Friday, April 3, 2009

We'll never know

The International Bridge Press Association, called the IBPA for short, has a monthly newsletter, edited by Canadian John Carruthers, that is a rich source of interesting bridge deals.

Here is one of them from the March newsletter:

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

West North East South
3 Dbl
Pass 4 Pass 6
All Pass
A maniac escaped from a local mental health facility. He picked up a partner, entered the tournament, and held the south cards. After the final pass, the men in white coats appeared and took him away. You were kibitzing and were relieved to see the white coats weren't there to get you! Just sayin'.

The Tournament Director now persuades you to fill in as declarer after the lead of the K. The contract looks hopeless, to say the least. You assume West would have led a diamond if he had one. Do you give up, or do you see some hope by assuming East has at most two clubs?

After you win your A, you should play the A and low to the 10. Next, you can ruff a club and play two more rounds of trumps. This is the ending:

8 5
10 4
10 8 7
Q 10 7 6 3 J 9 4
-- --
-- Q J 8 7
Q J --
A K 9 2
After you play the J, discarding a club from dummy, East has to release a spade. If he discards a diamond instead, you can play A K and another, making your 9 good. East discards a spade, therefore. Your counter to that is to play the A K and exit with a low diamond to the 10. When East wins it, he is left with the Q 8 7 in front of your A K 9.

Do you see why you had to ruff a club? If you don't, East can save two spades, three diamonds and one club as his last six cards. When he wins the diamond, he has a club to lead to West.

Would the maniac have bid slam without the 9? We'll never know, will we?

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