Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Little contract

There's a reason written up hands seldom features the small partscores. There isn't often an early decision time that is suitable for that format. Both sides win tricks and the variation of continuations makes bad reading material.

Last match in Denmark I played a 2C-contract though after opening a 2-way 1C (11-13 bal or any 17+) and partner bid a nonforcing 2C after a 1S-overcall. I got the ten of diamonds lead and saw this:



After the first trick collected the J, K and A, I paused for reflection. How should we make this?

Clubs need to be 3-2, giving us 4 tricks and we have AQ of D and the ace of S. This brings the total up to 7. The final contract-winning trick could come from an endplay of West, giving us an extra spadetrick, from being able to ruff dummy's last spade in hand, the AKx(x) of hearts onside or HJx of hearts onside and a defensive slip with West failing to cover the 9 of hearts from hand or

The endplay seems pretty remote as this requires West to have AK of hearts so that East can't push a spade through, the same requirement as getting a trick with the queen of H unless West is bare AK. We can rule out AK onside as West would have led one of those puppies with that holding (not necessarily true 100% of the time but something to rely on when analysing the hand).

The best chance is therefore ruffing a spade in hand, but then we need West to be 5-3-3-2 and the last club with East and sever the defensive communication so that East can't remove our last club in hand as we'll have cash ace-king or suffer the loss of extra trump trick promotion by the defence.

Having reached this conclusion, we cash the queen of D pitching a H and lead a H to the queen and K. East shifts to his singleton spade and we win and continue hearts and are safe from harm, scoring +90.


Check for successful opposing layouts and play for the most (legit) likely one. Surprisingly often this gains; at least you can rest assured you gave it your best shot!

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