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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Deep Thinking from a Master,
by Jim Kaplan

Leo Sartori reports:

“Board Seven On December 16 was interesting. South was dealing, with both sides vulnerable.”

Sartori recreated the hands from memory:

S J x x
H x x
D x x
C Q J x x x x
S x S A K Q x x x
H A K J 10 x x H 9
D 10 D A Q J x x
C A K x x x C x
S x x x
H Q x x x
D K x x x x
C x

A typical auction might have proceeded as follows:

South West North East
Pass 1H Pass 1S
Pass 2C Pass 2D•
Pass 2H Pass 2S
Pass 3C Pass 6NT
All Pass

• Fourth suit forcing to game — does not necessarily show diamonds

“Most of the room was in 6NT, making,” Sartori continues. “But against Roger Webb and Art Franz, East-West were in 7NT. Roger (South) led a spade, figuring this was the least likely to cost a trick. This leads to an interesting finale. When East runs the spades, South discards three diamonds; North drops three clubs; West throws three clubs and two hearts. Now declarer takes the heart finesse and cashes the top hearts and top clubs. South is squeezed; he has to hold on to his heart queen, so he must go down to the blank diamond king.

“There are two points to be made:

“1) Many Norths will hold on to their club queen and carelessly drop a “worthless” diamond. If North does that, declarer has a complete count on the suit after North follows to the 12th trick. She can confidently play the ace, making seven.

“2) If North holds on to both diamonds, declarer is at a guess at Trick 12. But she knows that diamonds were originally 5-2; the king is more likely to have been with the longer suit, so she should still go up with the ace. She didn’t do it against Roger and Art, and went down two.

“After a club lead, the play would proceed in a similar manner.”

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