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

This hand is from the Bobby Evans Se­nior Teams at the Spring Na­tion­als in Sydney. The auc­tion to the best spot is sim­ple with South show­ing a hand in the range 18-19 and North offering a choice be­tween the heart game and the no trump game. The 3H bid shows ex­actly five hearts for the mo­ment but with a sixth card, North will cor­rect 3NT to 4H. The open­ing lead is the 6S and the first is­sue is whether to put the 10S up or not. What do you think?

If East has the AS then South has two stop­pers so de­clarer needs to take care of West hav­ing it and hav­ing led fourth best. This means West would hold AJ86 or AJ96 or A986 (and per­haps a fifth card), so which is it? The an­swer is that you can’t tell but two of the hold­ing con­tain the jack and one doesn’t so, a pri­ori, it is twice as good to rise with the 10S. This card holds and East plays a count card. He does not need to sig­nal at­ti­tude since he can­not beat the ten! Now how will you pro­ceed?

De­clarer now has two tricks in each of spades, di­a­monds and clubs and one in hearts and needs to de­velop two more. Clubs can only pro­vide one but hearts and di­a­monds both might pro­vide two. If the di­a­monds are played first and the QD is on­side, the con­tract al­ways makes. If the fi­nesse loses, there are some resid­ual chances such as a dou­ble­ton QC or strip­ping the mi­nors and hop­ing to end­play the per­son with the long spades to lead away from the heart king. The other chance is to lead to­wards the QH at trick two. If the king is on­side and ducked, de­clarer changes to play­ing di­a­monds to guar­an­tee the con­tract. If East rises with the king, de­clarer can un­block the hearts and, when in with the KD, can try for hearts 3-3 be­fore fall­ing back on the di­a­mond fi­nesse. If the KH is with West, de­clarer can fall back on two di­a­mond fi­nesses. As usual, com­bi­na­tion of two chances in the cor­rect or­der is the best line but you need to be care­ful at trick one so that you have two stop­pers in spades.

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