Rectifying the Count By Jay Becker

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Let’s say you’re in six no-trump and West leads a spade. You start with eleven tricks and the problem is to find a twelfth.

By Ana Roth
On 1 April, 2017 At 13:28

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Ludington Daily News – 1 Dic 1971

South dealer. Both sides vulnerable.

Opening lead-jack of spades.

Let’s say you’re in six no-trump and West leads a spade. You start with eleven tricks and the problem is to find a twelfth. There are two obvious sources for this trick. One is in hearts, the other in diamonds—and you are missing the jack of each suit. You can hope that one or both suits will be divided 3-3 or that the singleton or doubleton jack will appear — In which case cashing the A-K-Q will do the job-or you can plan the play so as to finesse against one of the jacks later on if developments indicate that this would be the proper thing to do.

In order to make an intelligent judgment on whether or not to finesse eventually, you should try to assemble all the information you can about the opposing hands. In line with this, you win the spade lead in your hand and return the deuce of clubs!

Conceding a trick at this point is sure to simplify the play later on. As it happens, the effect of this early concession of a trick: is that you wind up making the slam almost automatically. West falls into a squeeze and you don’t have to knock yourself out trying to guess whether or not to take a finesse against either jack.

West wins the club with the nine and, let’s say, returns the ten of spades. You win with the king and cash the A-K of clubs and ace of spades, on which West must make two discards. He can afford the first discard, a diamond, but on his next discard he must relinquish either a heart or another diamond. Which one he chooses does not matter; you acquire a fourth trick in that suit and thus take the slam.

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