Three Thrones

Hi all

The All Western Pairs went only so-so for Michael and me. The field was pretty strong, but that’s no excuse for all the ridiculous mistakes I made. I was just not on top of my game. This weekend we’ll probably start a new brew, the White House Honey Ale, to time it exactly right for election night (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_Honey_Ale). And… Richard Dawkins is coming to Berkeley for a talk: The Magic of Reality. I got my ticket already.

Here’s a deal from Quick Tricks a couple weeks ago. Nobody was able to defeat the common 4 contract, but the defence has a very nice opportunity. You hear the following auction.

West
North
East
South
 
1
pass
2
pass
2
pass
2NT
pass
4
a.p.
 

Partner (East) leads the 2 (3rd and low). So you have one trick, hopefully two tricks, and trump King must become the setting one. But how do you prevent declarer from finessing twice against your King?

West
KT4
AQ87
A543
65
South
75
KJ43
K9
AJT92

The solution is so clean and clear in it’s simplicity. Duck the first round! That King cannot be allowed to serve as an entry. You smoothly duck (and encourage) and declarer wins with the Ten. Declarer will look for entries to dummy, say he tries a towards dummy. Partner showing an odd number and you know it’s safe to cash both your tricks and the Ace of . A third round of declarer ruffs in his hand. In the double void? Yes sir!

Let’s move to the North seat.

North
AQJ9862
K4
 
 
 
 
South
75
K4
AJT92

You, sitting North, are annoyed by the solid defense so far. But you have another trick up your sleeve. You do have two entries to finesse against trump King if East is holding the Queen. You play the 4 to dummy and finesse against the Queen: entry # 1. Later you can overtake the King for entry # 2. Or can your cunning plan be foiled?

Let’s move to the East seat.

East
3
5
Q876
Q873
South
75
K4
K
AJT92

You’ve led your 2 and it ran around to declarer’s Jack. Then things turned a bit strange… Declarer played a towards dummy, partner cashed out three of his red suit winners and then played a in the double void. But declarer ruffed in his own hand instead of pitching a loser… Nobody has played a trump yet. And then the solution hits you. Declarer tries to get to dummy to take a hook against partner’s presumed honor.

Can East assist somehow?

Yes, by inserting the Queen at first opportunity (second hand high!). That denies declarer a second entry to dummy, and the defence gets the fourth trick they’re entitled to.

North Dealer
All Vul
North
AQJ9862
T6
JT
K4
West
KT4
AQ87
A543
65
East
3
952
Q8762
Q873
South
75
KJ43
K9
AJT92

Declarer on top of his game, and the defence prevailing in the end.
I love this game!

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