My pen must have gained some extra superdimensional mass, I haven’t been able to pick it up lately. But this weekend teams season starts, so hopefully I can dig up some stories (or my muse) then. Here’s a nice play by Hoek.
Dummy hits the table and you’re surprised, 5 is near cold.
There are ten tricks and all you have to do is find the Queen of for +400. Go get your looking glass and trenchcoat and play the detective. You know, snoop around a little, acquire your intel from smelly people in dark alleys and smoke a lollipop. Do you feel like Columbo already? West starts with a small for East’s Ace and three seconds later the Queen greets you with a faint smile.
Okay, let’s take an analytical stroll together. The points are divided evenly, so you can assume East’s jump to game is based upon distribution instead of sheer point power. If West has raised on a three card East holds seven of them. Distributional power? Put check mark here.
One round of trumps extracts all enemy trumps, you proceed with a ruff and exit in for East’s Ten. The Jack also tries to claim a trick but you ruff it. Take the finesse now? There’s no rush, you can postpone it. Let’s see what happens if you drop your trumps on the table, here’s the layout on the penultimate one:
Is there more information about distribution? Both opponents have a stiff . East is holding seven . And the way he played the suit… I would bet East to hold a 7-2-3-1. That leaves a 3-5-4-1 for West. Estimated hands and point count do comply with the bidding. Another check mark.
The answer is easy: West gets squeezed out of his third on the final trump, for he has to guard the 8 in dummy. And East is known for holding two at most. So there’s no need to finesse. You can just play Ace-King and kiss the Queen hello. "Darling! I’m thrilled to see you show up after all!"