A Tricky Trick One

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 06/27/2009
Level: Advanced

This deal is from the 2009 Las Vegas regional.

Vul: West
Dir: Both
?9 4
?A 10 9 3
?5 3 2
?7 6 5 4
?Q 8 3 2
?J 7 6
?K J 10 9 3
?K J 7 5
?A Q 10 9 8
?A Q 2
  ?A K J 10 7 5
?Q 8 6 4
?K 4

 I held the South cards and made a play that I've never seen before.

East opened 1? and I overcalled 1?. This was passed back to East who doubled. I redoubled to show extras and West's 2? came back to me. I tried 2? which bought the contract:

 Pass Pass 1?  1?
 Pass Pass Dbl  Rdbl
 2?  Pass Pass 2?
(All Pass)      
West led the ?2, obviously (from the auction) a singleton. If I played low from dummy, I knew I would be defeated. East would win the ?K, issue a heart ruff, and have the entries to issue two more heart ruffs--I'd lose the first 6 tricks.

What about winning the ?A at trick one?

Also no good. I'd have to start trumps. The defense would be able to play minors at me.  I'd never have time to develop a second heart trick. For example, say I win the ?A and play trump. When West gets in he plays clubs, tapping me. I draw trump, but never have time to develop anything other than 5 spade tricks, the ?A and the ?K. 

After trying all the possibilities in my mind, and realizing they all fail, I came up with a good idea. I glanced at the opponents' convention card and noticed that they lead LOW from three small. This gave me a chance. I played low from dummy at trick one and casually dropped the ?Q under East's king! Put yourself in East's shoes.

The lead (?2) now looks to East be from xxx.  Declarer has unblocked the ?Q from ?Qx. East fell into my trap. He couldn't figure out that the lead was a singleton. He did not play any more hearts--ever. East went into passive mode--thinking he had the hearts stopped. This is just what I needed.

East shifted to a trump which ran to West's queen. West played a diamond to East's ace and East still did not get the message. He continued diamonds. I won, drew trumps and now had the timing to set up my extra heart trick. East looked shocked when West showed out on the second heart. I ended up with five spades, the ?K and two heart tricks to make 110. As the title says, it was a tricky trick one.