Vancouver Sun



This week’s deals are based on over­tak­ing plays, to­day’s ex­am­ple show­cas­ing the most pro­saic mo­tive for the tech­nique.

South’s short-suit hon­ors jus­tify his de­ci­sion to treat his hand as bal­anced by open­ing two no-trump. To­day, open­ing one di­a­mond would prob­a­bly have led to his reach­ing the cold di­a­mond game.

West at­tacks from length, choos­ing a low card to un­block the suit in case East has honor-dou­ble­ton. De­clarer has eight tricks on top and, given time, could work on the di­a­monds for more, but this lead has hit his weak spot — the de­fense would come to three spades and two di­a­monds be­fore de­clarer could garner nine tricks. So, South should play on hearts. A 3-3 split would work, but de­clarer should look to aug­ment his chances fur­ther than that 1-in-3 shot.

South takes the lead in hand, leav­ing the spade king as the en­try to dummy’s hearts, then leads out the heart king. When the eight drops on his right, an ad­di­tional chance arises. De­clarer over­takes the queen on the next round and, with the ap­pear­ance of the heart jack as well, can then drive out the heart 10 to es­tab­lish the long heart. By the way, the de­fend­ers would do well to drop the heart eight, then the heart 10 (or jack) from a three-card hold­ing here, as would East from an orig­i­nal hold­ing of the dou­ble­ton eight, to en­cour­age the over­tak­ing play. If no sig­nif­i­cant cards dropped, de­clarer would have no choice but to play for an even split and make an over­trick.

“Haste maketh waste.” — John Hey­wood

AN­SWER: De­clarer is surely pre­pared for a di­a­mond lead, which could eas­ily give a trick away. Part­ner will not have much am­mu­ni­tion, and you should there­fore lead pas­sively from your small clubs. The seven is best, a high card to try to make it clear that you have no in­ter­est in the suit.

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