT
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
9
10
K
3
2
0
1
A
7
2
5
2
0
2
6
J
2
8
0
0
3
3
4

You have a virtual claim line. Win the club in dummy and lead a heart. If East rises with the A and can give West another ruff, the remaining two hearts will fall under your KQ. If East ducks, you win the K and can take the A, ruff a spade, and exit with a low heart. If West follows you will lose just the A after that. If West shows out, East will have AJ or A10 left, but the position will be:

North
109
Q
K9
South
Q96
7
Q

Say East plays a minor-suit card to dummy. You ruff a spade (or, if you judge that East began with 2=4=4=3 distribution, a club), cross to the other minor, and lead a card to coup East out of a trump trick. If East plays a spade instead, he does your shortening work for you. You ruff, take dummy's minor-suit winners, and execute the coup at trick 12.

The only problems arise when East has 4=4=4=1 distribution or when he is 2=4=4=3 and you misguess the distribution. On the actual deal, East had KJx and J10-doubleton, so it was easy to read the layout.

Solution 2

West
K7
KQJ9753
Q2
KJ
North
A954
62
K10
AQ632
East
South
W
N
E
S
1
1
X
P
2
2
3
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
2
4
8
0
0
1
J
6
2
10
0
0
2
9
4
6
A
3
1
2
3

Were you ready to play the K when declarer leads a club toward dummy? Ron Smith was, and declarer, with:

South
Q8
A108
AJ954
1085

had to decide whether Ron began with KJ or stiff K. He went for the stiff club, leading toward the 10 at trick five: down three. (Don't ask me why South rebid 2 instead of 1NT.)

Solution 3

West
North
Q98
AQ102
AKJ102
6
East
KJ3
K84
863
KQJ10
South
W
N
E
S
1
P
P
X
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
6
10
A
3
1
0
2
4
8
2

Winning the J seemed hopeless: declarer would have no choice but to finesse me for the K, successfully, and whatever he did in diamonds was destined to succeed. I tried the effect of winning the K, and this was the full deal:

West
754
J93
Q74
9874
North
Q98
AQ102
AKJ102
6
East
KJ3
K84
863
KQJ10
South
A1062
765
95
A532
W
N
E
S
1
P
P
X
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
7
6
10
A
3
1
0
2
4
8
K
2
1
1
K
2
4
9
1
2
1
A
3
5
4
1
3
1
K
6
9
7
1
4
1
J
8
5
Q
0
4
2
5
Q
3
6
1
5
2
10
8
3
7
0
5
3
3
A
4
6
1
6
3
2
J
A
8
3
7
3
10

Declarer could have succeeded by ruffing the club in dummy, cashing the Q, ruffing the third round of diamonds, and cashing the A. And maybe he should have, but instead he played A, K, J, passing it to partner's queen. Partner got out a trump to dummy, and declarer played a fourth diamond, discarding a club, and partner ruffed. I was able to ruff the fifth diamond and take two tricks at the end: +200.

At the other table, Mike Cappelletti made 4. He ducked the first round of clubs, and East switched to a spade, making declarer's task easier, but Mike could have gotten home regardless.

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