Ig­nore points when fi­nesses work

Cecil Whig - - COMICS & PUZZLES - By Phillip Alder

Al­dous Hux­ley, an English nov­el­ist who died in 1963, said, “Facts do not cease to ex­ist be­cause they are ig­nored.”

In to­day’s deal, it is a fact that North-South had only 19 high-card points between them, but that didn’t stop South from tak­ing 10 tricks in a spade partscore. What do you think of the auc­tion? How did South win 10 tricks af­ter West led the heart queen? East’s open­ing bid was no thing of beauty, es­pe­cially op­po­site a passed part­ner, but he was bid­ding his best suit, and no one passes with 12 points these days. Af­ter South’s thin over­call, West made a text­book neg­a­tive dou­ble, show­ing hearts. North had a near-max­i­mum pass and would of­ten have cue-bid two clubs to show a strong spade raise, but his hand was re­plete with losers, so he sen­si­bly set­tled for two spades. When this came back to West, I think he should have dou­bled for take­out again, plan­ning, if East bid three clubs (as he would have), to con­tinue with three di­a­monds to show 4-5 in the red suits. This would prob­a­bly have failed by one trick. Two spades al­most played it­self. South won the heart-queen lead with his king, drew trumps end­ing in the dummy with the aid of the win­ning fi­nesse, and led the club jack, which con­ve­niently pinned West’s 10. South lost only one heart, one di­a­mond and one club.

Af­ter­ward, West said that next time he would lead his club. Then it could go: club to the ace, club two (his low­est card be­ing a suit-pref­er­ence sig­nal for di­a­monds) ruffed, di­a­mond to the ace, club ruff.

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