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A tough 3N

#1 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2024-February-11, 00:49

You’re playing online (Realbridge, a far better interface/experience than BBO but, in fairness, not suitable for casual play) in the qualifying stage of the Canadian National Team Championship…essentially our team trials.

I was dummy but could see the problems because I could see partner’s hand but not those of the opponents…iow ihadcexactly the information partner had.

I may have the small spots wrong, but the shape and every card higher than a 7 is right.
I may have the small spots wrong, but the shape and every card higher than a 7 is right.


We don’t play puppet…not a method I like over 1N and we have a very complex, non standard response scheme into which puppet wouldn’t fit. Thus, while I feared 4H might be better, I had no meaningful way of finding out and I wasn’t strong enough to bid 3C. 2H, btw, denies spades.

The opening lead was the diamond 4, ostensibly fourth best.

Ok, be declarer with me.

If diamonds are 4-3 we have 8 winners and chances for a 8th in three suits…but going after anything but hearts could lead to disaster.

We don’t want to cash top Diana’s, find out they are 5=2, having set up two winners for the bad guys. Plus we don’t want to be pitching from dummy early. So we duck west’s 10.

He continues and we win the ace, East echoing to suggest a 5 card suit.

Again, there’s no point testing them yet…what would we pitch? As it is, we pitch a low club.

Heart to the King and ace and back comes a small club!

From a skilled defender that suggests the King….else why play a card that we might win with the queen or even Jack.

West plays the queen. There’s no real point in ducking

In dummy, with no sure retry to dummy, you play hearts but east pitches a spade. Oh well.

Things aren’t looking good but when you do cash a diamond, you’re pleasantly surprised wh en west shows in. Now you have 4 diamonds, 2 hearts, a club and a spade. Your plan?

West pitches a useless small heart. No way is west holding the now stiff club king…he’d never switch to clubs from Kx. Not in real life.

Ok, we infer that he is 2=5=3=3


What do you pitch on your last diamond? Hint…..think very, very deeply into the position.


If you’ve read it correctly (spoiler alert…you have) you must pitch the heart! It’s essential to keep Qxx Jx in the blacks.

West has to come down to a stiff club or spade.

At the table he pitched a spade but there was no defence. However, pitching a club would really test declarer’s focus.

If he keeps 2 spades, declarer has to play his club, ducking.

Say west wins and leads a spade. The odds are 5-2 (roughly, there are other inferences to consider) that east has the king.

We have the perfect counter…win the ace and cash the heart jack.

We have x x void voiid and, prior to playing to this trick, east has Kx x


If he throws his club, so do you and lead a spade. If he stiffs his spade to keep the club x, you do as well….he wins the spade king and gives you the club Jack!

My partner is a better declarer than I am and if I could see this as dummy. So could he. Of course he’s the one under pressure!

I’d like to say this is how it went but in fact west pitched a spade. Now the spade A finishes him….partner cashes the heart Jack, throwing a spade and stuck west in to lead away from (or cash) the club King
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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