Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Test Your Play -- solution

♠ A J 7 4 3 2
A 10 2
♣ J 4 2
♠ 10
A K 10 6 4 2
K Q 9 5
♣ 10 7

Pass 1♠ Pass 2
Pass 3♣ Dbl 3
Pass 4 All Pass

Let's say the defense starts 3 rounds of clubs as you ruff (LHO started with Axx; for purposes of this problem you can assume RHO has 5 clubs) and all follow to the Q. Now what?

As discussed yesterday, I crossed back with a low diamond to play 2 more trumps, RHO pitching a club on the 3rd round. That left this ending:

♠ A J 7 4
A 10
♠ 10
10 6
Q 9 5

It seems like you basically have to pick up diamonds, and that playing for 3-3 or Jx is best, but I figured that I didn't have to do that right away. So, I tried A (both follow, no J), ♠A and ruffing a spade. RHO followed with the king and the eight. Seems awfully likely that he has KQ87, so I exited my last trump, pitching the blocking 10 and endplaying LHO.

The main hint is "the blocking 10". Say I had unblocked that card at trick 5, leaving a very slightly different end position:

♠ A J 7 4
A 2
♠ 10
10 6
Q 9 5

Now you have a much better option: ♠A, spade ruff, A, spade ruff.

Case 1: LHO follows to 3 spades, and must be 3=4=3=3, so cash your diamond and concede trick 13.

Case 2: LHO only has 2 spades. Now she has 2 losing options: overruff and lead a diamond into your tenace, or pitch a diamond, allowing you to complete your elopement.

But, I think you can do better still. See below.

Basically, if RHO shows up with heart length, you'll probably regret unblocking 10. So, I think the best line is to not touch diamonds, but cross back to hand with a spade ruff. Now if LHO shows up with heart length, play along similar lines. If RHO shows up with heart length, then if he had a stiff spade play for 3-3 diamonds. If not, play K and hook 10. If RHO started with 2425 with both red jacks, you'll go down.

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