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DEEP-AND-MEANINGFULS #5


Paul Brayshaw taps into the innermost thoughts of Deep Finesse®

"We were in 6NT. Played it as West. Cold. Deep Finesse says so too!"

Post-morteming after round 4 of the recent state Swiss Teams, your eyes are drawn to Board 18 after your friend's clamorous declaration.

BAWA Swiss Teams 2018, Round 4

Board 18
East Deals
N-S Vul
J 7 5 3
7 6 3
J 7
Q J 5 2
Q
8 2
K 10 5 4 2
A K 9 7 4
N
WE
S
A K 8 2
A K J 10 5
A 3
10 3
10 9 6 4
Q 9 4
Q 9 8 6
8 6

The opponents had played in 3NT at your table and got a bit tangled up in the play, making only 11 tricks. A quick glance at DF's box in the corner confirms your friend's statement that 12 tricks could be made in 6NT from the West seat.

"Did you get a friendly lead? you enquire.

"Somewhat. It was the CQ lead, which still doesn't give you 12 tricks but gives extra chances, I think. So I won and played another club. North was forced to take this, otherwise I could just give up a heart. North now switched fairly smartly to H7. I rose, played a spade to the queen, a diamond to the ace, unblocked the spades (pitching diamonds), then a diamond to the king. Now I started to play my three winning clubs, throwing hearts from dummy. On the first one South threw a diamond but then, on the second, showed some discomfort and parted with a spade. That just about marked them with the diamond length and HQ, and so the position was down to this..."

Your friend quickly jotted down something on the back of the hand record:

J
6 3
8
10
7
N
WE
S
8
K J
Q 9
Q

"The C7 now finishes South off, and just in case North actually does hold HQ, they are forced to retain their winning spade so they will show up with HQ at trick 12 if they have it."

"Fair enough," you say. "Well read."

You decide against mentioning that North/South could have held different cards in the ending and discarded the same way, if they were being clever. That was a good way to lose friends, you consider, and additionally, in this playing field any signs of cleverness were statistically unlikely.

Instead, your attention is drawn back to DF's analysis (did it wink at you again?), which stated that East could only make 11 tricks in no trumps. Your friend has demonstrated one scenario in which this may be the case - a club lead from North allows 6NT on a squeeze, but the club lead from South does not establish the suit and a different line would have to be pursued.

"Hmmmmm," you say, which your friends correctly interpret as a cue to carry on the post-mortem without you. You start to consider the possibilities. It must be makeable on a spade lead from either direction, you think, since the first trick would be the same in either case. So let's concentrate on that.

Quite clearly the hearts need to be established for a trick source, so upon winning with SQ you take a heart 'finesse', which South must take. The biggest nuisance of a return would be a diamond. North finesses against your ten and you take it with the Ace. This diamond position looks familiar - yes, we've studied something like this before somewhere, haven't we? Some sort of guard squeeze? In that case, a special extended menace is required in the hand with the squeeze card - the spades will have to supply that. So we now play off CAK and return to hand with a heart. We cash ONE spade only (throwing a diamond), then enjoy another couple of hearts, pitching clubs. The position is down to

J 7
J
Q
K 10 5
9
N
WE
S
K 8
5
3
10 9
Q 9

Yep, all looks set for the coup-de-grace - the final heart. South obviously can't discard their diamond, so must let go of a spade. The small diamond is thrown from West, and North now has three ways to be nice to you; a spade discard will make your S8 good, a club pitch will set up the C9, and discarding the DJ will suddenly expose partner to a diamond finesse that hitherto did not exist. Whichever route of self-destruction the defence takes, 12 tricks are in the bag. A double guard squeeze, and you like to call this variation the 'post-positional' type, as it is the fourth-in-hand defender who unguards the suit to create the finesse position (as opposed to the 'ante-positional' type).

The point is, however, that this double guard squeeze can obviously be broken up, as East can't make 6NT according to DF. Is it an entry problem? You soon put your finger on it - the special 'finesse' menace can be destroyed by two rounds of the suit (diamonds). North can't make an opening lead of a diamond without giving away the twelfth trick, but South can. So that's it. A diamond lead from South defeats 6NT because, when in with HQ, they play another diamond, destroying the menace. The minor suits are guarded by separate defenders and there is no entry in spades, so no other squeeze can materialise. Very satisfactory!

On that final point, though, you snigger to yourself as you realise that, even if a dopey West gets a diamond lead and doesn't unblock the SQ before tackling hearts, they can still make 6NT. It's a beautiful thing. Let's say West gets the DJ lead (winning with DA), takes the diamond finesse, and now forgets to play SQ before losing the heart to South. South can now return a heart when in with HQ. Nasty! Now declarer cannot untangle all the tricks because an entry has been removed to the East hand.

No problem. Amazingly enough, West can recover. They may as well assume their SQ is a small spade, and continue. It's as simple as running the hearts. Throw two clubs and a diamond. Now play a club to the ace, getting to this position:

J 7 5
Q J
Q
K 5
K 9
N
WE
S
A K 8 2
10
10 9 6
Q 9

West, with a choice of minor suit kings to play, can now choose who to squeeze first and who to squeeze second. The choice may be vindictive, manipulative or otherwise, depending upon personal preference. Assuming South is to sweat first, the CK is cashed. South cannot part with a diamond and so must discard a spade. Now the DK finishes the job. North either unguards clubs or discards a spade. If the latter, that useless SQ is overtaken to enjoy the S8 in dummy at the end.

Who said that these unusual squeezes never come up and don't bear studying? That's two different ones on the same hand! As you look up to share your findings, you discover the room is empty and the bar is being packed up for the night. Ahhh, shame that - DF has just cooed softly to you from its corner matrix again. You stare and raise your eyebrows considerably. What's this? If you thought this hand was over, you were wrong. East can make 6D. But not West!

Before you can even comprehend this, it is suggested that you leave the venue unless you want to sleep there. Seems as though this will need to be continued at that other venue - home...

More next time! Meanwhile,

Found an intriguing analysis? Unsure of how DF got to a particular number of tricks? Or, , do you think DF is wrong on a hand? Please send it to me at thepabray@hotmail.com and I'll do my best to tune in to DF's special vibrations. Paul :



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