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A Lighter Look

WRONG SUIT, MY LADY.

The term “A Lighter Look” has been applied literally this week. One “look” and you have made your contract…and another you are soon to go light!

You have one of the finest hands you have held for some time:

Spade-small A

Heart-small AK

Diamond-small AKT98

Club-small AKJ73

and open a Precision Club. Partner does not have too much, 7-9 hcp which is quite a lot bearing in mind your hand.  You are able to ask him his exact shape and  find out something about his honour cards. 5 clubs, 3 diamonds, 2 hearts and 3 spades… and he holds the Spade-smallK and Diamond-smallQ among his assets. He must have more, probably that Diamond-smallJ (as no black suit queen...indeed just that Diamond-smallQ) . It looks like just about a claim for at least 14 tricks. So, you decide you will not extend yourself and only try for 13 and to get an extra imp or so, have a go at 7NT.

Partner makes some comment that you must have a good hand as he lays down dummy on the lead of the Spade-smallQ:

Spade-small K83

Heart-small J3

Diamond-small QJ4

Club-small 98542

You would not want your right-hand opponent to have all three missing clubs but otherwise, there seems no impediment to a quick claim.

There was! Even though clubs were 2-1! Somehow, that Diamond-smallQ looked a bit out of place or slightly the wrong shape for a diamond!

After a few nervous seconds, partner had to pick up the Diamond-smallQ and put it in its rightful place, with the hearts!

Suddenly, the claim could not be made. The board turned from a claim to a nightmare!

 

Board 20
West Deals
Both Vul
A
A K
A K 10 9 8
A K J 7 3
10 9 4 2
9 8 5 4 2
3 2
Q 10
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q J 7 6 5
10 7 6
Q 7 6 5
6
 
K 8 3
Q J 3
J 4
9 8 5 4 2

 

2 spade tricks, 3 in hearts (thanks to the “queen shift”) 5 in clubs and 2 top diamonds added up to 12. The 13th had to come from diamonds but East could comfortably throw all their spades and came down to Diamond-smallQ7. Julie delayed the inevitable but there was no successful finesse at trick 12. 16 imps out as the opponents were in 6Club-small. 13 imps in had Julie bid 7Club-small or had the Heart-smallQ stayed with the diamonds.

That’s an awful lot of imps on a slight mis- view of one’s hand. For those of you longing to learn who Julie’s partner was and for the benefit of Patrick Carter, here are the two cards:

H Q.jpg                                          DQ.png

Can you spot the difference? It’s worth knowing if you want to avoid a bad swing of 29 imps on a board.

Richard Solomon

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