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

This hand, re­ported to me by Khokan Bagchi, was easy to bid. The 2NT re­bid was 18- 19 and 4D was mi­nor­wood.

4NT showed two key­cards with­out the queen of trumps and South bid the di­a­mond slam. West led the 2C, which was third or fifth best, and de­clarer played the 10C which held. Be­fore read­ing on, con­sider what card you would play at trick two?

The se­cret to the trick two play is see­ing the line for twelve tricks. De­clarer played a trump to the ace in­tend­ing to play an­other trump. Af­ter two rounds of trumps, the con­tract is cold on any 2- 2 or 3- 1 trump split since de­clarer can just play win­ners and take ruffs and the de­fender with a third trump can ruff at any time but there is no fur­ther de­fence. It’s not cor­rect to play to the 9D since, if that loses and you draw two more trumps, you need hearts to be 3- 3 which is only 36 per cent. If you don’t draw the third trump, you are ex­posed to an over ruff in later play. To your hor­ror, West dis­cards a club on the AD and you need a trump end­play to make 6D.

The re­quired three card end­ing is shown in the sec­ond diagram. On the third last trick, North plays a small di­a­mond, East wins but is end­played into re­turn­ing a trump.

We can reach this end­ing with two dis­tri­bu­tions. If East is 2443, we can ruff two hearts and one spade to set up the end­play. If East is 3343, we can­not ruff two spades since we won’t have 3 trumps for the end­ing. We need to fi­nesse East for the king, ruff the third spade and one heart be­fore the end­play. Which line should you take?

The an­swer, of course, is to com­bine the lines. Play KH, AH and ruff a heart. If they are 3- 3, go to the KC, take the spade fi­nesse then AS, AC and a spade ruff be­fore the end­play.

If the hearts are 2- 4, then play AS, spade ruff, KC, 2nd heart ruff, AC ( throw the last heart) and ruff a spade to ef­fect the end­play! I will leave the other 4- 0 split to you as an ex­er­cise!

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