Tiny Forces

Hi all

On Monday I played with Drew Hoskins in the Burlingame Regionals. I thought our setup (a 6-bagger consisting of Jason Rosenfeld, Foster Geng, Ari Greenberg and David Grainger) was already a force to be reckoned with, but when I saw Mike Lawrence at the playsite I felt tiny again. If I had known he was going to be there I would have brought half a dozen books for him to sign.

Here’s me picking up eleven imp:

North
A6
KJ9
Q73
T9632
South
J853
A74
A82
AK8

The auction was short: 1NT – 3NT.

I can count six solid tricks, but when East shows out on the small lead I have seven already. I can play truly va banque and finesse in and play a towards the Queen for nine. But I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket.

The finesse is almost unavoidable so I take it immediately. I’m glad to see the Jack wins the trick, that’s number eight.

I’m going to assume East is 4-5-4-0, for he pitched he a small on the first trick. My plan is to remove all of East’s idle cards and then place¬†him to grant a trick to the Queen.

So I continued by cashing Ace and King of and the King, ending in dummy. I got off lead with the Ten of to West. West saw his partner’s pain too on the run of and decided not to cash his last . Instead he switched to the Ten of . I ducked and East won his Queen.

North
A
Q73
9
South
J8
A82

East exited with his remaining small and dummy took it with the Ace. I crossed to my Ace of and put East on lead again with my  Jack, discarding the from dummy. East sighs and grants the smiling Queen a trick. Nine!

South Dealer
– Vul
North
A6
KJ9
Q73
T9632
West
T72
Q6
T65
QJ754
East
KQ94
T8532
KJ94
South
J853
A74
A82
AK8

At the other table declarer was less inspired and collected his eight tricks. I agree the defence looks less than optimal (East could have kept a , for example), but after a long day most players get a little soft. Capable declarers and defenders can and will take advantage of that.

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