How Would you Play? by Milton Work

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West opened with her fourth best Spade, and Declarer played the…

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Source: Collier’s March 27, 1927colliers

Contract: 3NT by South

The Play     

West opened with her fourth best Spade, and Declarer played the 10 from Dummy, hoping that the lead had been made from Queen-Jack and that the 10 would take an extra trick.

But East plays the Q and South has to play an honor to take the trick. South, with eight Clubs in her two hands, planned to finesse to catch the Q, but not on the first round. So in leading Clubs to trick 2 South knew that she would not finesse that time, but she led the J just as if intending to do so. In the first place she hoped that the Q would be played by West; in the second, she needed four Club entries in the Dummy hand. By leading the J and covering with the K in Dummy she was left in position to put Dummy in as often as possible. The fall of the Q from East on Dummy’s K was a bit of good fortune.

Needing all Dummy’s Clubs for entries, Declarer did not continue Clubs immediately, but led a Diamond, selecting that suit rather than Hearts, as it was longer and stronger. With the 2 led from Dummy, East playing the 7, South finessed the 10. This play was sound because, with the double tenace (Ace-Queen-10) , the double finesse (i. e., the play of the 10) should be taken unless Declarer has nine cards of the suit in her two hands.

When the 10 won, the Declarer pursued her good luck farther by leading the 10 from Closed Hand, overtaking with the A in Dummy. Then a second Diamond, on which East played the Jack and South the Queen. It now looked as if the adverse Diamonds were evenly divided ; so to the succeeding trick South led the A and obtained the break for which she was hoping.

To trick 7, South led the 8, overtaking with the 9 in the Dummy; and to trick 8 the thirteenth Diamond from Dummy, discarding the losing Spade from Closed Hand.

The next step was to try the Hearts and, when East played small, Declarer’s best chance was to finesse the 9.

When the 9 forced the King, South could not be positive as to the outcome because West would have false-carded by playing King from King-Queen. To trick 10, West naturally led a Spade which South won with her last Spade and then led her final Club (the 6) from Closed Hand, winning with the Seven in Dummy.

The Declarer had won ten tricks, so she was justified in leading a Heart from Dummy to trick 12 and finessing; her game was safe and a slam probable. When the finesse won, the slam became an accomplished fact. Although a slam happened to be in the cards, South would not have dared to bid for it even if she knew that North had the Ace and King of Clubs; to make it the Queen of Clubs must be captured and East must hold the King and Jack of Diamonds, the 10, and one of the two high Heart honors.

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