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Tales of Akarana

   When entries are at a Premium.

We do not always get the dummy of our dreams, do we? One in particular this week was both a trump and an entry short on requirements! Sometimes, the opposition will come to our rescue but that is not something we can rely on. So, take a look at the following:

Board 20
West Deals
Both Vul
   
Q 5 3
A J 10 9 5 3
A Q
Q 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
A K 8 4 2
8 6
J 3 2
8 7 5
West North East South
1  2  Dbl Pass
3  Pass 4  All pass

 

Partner muttered something about it being worthwhile to be in a vulnerable game if it makes as dummy went down. Maybe, though, it was not just dummy but the contract which was going down! “Nice trump support, partner! Thanks, nice hand!”

North led the top two clubs with South following showing a doubleton. At trick 3, North switched to the Spade-smallJ. If North has 3 or more hearts to two honours, there is no play. If one defender has Heart-smallKQ doubleton, then you are in a great position to make 10 tricks. Yet, say the honours are split or South has KQx, what then?

Can you make your contract? You could win the spade in dummy and run Heart-small8 and return to dummy when North wins the lead…but you will not be able to enjoy the spade suit or even take the diamond finesse. You are an entry short to dummy to do all you want. What can be done?

If South has KQx, then you need to win in dummy and run that Heart-small8. All will be well. However, all will not be well when North, the overcaller, who is likely to hold a heart honour, wins the first round of trumps. There is, though, a good solution. Win the first spade with the queen in the West hand…and lead a low heart, playing for North to hold just two hearts.

Take a look at the four hands:

Board 20
West Deals
Both Vul
J 7
K 2
8 6 5
A K J 6 4 2
Q 5 3
A J 10 9 5 3
A Q
Q 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
A K 8 4 2
8 6
J 3 2
8 7 5
 
10 9 6
Q 7 4
K 10 9 7 4
10 9
West North East South
1  2  Dbl Pass
3  Pass 4  All pass

 

If North rises with the Heart-smallK, and plays a second spade, declarer still has two entries left in dummy (Spade-smallAK), firstly to take the trump finesse and then to enjoy the spade suit (for a diamond discard). North’s best chance is a smooth duck, not the easiest when West produces an unusual medium heart. The duck would mean West would have to guess to play the ace on the second round of trumps.

Another line which was likely to succeed was to take the diamond finesse when in dummy at trick 4 and then play trumps as above from the West hand, though this line required an extra successful finesse.

The three players in 4Heart-small all made their contracts though the hand records do not record whether they succeeded all by themselves or whether North assisted by switching to diamonds.

There was no guaranteed line of success but this unusual play of leading trump from hand other than the ace was quite likely to succeed as North was more likely to have shorter hearts than South by virtue of the overcall.

Thus, not for the first time, bidding a rather doubtful vulnerable game was a winner. All East had to do was bid game: West had their work cut out to make it!

Richard Solomon

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