Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trumps 5-0? Not to worry

What happens when you are in a small slam, off an ace, and trumps are 5-0? First you take a deep breath, then you try to see what you can do about it.

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


North South
1 2
3 4
4 5
6 Pass

Jonathan Steinberg played this deal in a sectional knockout teams in Peterborough ON (hands rotated). West led the Q. Jonathan won the ace in hand and cashed the A, getting the bad news. He led another diamond to the queen and advanced the 8 which won (covering wouldn't have mattered according to Deep Finesse).

Next Jonathan led the 6 to his queen and advanced the 6. West took his ace (ducking wouldn't have mattered as long as Jonathan put in the J), and exited with a club, hoping his partner could ruff. The king won in dummy and Jonathan paused to consider the layout.

From the fall of the low cards, it looked like his right-hand opponent had two clubs and five diamonds. Were the majors 3-3 or 4-2? Based on his table feel, declarer decided to play for 3-3.

Declarer led the K and overtook with his ace and cashed the J. He led the 10 and overtook with the jack. Next he cashed the K, discarding his good spade to reach a two-card ending. Dummy had a heart and a club, but South had the K 10 sitting over East's J 9.

"Had I played a diamond to the Queen at trick two," said Jonathan, "I could pick up the 5-0 break. But, then there wouldn't be a story to tell!"

The other table played in 3NT, so Jonathan's team won 10 IMPs on the board. One of the players involved said it was a Grand Coup, but that's not the case. A grand coup is a situation in which you trump winners to shorten your trump holding to the same length as RHO. This was an everyday, garden-variety trump coup that you can read about on Wikipedia here or The Bridge World glossary here.

Here's the deal deal presented with BBO's Handviewer:

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