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The Best Laid Plans


From Ian Bailey

It is said that the best laid plan of mice and men are filed away somewhere. Recent events have shown that the leaders of our nation haven't come across the right filing cabinet. And we know from bitter experience that the best laid plans often don't come to a successful result at the bridge table.

One hand came up recently (well, this year anyway) that showed how important it is to plan the play of the whole hand before you decide on the play of your first card. When you look at the hands below, you can imagine that there was a lot of bidding. I didn't record the actual sequence but do recall as west that when partner showed enthusiasm in spades , I thought that my resources, though meagre, at least were in the right place after enthusiastic club bidding from the opponents, so put partner into game.

North Deals
None Vul
Q 7
A K 7
10 8 5 2
J 9 5 3
K 6 4 2
J 10 9 5 2
7 4 3
2
N
WE
S
A J 10 8 5
8 4
A K 6
A 10 4
9 3
Q 6 3
Q J 9
K Q 8 7 6

You will not be astonished when I reveal that south led the K C. The time has come to plan the play. The east hand has 7 losers. One is covered by the K S and you can ruff two clubs in dummy. The heart losers are inescapable. Can you do something about the diamond loser and hopefully find the trump queen? If you can establish the hearts then the diamond loser can be taken care of.

There is no point in holding up the A C so you take that. Now many players will ruff clubs immediately, but the ruff can be used for crosses later, so this can wait. Start on the hearts immediately. North takes the K and switches to a diamond. Take the ace and pay another heart. North takes the king and follows up with another diamond, taken by the king.

Now a heart is ruffed and you could sense partner's relief when both opponents followed. The A and K of spades now clear up the outstanding trumps. A club is ruffed in dummy and the losing diamond thrown on a heart and there you have 11 tricks when the last club is ruffed.

Were you the slightest bit interested about how this hand turned out? Go on, admit it, you are busting! It was in the seventh round of the Mandurah Saturday congress pairs. Of the 42 tables, just two made 11 tricks. Since the other table making 11 had not bid game, this was an absolute top. Not easy to do in such a big field.

Deep Finesse says that you can only make 10 tricks. But this requires an initial lead of a diamond. Should you have done this, you could open yourself to a charge of necromancy.

By the time this gets into print, the government might have found the filing cabinet and retrieved some useful plans. It seems to me that our plans at the table have a higher chance of success.



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