Friday, September 18, 2009

Kelsey error? -- Solution

From Wednesday:

Game All.

10 7 6
K J 9 8 7 5 3
K 4

A 10 2

A K 10
A 9 7 5 2

West North East South
All Pass

Lead: Q. You win and both follow to the A. Plan the play.

Kelsey says (in APAB) that playing for the ♠Q to be onside is unlikely to succeed and recommends playing West for ♠A, ♠Q, J, and at least 2 club honors. After running 6 hearts you reach this position:

10 7 6

K 4


K 10
A 9 7

On the last heart, pitch the ♠K and West has to give up his next to last club (he's holding onto ♠AQ and Jx, thus only one club; remember you started with ♠J). Now cash the ♣K and finesse the 9.

A nice enough guard squeeze without the count, but it seems to me it's possible to do better...

In the same end-position, just cash ♣K, the last heart pitching a club, and ♣A. If you still haven't seen a spade honor pitched, then the J should be dropping. If you have, exit a spade to endplay West into conceding 2 diamonds.

Conceivably West might pitch ♠Q and keep a low one, but this doesn't help: when you exit a spade and he wins ♠A and plays another, the 10-7 in dummy will win the last 2 tricks. If it's still possible for East to have 3 spades to the 9 or 8, that means there are 5 spades outstanding in the 3 card end position and your diamonds are good (so you don't exit). So East is squeezed also: he can't pitch all his diamonds or you will have no guess, so has to pitch down to 2 spades. You won't know what your last 2 tricks are when you exit ♠K, but you'll know you have 2 coming.

Both lines assume the spade and diamond honors are with West, but the guard squeeze line requires guessing who has the last club honor. More importantly, this line doesn't require any particular club holding with West and so must be superior.

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