Choosing the Right Line of Play III by Jay Becker

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Declarer is often confronted with a choice of several methods of play. Photo: Spingold del año 1952 John Crawford, Howard Schenken; George Rapee, Sam Stayman, B. Jay Becker

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On 9 May, 2015 At 10:23

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Spingold del año 1952 (sentados) John Crawford, Howard Schenken; (parados) George Rapee, Sam Stayman, B. Jay Becker
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The Hour – Apr 21, 1990

Declarer is often confronted with a choice of several methods of play. Obviously he should try to select the most promising one, but it is not always easy to find the line of play that offers the best chance.aa

Consider this deal where West leads a heart against three notrump and declarer wins East, Jack with the ace. What should South do next?

It would be clearly wrong to try a club finesse at this point — first because the contract would be in great Jeopardy if it lost, and second, because the club finesse can be taken just as well later on.

The proper suit to attack initially is diamonds. If the suit divides 3-2 (the normal expectancy), South is sure to score at least 10 tricks without risking the dangerous club finesse. Furthermore, he has a much better chance of finding the diamonds favorably diveded than of finding West with the king of clubs.

However, despite the decided advantage of attacking diamonds rather than clubs, it would be wrong to lead a diamond at trick two. The correct play by declarer is a low spade to the ace followed by a low diamond from dummy.

After East follows low, as he should, South wins the trick with the queen. Declarer must now be careful of his next step. Sheer momentum may cause him to lead another diamond. But this would be a serious mistake (and would be fatal un the actual case because of the 4-1 diamond division).

Instead, South should now take the club finesse because, by doing so, he is sure to make nine tricks even if the finesse loses. But if he leads a diamond from his hand or attempts a club finesse at trick two, or continues diamonds after the queen wins at trick three, it eventually cost him the contract.

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