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Beware of Greeks bearing gifts (Le Bridgeur Magazine n°899 – November 2015)

Article written by Jérôme Rombaut and published in the French magazine Le Bridgeur n°899 on 15 November 2015.

In late September 2015, Jean-Christophe Quantin, Marc Bompis, Cédric Lorenzini and I won the Interclub Challenge.

I am going to tell you about a deal I have played in defence at this event. My opponent was Juliette Venard from Orléans who is a regular player of Funbridge (user name: jumaca). Step into her shoes in South with the 4♠ contract after the following auction:

S N
1S 2S
(1) 3D(2)
4S

(1) Generalised trial bid.
(2) Diamond strength

S 10 7 4
H K 5 3
D A J 10 9
C 8 6 4
S A Q J 9 6
H 9 4
D K 7 3
C A J 7

 
What are you going to play on the club 10 lead to the king? West seems to have led from Q109(x) in clubs. You will need some successful finesses. So you start by playing a low heart to the king. West goes up with the ace and continues with the queen. You take with the king and play the spade 10. West takes the trick with his king and plays club queen and club to your jack.

At this stage, you draw trumps (East discards the last club on the third round). You just have to find the diamond queen to make your contract. Where are you going to look for it?

You know that West holds three spades and three clubs, and East holds two spades and four clubs. Distributions don’t give any information, even if the fact that West has played his heart ace suggests that he has length in the suit and shortness in diamonds. But what should guide you is West’s defence. Indeed, he knew that you held the club jack since with the king and jack, East would have followed with a low card on the 10 lead, knowing that his partner doesn’t underlead the ace. If West hadn’t cashed the club queen but had played trumps, your best chance to win would have been to find the diamond queen in West (to take four tricks in the suit). By giving you one trick in clubs, isn’t West trying to fool you?

Juliette hasn’t followed this reasoning. She hoped the diamond queen would be in the assumed long suit and played diamond to the ace, then diamond jack to my queen second.

The full deals was:

S 10 7 4
H K 5 3
D A J 10 9
C 8 6 4
S K 8 3
H A Q 10 8 2
D Q 2
C Q 10 9
S 5 2
H J 7 6
D 8 6 5 4
C K 5 3 2
S A Q J 9 6
H 9 4
D K 7 3
C A J 7

 
It doesn’t matter. She’ll get her revenge next time we’ll challenge each other on Funbridge!