Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLES - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

The auc­tion in this hand is not dif­fi­cult. South opens a stan­dard 2NT show­ing 20-22 points and North asks for a five card ma­jor. This pair were us­ing Mup­pet Stay­man rather than Pup­pet Stay­man. This method sim­ply in­ter­changes the 3H and 3NT re­sponses of Pup­pet Stay­man. The ad­van­tage is that when opener de­nies any four or five card ma­jor, re­spon­der has two bids avail­able: the sig­noff in 3NT and the 3S bid. This is used to show a game forc­ing hand with five spades and four hearts and is a much sim­pler so­lu­tion to this prob­lem hand. You can’t trans­fer to spades and then bid 4H be­cause you are too high and might not have a fit. It’s also much sim­pler than any other method that can find five and four card ma­jors. Here, when South shows no five or four card ma­jor, North sim­ply signs off in 3NT. West now leads the ten of hearts show­ing the in­te­rior se­quence as one of the op­tions. There are nine top tricks if the di­a­monds break but you need to get over­tricks to score well in pairs. How will you pro­ceed?

The club suit should be left for the op­po­nents open since it is a top or bot­tom de­ci­sion with no clues to help. Thus, the spades need to be played. The first thought is to take the spade fi­nesse. This will win 50 per cent of the time when the queen is on­side and will pro­duce a sec­ond over­trick one third of the time when the suit is also 3-3. How­ever, if the fi­nesse fails, the sec­ond heart lead will re­move the late en­try to spades and there will never be any over­trick! The alternate plan is to play the ace, king and jack of spades. This will only get two ex­tra tricks from the small chance of Q10 dou­ble­ton but it will make one over­trick when the spades are 3-3 or there is a dou­ble­ton queen or ten. That all comes to 60 per cent which will pro­duce a bet­ter match point score. So, cash two di­a­monds to see if they are com­ing down be­fore play­ing AKJ of spades. If the di­a­monds don’t split, con­cede one and try the spade fi­nesse but avoid that fi­nesse oth­er­wise.

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