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

There is al­ways a temp­ta­tion to re­lax when a good dummy comes down as here. How­ever, it is still very im­por­tant to form a plan be­fore play­ing to trick one or trick two, as it is here since you will win the first trick per­force. West led the jack of spades and de­clarer took this in hand with the queen and counted three spade, two heart, two di­a­mond and one club trick and so only needs to de­velop one more trick. De­clarer de­cided to try for the 3-3 heart break, club fi­nesse and some of the 3-3 club splits: about 84 per cent. So, de­clarer ducked a heart im­me­di­ately. East won the trick with the nine of hearts and ex­ited with the queen of hearts. De­clarer took this in hand and led a club to dummy’s queen and East’s king. East now played an­other heart to dummy’s queen and the first two parts of the plan had failed. De­clarer now needed the clubs to be 3-3 with West hold­ing the jack and so he played ace and an­other club. When East won the jack, de­clarer fin­ished down two. So what had he done wrong?

In this par­tic­u­lar in­stance, de­clarer might have suc­ceeded by end­play­ing East in hearts to lead into the ace-queen of clubs. How­ever, that would not have worked so well had East’s red­suit dis­tri­bu­tion been re­versed.

There is a bet­ter method of ap­proach­ing this hand and that is by tack­ling the club suit as safely as pos­si­ble for two tricks.

Af­ter tak­ing the first trick with the queen of spades de­clarer should play a small club towards the ace-queen. If the jack ap­pears, fi­nesse the queen but, oth­er­wise, just put up the ace and lead a small card towards the ten. If it loses to West’s jack, lead towards the queen when next in. This way of tack­ling the club suit wins two, or more, tricks 94 per cent of the time, los­ing only when West had Jx of clubs. If you needed three club tricks, al­ways fi­nesse the queen – if it wins, cash the ace next – if it loses, lead small towards the 10. There are other ways to play this club suit e.g. with the 10xx in the hid­den hand, lead­ing small away from AQxx will make it very dif­fi­cult for East to duck with Kx!

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