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June 2, 2002
Its All in the Timing and Defensive Vision

Its All in the Timing

This hand came up in a recent class. You are in 3NT after this auction:

West North East South
1NT
Pass 2club.gif (841 bytes) Pass 2diamond.gif (837 bytes)
Pass 3NT Pass Pass
Pass      

West leads the heart.gif (841 bytes)7.

  North
spade.gif (842 bytes)864
heart.gif (841 bytes)AK42
diamond.gif (837 bytes)J4
West club.gif (841 bytes)Q1098 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)??? spade.gif (842 bytes)???
heart.gif (841 bytes)??? heart.gif (841 bytes)???
diamond.gif (837 bytes)??? diamond.gif (837 bytes)???
club.gif (841 bytes)??? South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)???
spade.gif (842 bytes)KQJ
heart.gif (841 bytes)63
diamond.gif (837 bytes)KQ52
club.gif (841 bytes)AJ53

Plan the play.

Defensive Vision

This time you are East on defense. The auction proceeds:

West North East South
1diamond.gif (837 bytes) Pass 1spade.gif (842 bytes)
Pass 2NT Pass 3spade.gif (842 bytes)
Pass 4spade.gif (842 bytes) Pass Pass
Pass      

Partner leads the heart.gif (841 bytes)J.

  North
spade.gif (842 bytes)J108
heart.gif (841 bytes)KQ
diamond.gif (837 bytes)KQJ86
West club.gif (841 bytes)AQJ East (you)
spade.gif (842 bytes)??? spade.gif (842 bytes)52
heart.gif (841 bytes)??? heart.gif (841 bytes)A854
diamond.gif (837 bytes)??? diamond.gif (837 bytes)A75
club.gif (841 bytes)??? South club.gif (841 bytes)10765
spade.gif (842 bytes)???
heart.gif (841 bytes)???
diamond.gif (837 bytes)???
club.gif (841 bytes)???

Plan the defense.

Answers:

Its All in the Timing

The first thing to realize is that you just cannot make the hand without working on the club suit. If a defender just cashed the diamond.gif (837 bytes)A you would still only have a chance at 2 spades, 2 hearts, 3 diamonds, and 1 club.

If the club.gif (841 bytes)K is favorable then you will still need three tricks from the pointed suits (spades and diamonds). As long as hearts are 4-3 then no real problem exists. The danger is in a 5-2 heart division.

Win the heart and lead a top club from dummy.

If the club finesse is successful, then repeat it. Win the third club in the South hand (with clubs 3-2) and lead a small diamond toward the diamond.gif (837 bytes)J. If East holds the diamond.gif (837 bytes)A, she cannot continue the attack on hearts which provides you the time to attack spades. If West holds the diamond.gif (837 bytes)A she cannot play it without giving you 3 diamond tricks. Once the diamond.gif (837 bytes)J holds, shift to spades to get the needed tricks.

If the club finesse is unsuccessful, then you will only survive if East holds both remaining aces. Lead a diamond toward the diamond.gif (837 bytes)J and then lead spades.

If West holds the club.gif (841 bytes)K along with any ace then you cannot make the hand.

The complete hand:

  North
spade.gif (842 bytes)864
heart.gif (841 bytes)AK42
diamond.gif (837 bytes)J4
West club.gif (841 bytes)Q1098 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)952 spade.gif (842 bytes)A1073
heart.gif (841 bytes)J9875 heart.gif (841 bytes)Q10
diamond.gif (837 bytes)97 diamond.gif (837 bytes)A10863
club.gif (841 bytes)K76 South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)42
spade.gif (842 bytes)KQJ
heart.gif (841 bytes)63
diamond.gif (837 bytes)KQ52
club.gif (841 bytes)AJ53

Defensive Vision

You can take two tricks, but where are the other two coming from if you are going to defeat 4spade.gif (842 bytes)? You have only one natural heart and one natural diamond. The club suit offers no hope irrespective of where the club.gif (841 bytes)K resides.

Partner must have a trump trick if you are to have any hope.

Three possibilities exist for a fourth trick:

1- Partner could hold two natural trump tricks.
2- Partner could hold a singleton diamond.
3- Partner could hold a doubleton diamond.

If #1 is the case, then what you do matters little.

If #2 is the case, then you play the diamond.gif (837 bytes)A and another diamond.

If #3 is the case, then you lead a small diamond so that when partner wins a trump trick she can lead a second diamond to your diamond.gif (837 bytes)A to score the ruff.

Which is more likely case #2 or case #3?

Look back at the auction. South rebid 3spade.gif (842 bytes) over North’s 2NT. With four diamonds and five spades South more likely would have rebid 3diamond.gif (837 bytes). Also, partner may have well led a singleton diamond. Case #3 is the most likely.

Return a small diamond at trick two.

The complete hand:

  North
spade.gif (842 bytes)J108
heart.gif (841 bytes)KQ
diamond.gif (837 bytes)KQJ86
West club.gif (841 bytes)AQJ East (you)
spade.gif (842 bytes)K43 spade.gif (842 bytes)52
heart.gif (841 bytes)J10763 heart.gif (841 bytes)A854
diamond.gif (837 bytes)42 diamond.gif (837 bytes)A75
club.gif (841 bytes)832 South club.gif (841 bytes)10765
spade.gif (842 bytes)AQ976
heart.gif (841 bytes)92
diamond.gif (837 bytes)1093
club.gif (841 bytes)K94

-Gary King
 

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