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Monday morning quarterbacking

If football fans can be perfect quarterbacks on Monday morning, it's only fair that we Bridge players be allowed our little fantasies a day after the Spingold finals. We should be allowed to fantasize about being perfect something, bidders, declarers or my choice defenders. Specifically I'd like be West on this gem as my partner Franck Multon has already done his part in finding a double-dummy defense.

West
J1052
QJ3
A92
K65
North
9763
5
K4
AJ7432
East
AQ84
6
QJ653
1098
South
K
AK1098742
1087
Q
W
N
E
S
P
P
4
P
P
X
P
P
P
D
4X South
NS: 0 EW: 0

At the other table, there was no double in the balancing seat and everything went off without incident. J was led. RHO won and made the "obvious" switch to a trump. Declarer won, pulled one more round and played the Q. It wasn't covered, but it didn't matter. Declarer had a pitch for one of his loser.

Where Multon was East things got a lot more interesting, as he made an aggressive double in the balancing chair. West passed and found the J lead. Multon won, felling declaler's King. Everybody expected the "obvious" trump shift. "He has to switch to a trump,  after all declarer can have the A" said one expert commentator. Multon confounded everybody about putting the 3 on the table Hpw did he find it ? My guess is this: he expected a good looking suit for a vulnerable 4. If he had the A in addition to the K, he might have opened 1 instead. Clearly Multon intended to get rid of dummy's K entry before declarer could use dummy's s, but at the same time defenders had to be careful not let dummy ruff a either, which meant that West had to duck this trick. Expert commentators pointed out that the Q might have been a better choice as declarer might have had  T9x(x), and that would it make it impossible to duck the trick. If you can't duck the trick, that's the end of defense as either declarer can make use of s later or defense must concede a ruff. Declarer could have prevailed by playing the T but that would have been wrong had RHO led from QJ9 ! Declarer played the 8. Multon's count card in s instead of Q told partner something very important. As West can see all the low spots between him and dummy and partner's 3, he can suspect that declarer has 3 or 4 s which is critical to the next part of this Herculean effort.

Declarer, Berkowitz careful not give defenders a chance to discard deferred pulling trumps. Instead he ruffed a and played the Q, a card that must have taken West by surprise. Surely partner could have that card for his double of 4 right ?  If declarer has 1=7=3=2 it's right to cover. If he has a stiff , he must play low. Only 18 IMPs on the line, so no pressure. But if declarer had only 7 s, that gives partner 2. With AQ and QJ at best, where does partner find a double. It's not even close. There's only reason why partner could have doubled with so little in high cards. He must have a stiff . Now it all falls in place. Once you place declarer with 8 trumps, 3 or more , stiff K, you know he has to have exactly 3 s and a stiff Q You duck and score up +200. +13 IMPs in your column. But alas, it's not Monday morning, but Sunday afternoon and you cover the Q as it happened at the table and lose 5 IMPs.

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