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West
A86
A1093
J54
K84
East
QJ95
KQ8
10832
A3

The Friday common game threw up yet another opportunity for me to be weighed in the balance and found wanting. Playing against a pro to the left and client to the right you reach 3NT on the normal 1-1-1NT-3NT sequence and receive a friendly heart lead. The fall of the spots suggests a 5-1 break but not guaranteed. Which hand to win in when dummy’s eight holds and what to play at trick two?

Maybe my math is faulty but I estimated that with spade length (4/5 cards) to the right it was clearly right to run the spade queen. This RHO would cover a fair amount of the time from Kxx(x) and always from Kx.

If RHO has 4/5 spades there are many more key holdings that include the king than don't.

The spade queen lost to the king, LHO returned a small heart, and RHO pitched a small club. It was clearly right to lead diamonds from one hand or the other now. You can cross to the spade ace and lead up, or lead low from dummy with a fair chance RHO will split any honor sequence.

 

You choose to lead low from dummy and RHO follows with the six. Cover or duck?

It looked too dangerous to cover, since if LHO had a singleton honor or a doubleton double honor I might go down in flamwes by continuing the suit. So I ducked the six and LHO won the seven and played a third heart. RHO pitched a second club without pain and I won in dummy to play a third diamond. king, five and the ace to my left, and back came a fouerth heart. when RHO pitched yet another club i had my last chance to rescue the deal.

RHO would surely have pitched a spade from some combination of small cards, and would absolutely have split her diamonds on the first round if she had the king queen. LHO therefore had the diamond queen...and also the nine or RHO would have let a small card go ragther than pitching from a possibly dangerous club holding yet again. The full deal was indeed:

West
10743
7
K6
QJ7652
North
K2
J6542
AQ97
109
East
QJ95
KQ8
10832
A3
South
A86
A1093
J54
K84
D

To succeed now i cash the A and play three rounds of clubs to endplay my RHO. I didn't.

Kudos to North for not overcalling (I suspect the majority of Norths did so when the play in spades becomes far simpler since North is so much more likelyu to have the K. My performance earned me a deserved zero (I'm not sure whether it was a zero in the Common Game worldwide but maybe it deserved to be).

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