Not by the Book


Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 03/01/2014
Level: Intermediate

This deal was played by my friend, Kerri Sanborn (an ACBL hall-of-famer), in the round robin of the 2013 Venice Cup in Bali, Indonesia. I planned to use it in my May, 2014 ACBL column, but when I submitted it, I was told that Debbie Rosenberg wrote up the same deal for the March magazine and they couldn't use it twice.  Oh well.  At least I can publish it on my own website.  In third seat, with both sides vulnerable, Kerri held: 

 ?AK1032
?AKQ4
?J105
?Q

 

 

 

 

After two passes, she opened 1?, raised to 2? by her partner. RHO now overcalled 3?. On her way to the spade game, Kerri tried 3?--if her partner raised to 4?, that would be a better place to play, opposite something like: ?865
?J10764
?A6
?K42
.

 

Her partner jumped to 4? (when you see dummy, you will wonder why), and everyone passed. A low club was led and you have to plan the play here:

 

?J954
?J83
?972
?A65
 
?AK1032
?AKQ4
?J105
?Q

Given RHO's overcall, it doesn't seem right to try to run the low club lead to your queen. You win the ?A and try trumps. Everyone follows to the ace, but on the king, RHO shows out. Now what?

 

You might as well try the hearts. If LHO started with 3 or more, she will have to follow to the first 3 rounds--then on the 4th round you can throw a diamond loser from dummy.

 

It might not seem like much, but the way you run the hearts is crucial. At the other table in the match, declarer made the "book" play of "honor from the short hand first." She led to the ?J and then back to the high ones in hand. LHO, who started with a doubleton, ruffed the 3rd round and shifted to a low diamond to collect 3 tricks for the defense. Look at the full deal:

 

 

Vul: Both
Dlr: North
?J954
?J83
?972
?A65
 
?Q76
?75
?KQ864
?1043
  ?8
?10962
?A3
?KJ9872
  ?AK1032
?AKQ4
?J105
?Q
 

So, what did Kerri do? She played the hearts in a non-standard, yet more deceptive manner. She laid down the ace-king and then led low towards the jack in dummy. LHO didn't want to spend her ?Q on what looked like a trick her partner might be winning. In fact, if declarer had started with: ?AK1032
?AK94
?A53
?Q
, ruffing the heart loser with the good trump would be the only way to let the contract make.

 

West fell for the deception and discarded on the third round of hearts. Now, Kerri ruffed a club to hand and led the fourth round of hearts with decisive effect. Plus 620 and a 12-IMP gain for her efforts.

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