Lesson hand

                            By Henry Bethe

 

In the fourth round of the North American Swiss a textbook hand came

up with the cards arranged exactly as the teacher would have set them

up. Unfortunately my son Paul has not reached that chapter yet.

Fortunately, neither had his counterpart at the other table.

 

Board 30                    S  J 6 4

Dlr: East                   H  K 6 3

Vul: None                   D  9 4

                            C  10 8 7 6 5

              S  Q 10 8                     S  A K 9

              H  Q J 8                      H  A 5

              D  K J 10 2                   D  A Q 6 3

              C  9 4 3                      C  A Q J 2

                            S  7 5 3 2

                            H  10 9 7 4 2

                            D  8 7 5

                            C  K

 

Both tables reached 6NT by East after East showed a strong balanced

hand. Both declarers won the SQ in dummy to take a club finesse. When

this lost, and the suit didn't split, even a successful heart finesse

couldn't save declarer.

 

Both declarers misplayed at trick 2. There are seven tricks between

diamonds and spades, so declarer needs five more in hearts and clubs

without losing two in the process. There is only one rational way to

play hearts: lead the queen for a finesse. If the finesse loses, three

club tricks will be needed without losing one, so the CK would have

to be with North. But if the finesse works, declarer needs three club

tricks, and there is a much better play available:

 

Cash the ace, then lead towards the queen-jack twice. This wins not

only when the king is onside any number of times but also when South

has the singleton king, the K-10 doubleton, any king third or king

fourth or fifth without the 10. A lot of extra chances -- which you

can't take until you know where the HK is. Since I seem to be citing

Terence Reese this week, I note that he aptly named this a discovery

play some 50 years ago.