End Play Requires Care by Alfred Sheinwold

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You plan to draw trumps, strip the clubs and hearts from both hands, and then lead a diamond …

Alfred Sheinwold
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The Day – Mar 14, 1968

Paul  Lukacs

Paul Lukacs

Today’s hand was constructed by Paul Lukacs, Israel’s great expert, to show how carefully you must strip a hand for an end play. Every serious student of the game should be familiar with “Spotlight in Card Play” and “Single Dummy plays” two classic short books writen by Lukacs some years ago.

Paul Lukacs

Paul Lukacs

West opens a spade, and you look ahead. You plan to draw trumps, strip the clubs and hearts from both hands, and then lead a diamond from dummy for a finesse with the ten.

West wins with the queen but is trapped: If he returns a diamond you get a free finesse and if he returns anything else you can ruff in the South hand and discard dummy’s losing dia mond.

Executing the plan is not so simple.

If you draw trumps first, you can take the top hearts and ruff a heart. But then you cannot get to dummy for the top clubs and the diamond lead. (You can’t waste dummy’s last trump, for then West could get out safely with a club. And you can’t afford to lead diamonds from the South hand since East might have one of the missing diamond honors.)

You can’t play the hearts before drawing trumps for fear of a ruff. You must look twice to find the solution. Win the first trick with a high spade, cash the ace of hearts and lead the eight of spades to dummy’s nine. Then discard two hearts on dummy’s top clubs.

Now you can safely ruff dummy’s low heart. Draw West’s last trump by leading to dummy’s ace of trumps and discard two diamonds on dummy’s king and queen of hearts. Now you can lead a diamond from dummy to finesse with the ten. West wins with the queen of diamonds, and is trapped exactly as planned. Bravo, Paul Lukacs.

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