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Christmas Quiz Hand 2020
4th Jan 2021 16:15 GMT
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Christmas Quiz Hand 2020
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Christmas Quiz Hand 2020

You are declarer in 4S after this auction.  West leads the club ace and continues with the king and queen, east following.

Recommended solution: 

This contract is almost bomb-proof, barring a very unlucky combination which some entrants went to great lengths to anticipate!  For example, a diamond void in the west hand could produce a ruff and 4th trick for the defence because declarer should take out only one round of trumps initially.

7 natural trump tricks plus 3 more from finessing/forcing the red suits = 10 tricks.  Losers are 2 clubs, 1 heart and 1 diamond = 4 losers.  Should declarer draw trumps and stake all on the diamond finesse?  That is bound to fail, as east is marked with the diamond king and heart ace since the dealer, west, passed with his 9-10 HCPs.  A better plan is to end-play east who holds those two critical cards.  That end play will only work if declarer retains the spade jack in dummy.

Ruff the third club, with relief that west did not find a diamond lead or switch!

Cash the spade ace at trick 4 and then run the heart 9 (8 from dummy) round to east (the jack could be with west, so maximise your chances!).  If east has to win his heart ace, you now have two diamond discards available on dummy’s hearts, after drawing trumps.  East can only get off lead safely with a trump, so win in dummy and dump the losers.  If east won trick 5 with his jack, he still has to exit with a trump to declarer’s jack, setting up a ruffing finesse of the heart KQ, plus the diamond entry still in tact.

Some entrants drew trumps early, so failed with a diamond loser at the end.  Others delayed trumps, but did not remove one round at trick 4 before playing the heart 9.  Everyone except the winning entry overtook with dummy’s heart king, but that only works if you kept that critical spade jack in dummy.  The good news is that all entrants correctly placed the missing ace and king with east and saw the option for an end play.  Well done to all five entrants, especially to Geoff Cordingley who produced by far the best analysis.

Last updated : 4th Jan 2021 16:15 GMT