Main   Article 7K31 by Richard Pavlicek  

Ten Tricks On Ice

On this deal from a knockout team event, the same contract was reached at both tables. On the auction shown, 4 NT was a quantitative slam invitation. The N-S hands, despite 32 HCP, had poor playing potential because of the flat, mirrored shapes. Both pairs judged well to stop at a safe level. Well, almost safe.

4 NT South

None Vul
S A K 3
H 7 6 3
D A Q 10 9
C 9 8 7
S 10 9 8 7 2
H K 9 5 2
D 3
C K 10 2
TableS 5 4
H J 10 8
D 7 6 5 4
C J 6 5 3
Lead: S 10S Q J 6
H A Q 4
D K J 8 2
C A Q 4


All Pass
1 D
3 NT
2 NT
4 NT

At one table declarer won the spade lead and immediately ran four rounds of diamonds, as West threw two hearts and a club. Obviously, the contract now can be made by forcing out either of West’s kings without wasting a queen. But South was not playing with mirrors, and he opted to try both finesses — down one.

At the other table declarer looked a little deeper into the problem. After West discarded on the second round of diamonds, he found a surefire play to guarantee the contract. All the spades were cashed ending in dummy, then the C 9 was ducked to the 10 (if East played the C J, South would play the queen). West cashed his two long spades; North threw two hearts, and South a heart and a diamond. But now West was endplayed; either a club or a heart lead gives declarer his 10th trick.

Note the importance of cashing only two diamonds. If three rounds were cashed, declarer’s hand would be squeezed when West won his spades. TopMain

© 1998 Richard Pavlicek