When one player is known to hold a long suit, any missing card is more likely to be with the partner. Consider this hand where you are declarer in four hearts. West begins with the ace and king of spades with East discarding a club on the second round. What do you do when West continues with a third round of spades?
In essence, you have to decide right now who has the queen of hearts. If it’s West, you ruff with the jack of hearts then draw West’s trumps, finessing if necessary. But if it’s East, you must ruff with the king of hearts and continue by finessing East out of his queen. You can’t know for sure who has the queen but the division of the spade suit is a pretty good guide.
You know West started with seven spades and East just one. That means East has 12 missing cards while West has just six. This makes it twice as likely that East has any particular missing card so you should ruff with the king and run the jack of hearts.
This time you are in three notrumps. West leads a low spade, East plays the queen and you win the king. Including this trick you have eight certain winners so you only need one more. But the trouble is that it will be lights out once you lose the lead, with the opponents lining up their tsunami of spades. How do you continue?
You may as well start by seeing if the clubs break 3-3. If they do the fourth club in dummy will be good. But East shows out on the third round, throwing a diamond. At this point you can place West with six spades and four clubs. This means West started with three red cards against East’s eight. This makes it more than twice as likely that East has any particular missing queen. So you should cash the ace and king of diamonds in case the queen falls in the West hand. When it doesn’t you cash the ace of hearts and play a heart to the ten.
The 2015 Autumn Nationals were recently held in Adelaide.
The Open Teams Mike Doecke, William Jenner-O’Shea, Maxim Henbest and Simon Hinge.
OPEN PAIRS 1 Arjuna De Livera & Bruce Neill 2 Renee & Ron Cooper 3 Peter Hollands & Justin Williams
SENIORS PAIRS 1 David Cherry & David Parrott 2 Dee Harley & Stephen Weisz 3 Peter Chan & Roger Januszke
WOMENS PAIRS 1 Margaret Bourke & Sue Lusk 2 Candice Ginsberg & Barbara Travis 3 Rosemary Grund & Judith Roberts