Join Bridge Winners
Believe What You See
(Page of 2)

Playing in the English mixed trials (first stage a round robin, 20-board matches, IMPs converted to VPs) we got to 4 fairly quickly here:

North
108653
K8642
75
6
South
AKJ4
A73
Q4
A852
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
P
X
3
4
P
4
P
P
P

West started with the AK of diamonds, and rather to my surprise, East discarded a club on the second diamond. West now thought for a while, and eventually switched to the Queen of hearts.

I started thinking. Then I carried on thinking a bit more.

The switch was so slow it didn't feel like a singleton. In any case, I guessed that 4-0 spades was rather more likely that 3-1. I checked afterwards, and just knowing diamonds are 8-1 makes 4-0 spades nearly twice as likely as singleton queen.

So can I make it with spades 4-0? Close examination of the pips shows that yes, I can pick up the suit by taking multiple finesses and eventually set up the hearts. Here's how the play might go:

West
QJ
AK1098632
Q93
North
108653
K8642
75
6
East
Q972
1095
J
KJ1074
South
AKJ4
A73
Q4
A852
W
N
E
S
1
1
P
P
X
3
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
1
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
5
J
4
0
0
1
K
7
4
Q
0
0
2
Q
K
5
3
1
1
2
10
Q
K
2
3
2
2
A
J
2
9
3
3
2
7
3
4
10
2
3
3
10
A
3
6
3
4
3
2
9
3
7
1
5
3
6
7
J
6
3
6
3
5
Q
5
J
1
7
3
6
11

In the end position, either both RHO and I discard clubs, and then I run the 8, or East ruffs in, I over-ruff, and ruff my last club. I decided I couldn't make it if West were 0-1 in the majors, but that is also unlikely for the 1 overcall.

If East doesn't cover the 10 it doesn't make a great difference. Depending on the exact order of cards I could also ruff three clubs in dummy.

It took me a long time to work out this line of play in my head (luckily with 20-board sets you have time to think about these things properly), and then to reconfirm my intuition that 4-0 spades was very probable. I did wonder if a spade void would have made LHO more likely to preempt on the first round, but she seemed to have random heart and club honors which probably put her off doing too much.

I also noted that if West did have Qx of spades, I could also make even if I finessed into it, by winning the heart in hand, cashing one top spade, ace of clubs, club ruff, heart towards dummy (assuming a discard) and then a finesse, as with 2=1=8=2 West would have to give a ruff and discard.

Anyway, having got this far, I decided that playing for spades 4-0 was still the right line.

I won the king of hearts in dummy and led the 10.

RHO played the 7.

Before turning to the next page, decide what you will play to this trick.

Then proceed.

My partner sometimes says "believe what you see", meaning that if you have the choice of playing RHO to have done something brilliant or something normal, believe the latter.

Would anyone play the 7 from Q972 here? Really?

I decided to believe what I saw, and played the ace dropping LHO's singleton queen.

I am told that at the other table declarer played a spade to the ace without thought.

Oh well, it's good for the brain to think.

But I'll remember that as a wonderful false card for next time.

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