Watch Your Step Carefully by Nikola Tcholakov (BUL)

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It is really a good advice for the declarer not to hurry after the lead when dummy goes down. Don’t be mislead by a world champion who immediately touches a card from dummy.

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Nikola Tcholakov

Nikola Tcholakov

It is really a good advice for the declarer not to hurry after the lead when dummy goes down. Don’t be mislead by a world champion who immediately touches a card from dummy. Be sure that he had already made a plan for the campaign but in a couple of seconds only.

Dealer West All Vul.

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

You are South here fighting for the d’Orsi Trophy at the World Championship in Chennai in 2015 and the bidding goes this way (dealer West, all vul, layout rotated for convenience):

The Auction:

West North East South
Pass Pass 1 2
*3 Pass 3 Pass
Pass Double Pass  4
End

*3 is explained to be fit showing jump bid – long diamonds and heart support.

West quite surprisingly leads 10, not a heart. Looking at dummy you might be little disappointed because you might make 11 tricks if K is onsite.

So you grab the lead and attack trumps?

Not at all, just don’t hurry! Be aware that while thinking about 11 tricks you might finish down one with 9 only.

From the bidding you should recognize that collecting 11 tricks is dubious because East as an opener looks more like a man with a king of spades.

So be ready to lose the lead twice in the process and the only way to save a diamond looser is West to have only one entry along with his long diamonds.

It is vital therefore to immediately start attacking defenders’ communications. Take the first trick and play a heart, not trump. They will no doubt continue diamonds but you are safe as long as East started with only two which is very likely.

Now it is time to knock out both the ace of trumps and the king of spades to dispose your diamond looser while West remains a helpless bystander of the events.

You probably realized that you have no chance if West happens to have the trump ace and East carefully underleads his hearts after the king of spades. But please don’t ask me what actually happened at the table in Chennai in 2015.

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