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« Ben Goes to China! | Main | Redux »

August 15, 2012


Rainer Herrmann

You write

"The defenders were one step ahead and should have kept up their club force every time they gained the lead."

This may be right on general principles.
But the contract makes on any defense and the ending is pretty.
Say East forces declarer with a club.
Now declarer plays heart ace and king and ruffs the third heart dropping the queen from West and ruffs another club.
Declarer has made 8 tricks (3 club ruffs in hand, one heart ruff in dummy and 4 tricks in the red suits). In the 4 card ending declarer leads his high jack of hearts, needing 2 more tricks.
West needs to ruff with a trump higher than dummy, say with the spade ten. (dunmmy discards his remaining club).
In the three card ending everybody has 2 trumps remaining, the defenders each a club and dummy and declarer a diamond.
Since a club ruff would give declarer 2 tricks, West must play a trump and declarer ducks to make the last 2 tricks!
If West discards a heart on the third diamond the ending is different but declarer can still come to 10 tricks.
In fact declarers best line is to play a dummy reversal without establishing diamonds.
The play should go:
club ruff, diamond queen, club ruff, diamond ace, club ruff, heart ace, heart king, heart ruff, club ruff, spade ace and declarer has ten tricks.
This requires the diamond finesse and that clubs and hearts break, but no assumption about the heart queen.


Mr. Herrmann: In five years of doing these things, I have never had
as insightful and intriguing commentary as you provided. I reported the
deal as it was played—actually by my partner. When I sent it to my editor,
I referred to the deal as a piece of fluff. On the contrary, you saw so
much more in how it could have been played in an alternate scenario, and how it
should have been played to increase its chances of success.

Thank you. I am including my second look at the
deal with your insights, and another example hand to show the possibilities of a
trump elopement. I hope my revisit of the deal meets your approval.

John Koch

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