Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kelsey error?

[I posted this deal to in 1995]

In the Pressure Play section of Kelsey's _Advanced Play at Bridge_, he gives the following problem:

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

(I guess preempts were a bit more reliable then.)

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

Kelsey's solution below, my solution later this week.

Kelsey says 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 trumps hearts you reach this position:

10 7 6

K 4


K 10
A 9 7

On the last trump 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 (triple) guard squeeze without the count, but it seems to me it's possible to do better.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I was assuming that your alternative line was to run Hearts then cash King of Clubs, Ace of Clubs while coming down to S:K D:KT in your hand. LHO has to either bare his Ace of Spades (and be endplayed into leading away from the Jack of Diamonds) or give up his Diamond guard. But, this requires guessing at the end. Whether guessing is better odds than LHO having two out of three clubs honors, I have no idea.

    (In your summary of Kelsey's line, you mention trumps a couple of times despite the contract being 6N.)

  3. Fixed, thanks.

    Playing for the guard squeeze requires guessing at the end, too. LHO might have 3 club honors.

    In your line, there's no guess unless the SQ is pitched and there's still a risk of the 7 not holding up.

    Solution coming soon.

  4. In Kelsey's five-card ending, LHO could come down to


    instead of


    and RHO can hold onto a diamond so as not to give away the show. So, yes, there is a guess.

    I had overlooked the Ten of Spades in dummy when I suggested my line required a guess at the end. If the Queen of Spades gets pitched on the run of the hearts, it is easy to set up a spade trick. If the Queen of Spades is thrown under the Ace of Clubs, I don't think there is a guess. If LHO has Ax of Spades and RHO has kept three Spades (so that the Seven doesn't hold up), there is only one space for the opponents to hold a Diamond so declarer can just take two diamond tricks.