2007 Trials Deals 1

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 06/02/2007
Level: Intermediate to Advanced

In the 2007 Team Trials Round of 16, my opponent, Lapt Chan, played this hand beautifully:

Vul: None
Dlr: West
?10 6 5
?K J 8 7 6 2
?9 8
?8 6
?4 3
?9 5 3
?K Q 7
?A Q J 9 3
  ?J 7 2
?Q 10 3
?10 5 4 3 2
?5 2
  ?A K Q 9 8
?A J 6
?K 10 7 4
Larry   David Lapt Chan
1?* Pass 1?** X
XX*** Pass 2? 3?
Pass 4? All Pass  

*Precision (Could be short)

**A bit of a semi-psyche

***3-card heart "support"


Our (East-West) actions were a bit strange-looking, but the final contract was normal. In fact, most tables in the event reached 4? by South, down one.

What can declarer do with all his minor-suit losers? Surely, he has to lose at least a diamond and two clubs, but he has an extra diamond and two extra clubs to deal with. One loser can go on the ?K, but declarer can't ruff any clubs in dummy (East can overruff).

Anyone with double-dummy software (such as "Deep Finesse") will see that the hand can be made. Although it was defeated at the other table in our match, Lapt played the hand as if he could see all four hands. A trump was led (best) and declarer won the ?8 in hand and played the ?J. This kept RHO off lead (or he would have played a club through for two club tricks and a club overruff). I won a high diamond and continued with a second round of trumps.

At this point, declarer cashed his red aces and ruffed a diamond with dummy's last trump. On the ?K, he threw away a small club, keeping ?K107. He ruffed a heart to hand (a key play) and drew the last trump.

Now, I was down to only clubs. Declarer exited with the ?10 and I had to win and give him a club trick for his contract.

Note that declarer not only timed the hand perfectly, but made the pretty plays of both the ?J and ?10 out of hand, both for the right reason at the right time. This gave his team a well-earned 10 IMPs.