The Star Democrat

Count to find a ninth winner

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By Phillip Alder

This deal from the short list of the best played of last year was declared by four experts in three no-trump, but only Cedric Lorenzini from France made it.

What do you think of the auction?

Maybe you feel, as I do, that South underbid slightly and North overbid. However, Edgar Kaplan’s 4C’s evaluation method -- Caution, Complex Computer Count -- rates the South hand at only 13.45 points. He really dislikes unguarded queens. (Switch the spade jack and the club six, and the hand’s value jumps to 14.15.) In contrast, the North hand, held by Thomas Bessis, is rated at 12.55, giving the partnershi­p a combined 26 points.

West led an attitude club four, saying that he had strong clubs, but giving no count in the suit. Lorenzini won with his queen over East’s jack, cashed the diamond ace and led his second diamond, getting the bad news when West discarded a low heart.

After a considerab­le timeout, declarer won with dummy’s king, cashed the heart ace and played a heart to his king. With eight winners (one spade, four hearts, two diamonds and one club), Lorenzini needed another black-suit trick. With both that in mind and to break the communicat­ion between the defenders, South led the club 10. West won with his king and cashed the club nine to tell East what was happening in that suit, but then he had to shift to a spade. Lorenzini won East’s queen with the ace, cashed his heart winners ending on the board and, in desperatio­n,

played a spade to his jack.

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