Monday, December 1, 2008

Making the right inference

Lynn Deas, playing with Beth Palmer, made the right inference, and thus found a nice play on this deal from the Women's Team Trials (held in Raleigh NC) in May, 2004:

A 3 2
9 8 3
A Q 8 6
K J 10 5 9 7 6
5 2 K Q J 7 6
10 9 6 5 7 3 2
10 9 2 K 7
Q 8 4
A 10 4
Q 8 4
J 5 4 3
North South
Palmer Deas
1 1NT
3NT Pass

1 was artificial and showed 16+ high-card points.

West avoided leading a spade. That would have given up the ninth trick immediately. Instead she led a low diamond which Deas won in hand to lead the 3 to the queen and king.

East shifted to the K, then the Q and another heart as declarer held up until the third round.

At this point, Deas realized that East had a good five-card suit and the K, yet had not overcalled. Therefore, she decided to play West for the K.

Deas cashed her tricks in the minors, coming down to only spades in each hand with three tricks to play:

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

Declarer led a low spade from dummy and ducked to West who had only K J 10 left, and was endplayed.

Notice that if West discards the 10 and keeps K J 5, Deas can still work her magic. When the spade is led from dummy, East must rise with the the 9 to try and prevent the endplay. If East does this, Deas can counter by covering the 9 with her queen. Now the spade return from J 5 will run to Deas' 8 for the game-going trick. Bridge is so beautiful.


  1. Beatiful game, beatifully played. However, could there be some reason to play a spade after making 2 heart tricks and partner signalled an even number (presumably)? Seems automatic to me.

  2. Yes, spade shift would work. Not sure why East continued hearts with no entry unless she was trying to act like she had the missing card (and trick Deas).