Mark Horton

With Open Cards

As one of my current writing projects involves a book about Double Dummy problems, I am always on the look out for real life deals. This one comes from Wednesday’s Senior Pairs game:

Dealer: West

Vul: North/South

8 4 2
A K J 8 7
Q 9 4
Q 9
West East
A Q J 5 7 6
10 6 2 Q 9 5 4 3
J 8 2 6 3
10 8 6 J 5 4 3
K 10 9 3
A K 10 7 5
A K 7 2
West North East South
Pass 1 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 3NT
All Pass

3NT is clearly an easy contract, but can you see how declarer can arrive at eleven tricks?

Suppose West leads a heart?

Declarer wins with dummy’s king and proceeds to cash five rounds of diamonds. This is the position when the last one is played:

8 4
K J 8 7
Q 9
West East
A Q J 5 7 6
10 6 Q 9
10 8 J 5 4 3
K 10 9
A K 7 2

When declarer cashes the last diamond West can discard from all three suits – let’s say he chooses the five of spades. When dummy discards a spade East cannot afford a heart or a diamond, so must part with a spade. Now declarer exits with the nine of spades. West wins and must play a heart or a club.

On a heart declarer simply wins with the king and clears the suit. On a club declarer wins with dummy’s queen, cashes the king of hearts and exits with a heart leaving East endplayed.

In passing I should mention the Rabbi’s guardian angel was on hand on this deal, persuading West to lead the ace of spades against the ambitious contact of Six Diamonds. Now East could not stand the pressure exerted by five rounds of diamonds.

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