Source: 2008

At the Clearwater Regional our team did battle against Meckstroth and Rodwell’s team several times. Much to our surprise and excitement we had good success. This doesn’t happen too often, so it’s good to take note and do a bit of celebrating. On this hand, partner faced a difficult and instructional play problem.

The line of play I suggest is somewhat counter-intuitive, and that is what makes it most interesting. If you are an avid reader of bridge books you will recognize this as a kind of problem the great author Hugh Kelsey would be proud to present. The opponents didn’t reach the slam at the other table, but unfortunately we lost a slam swing when partner wasn’t able to find the winning line of play at the table – see if you can find it now.

Lead:  Heart SuitQ

Plan Your Play!

Lead:  Heart SuitQ

The first thing we need to do is count our tricks. We have 2, 1Heart Suit, 5Diamond Suit, and 2club Suit. That is 10 tricks. The hearts are likely 6-2, so we can safely ruff only one Heart Suit in the dummy — that line gets us 11 tricks. It looks like we need to establish the suit in order to get to 12 tricks.

Trick 1: Heart SuitHeart SuitA Heart Suitx Heart Suitx (+1)

The question is how best to do that –the key play is to duck a at trick two.

2: 10 x(-1)

Now, the opponents can’t really hurt you. As long as trump are no worse than 4-1 and are 4-2, then we are home. Suppose the opponents return a trump.

3: Diamond Suitx Diamond SuitA Diamond Suitx Diamond Suitx (+2)

Now we draw one more trump (noting that they broke 4-1), ruff a Heart Suit to get back to the dummy, and ruff a — establishing the suit when it is 4-2.

4: Diamond SuitK Heart Suitx Diamond Suitx Diamond Suitx (+3)

5: Heart Suitx Heart Suitx Diamond Suitx Heart SuitK (+4)

6: x x Diamond Suitx x (+5)

Now we finish drawing trump and use the club SuitK to get to the good ‘s in the dummy, making 12 tricks.

The complete deal is below.

On the actual lay of the cards, you can survive not timing the hand perfectly –but if you give up the second round of you open yourself up to a potential uppercut if Diamond Suit are 4-1 behind you.

The idea of giving up a trick you don’t have to lose in order to establish a long suit can be very useful at IMPs. Keep an eye out for these kinds of plays in team games, they can help you bring in some difficult contracts.

**Additionally, there are some double squeeze options on this hand. Most of these have difficulty rectifying the count without opening up an uppercut position. These double squeeze options also have serious communication and positional difficulties, so the simple play of ducking the first round of will likely bring us home.

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