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 Oct. 23/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 On today's deal East-West didn't have much between them but they competed effectively to 4
, a contract they would have made had they been permitted to play it. North-South had bigger ideas, however, and finally quit at 5 after making a couple of slam tries.

Neither side vulnerable  East deals

  9 7
6 5 4
9 5

A K Q 10 7 3

A Q 4 2

K J 6 3 2

J 6 5 2

K J 8 5 3
Q 10 3
Q 8 7

9 8

  10 6
A K J 9 8 7 2
A 10 4


West North East South
    Pass 1
Dble Rdble 2 4
4 5(1) Pass 5(1)
Pass 5 End  

(1) Cue-bid, trying for 6

Opening Lead:

 West made the good lead of the
A and East encouraged with the jack. West continued with the 2 to East's king, and East switched to the 7. Declarer won the ace and cashed the ace of trumps, preparing to claim if both opponents followed. West's spade discard forced declarer to work a bit harder.

 With only one entry to dummy it seems that declarer needs to cash all three clubs to discard his diamonds, then take the marked trump finesse.

 Declarer, a very good player, looked more deeply into the position and tried to build a picture of the distribution before committing himself. With five spades, West would normally overcall 1
, so declarer placed him with only four (consistent with East's jump to 2) and he knew that West had no hearts. His remaining cards would normally be divided five-four (rather than six-three), giving him classic shape for a takeout double. If West held at least four clubs, he was at least a four-to-two favourite to hold the jack.

 If declarer's picture of the hand were correct, he would not succeed by playing clubs from the top because East would ruff the third high club and declarer would lose a diamond in the end. If West indeed held at least four clubs headed by the jack, the only successful play was a first-round finesse of dummy's @10. Declarer decided to back his judgment. When the
10 held, he played A (diamond discard), K. East ruffed but declarer over-ruffed, drew East's last trump, and led the 2 to the six to cash the Q and discard his remaining diamond loser. If East did not ruff the third club, declarer would discard his last diamond loser and finesse in trumps.