ACES ON BRIDGE
For anyone who hasn’t already wasted far too much of his or her life wondering why Deep Finesse never makes amistake, some of its conclusions can initially be jaw-dropping. What do you think is par for North-South on this deal from the second qualifying session of last November’s Kaplan Blue Ribbon Pairs? A quick check of losers suggests that it should be easy to score plus 110 in diamonds, clubs or a major-suit part-score— or plus 400 in three no-trump.
Nothing, however, is ever as easy as it looks. Sure, there are nine tricks, but try taking them on the Garozzo play— an opening diamond lead to disrupt the communications. If you win the diamond ace and cash the hearts, the defenders will have a heart and four black-suit winners to cash.
If you win the diamond ace and play a club, planning to unblock the high clubs from dummy to create a low-club entry to hand, then West plays low, and East takes the club queen and can exit with anything but a spade. When declarer plays a second club, West wins and shifts to a spade. Declarer puts up the spade king, and East plays low. Now declarer is locked in dummy to lead a black card, and the defenders can cash out.
The same basic variations apply if declarer wins the diamond king at trick one to play a high club. West wins to play a spade, East plays low and declarer cannot unscramble his tricks.