The Plan XXIX by Tim Bourke

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The bidding was identical at both tables in a team match, with both South players a little optimistically superaccepting the transfer. It was somewhat surprising that neither South player bid three notrump to suggest a 4×3 shape along the way to four spades.

By Tim Bourke
On 16 December, 2016 At 12:39

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Tim Bourke
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IBPA Column Service example 833

Dealer South. All Vul.

 J 10 9 6 4 2
 A J 5
 8
 A J 6
 5
 10 9 8
 J 9 6 5 4
 8 5 4 2
    7 3
 Q 7 4 3
 A 10 7 3
 Q 10 9
 A K Q 8
 K 6 2
 K Q 2
 K 7 3

The Auction:

  West North East     South
 —  —     2NT
 Pass  3 Pass     4
 Pass  6  End

The bidding was identical at both tables in a team match, with both South players a little optimistically superaccepting the transfer. It was somewhat surprising that neither South player bid three notrump to suggest a 4×3 shape along the way to four spades.

Anyway, the contact was a good one with ten top tricks, an eleventh available in diamonds and multiple prospects for a twelfth. The opening lead was the same at both tables, the ten of hearts. The first declarer played the jack of hearts as a ‘free’ finesse.

It proved not to be so when East covered with the queen. After winning the first trick with the king of hearts, declarer cashed the ace of trumps, then crossed to dummy by playing the eight of trumps to dummy’s jack to lead a diamond. East played low because he knew from the auction that declarer had to have both the king and queen of diamonds. Consequently playing the ace would give declarer two tricks.

After the king of diamonds held, this declarer cashed the king of clubs, then played a club to the jack. When East produced the queen of clubs the contract had to fail as declarer still had to lose a trick in hearts. The second declarer reasoned that the jack of hearts might be more useful if preserved and demonstrated that as long as East held the ace of diamonds the contract was all but assured.

After winning the first trick in hand with the king of hearts, declarer drew two rounds of trumps ending on the table. When he led a diamond from the table, this East also found the best play of withholding the ace and declarer’s king of diamonds won the trick.

After ruffing the three of diamonds, declarer returned to hand with a trump to lead the queen of diamonds. However, instead of ruffing it, declarer threw dummy’s six of clubs. East was now endplayed. A heart or a club would give declarer his third trick in the suit led, while a diamond back would see declarer ruff in hand and throw the jack of hearts from dummy. Declarer would then make six trumps, two hearts, a diamond, two clubs and a ruff in hand for a total of twelve tricks.

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