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BillJacobs (44K)

Test Your Slam Play


from Bill Jacobs

bill.jacobs55@gmail.com

Q 8 7 4 3
A 5 2
A 8 2
10 8
N
WE
S
K 6 2
K Q J 10 9 6 4
K J
A
WestNorthEastSouth
   1 
Pass3 Pass4 NT
Pass5 Pass6 
PassPassPass 
6  by South

West leads the CK to your iffy slam. Plan the play.


Solution

South Deals
Both Vul
Q 8 7 4 3
A 5 2
A 8 2
10 8
9 5
8 3
9 7 6 4
K Q 9 6 4
N
WE
S
A J 10
7
Q 10 5 3
J 7 5 3 2
K 6 2
K Q J 10 9 6 4
K J
A

How can you avoid losing two spades here? One way is to get lucky in the suit: hope that one opponent has ace-doubleton in the suit. Lead a low card through that player, who must duck the ace. Then lead another low spade from both hands, on which the ace will win.

The problem is that it's an unlikely scenario. The odds of it being in play are about 28%, and even if that is the layout, you still have to guess which of the defenders has the short ace.

In fact there is a far superior line, involving a tricky and advanced device called the finesse. Lead HK and when both opponents follow, the H6 (not the 4!) to dummy's ace. Next play a diamond to the jack. If that finesse wins, you are home. Draw the remaining trump, cash DK, and lead the H4 to the precious H5 in dummy. Finally the DA to throw away a losing spade.

The moral: When this deal occurred in real life (or as close to real life as online bridge can be considered), the diamond finesse lost. "Fortunately", there was no winning play in spades either. Sometimes one has to be content with making the correct technical play.


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