Edmonton Journal - - FEATURES - BOBBY WOLFF

“If economists could man­age to get them­selves thought of as hum­ble, com­pe­tent peo­ple on a level with den­tists, that would be splen­did.”

— John May­nard Keynes

The 2001 Cavendish In­vi­ta­tional pairs com­pe­ti­tion fea­tured a num­ber of well-played hands. This deal saw two de­clar­ers fol­low sim­i­lar routes to suc­cess.

Guido Fer­raro, play­ing with Gior­gio Duboin, de­clared six hearts on the auc­tion shown.

After a spade lead, Fer­raro cor­rectly as­sumed that East’s jump to game — with what ap­peared to be a Yar­bor­ough and only four trumps — ar­gued strongly for short­ness in hearts.

So he made the crit­i­cal play when he won the king and cashed the di­a­mond ace and king be­fore lead­ing a heart to the queen.

This ma­neu­ver is some­times re­ferred to as the Den­tist’s Coup. It had the ef­fect of ex­tracting West’s trou­ble­some dou­ble­ton di­a­mond. Ac­cord­ingly, when West won the heart ace, he had to re­turn a black suit. That let de­clarer cross to hand to fi­nesse in hearts and make his slam.

Note that if de­clarer had not cashed two rounds of di­a­monds, West could have won the heart ace and ex­ited in di­a­monds, lock­ing de­clarer in dummy.

Peter We­ich­sel and Rose Meltzer reached the same con­tract on a broadly sim­i­lar auc­tion where East had also raised spades ag­gres­sively. We­ich­sel re­ceived the spade queen lead and played the hand sim­i­larly to Fer­raro, with one very slight re­fine­ment. He won the spade king, cashed the di­a­mond ace and king, then played the heart 10 (un­block­ing, to fa­cil­i­tate later com­mu­ni­ca­tion) to his queen and West’s ace. Again, West had to con­cede a black-suit en­try to the South hand, al­low­ing him to take the heart fi­nesse through the open­ing bid­der.

AN­SWER: It is tempt­ing to pass for penal­ties, but the trump spots re­ally do not feel good enough to me. Give me the heart 10 in­stead of a low heart, and I might con­sider that ac­tion. I’d pre­fer to bid one notrump and try to win the event on the next deal.

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