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

Some­times a tech­ni­cally in­fe­rior play can land a con­tract be­cause it is dif­fi­cult for the de­fend­ers to re­alise what is hap­pen­ing. This hand from a tour­na­ment in Cannes is a good ex­am­ple. Two hearts was an ar­ti­fi­cial force and 4C was a splin­ter and NS quickly reached the com­mon spade slam. West led the KC and South won the ace. It seems clear to set up the di­a­monds but there are some hid­den dif­fi­cul­ties in do­ing this. How would you pro­ceed?

The sim­plest line is AD, di­a­mond ruff, club ruff, di­a­mond ruff, AS. If the di­a­monds are 3- 3, the suit is set up and de­clarer just draws trumps, en­ters dummy with a heart and cashes the long di­a­monds. Of course, the di­a­monds were 4- 2 and a com­mon line was to duck the fourth di­a­mond to avoid short­en­ing the trumps any more. If West con­tin­ues an­other club, de­clarer is de­feated no mat­ter which hand he ruffs in. Can you im­prove on this?

Reese noted two bet­ter op­tions. One is to take the dis­card on the third round of di­a­monds and this cer­tainly works here. He sug­gests the best line is to duck the first di­a­mond and sub­se­quently ruff di­a­monds with­out cash­ing the ace early. This re­duces the chances of an over ruff. This is all very in­ter­est­ing and the idea of duck­ing the first di­a­mond is not one that will oc­cur to many play­ers. Still, can you see any other line of play which avoids all th­ese com­plex­i­ties?

Cover the East and South hands and imag­ine you are West lead­ing the KC. When it holds, what will you do next? Even if you have some ar­range­ment for suit pref­er­ence when dummy is sin­gle­ton, it is likely that you will con­tinue an­other club, isn’t it? It needs a trump switch at trick two to stop the cross­ruff. He­mant Lall sug­gested this line when we were dis­cussing this hand, from the ex­cel­lent The Hid­den Side of Bridge by Reese and Bird, over din­ner.

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