presents     Professor IMP's Weekly    Master Class  #11       

Prof IMP 
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'Disciplined Habits' 
It was a humid, hot Monday night. Professor IMP and one of his students were playing in the team championships at Hok, a strong bridge club in Amsterdam. The place was crowded and muggy. The temperature was approaching forty (degrees Centigrade, that is), which encouraged people to drink gallons of beer. Playing with his guru, the student was well aware that alcoholic beverages where out of the question, and consequently, excercising considerable discipline, he resigned himself to sipping iced tea all evening. Fair enough, as it kept his brain cool. This next hand required disciplined bidding and declarer play.
K 10 5  A K 9 2  K Q 8 7 5 3

In first position, the student opened with 1 and received the inevitable 1-response from the professor. In view of the misfit, 2 or 3 would be overstating things a little, so the student simply rebid 2. The professor raised with an invitational 3 and the student tried the picture bid of 3. Professor IMP now bid 3 - 4th suit forcing - which was doubled by East. The student passed, awaiting further developments. After 3, he was at the cross-roads. It could be 3NT if partner held the A, or even 6. Uncertain if 4 was still forcing, the student closed the auction with a jump to 5, against which West somewhat surprisingly led the A.
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S/Both K Q 7 6 4 
J 8 2 
J 3 
A 10 4
 
-      ---
e
K 10 5 
A K 9 2 
K Q 8 7 5 3
  
- 
WEST----  
-
- 
Pass 
Pass 
Pass 
Pass
Pass
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NORTH 
Prof IMP 
- 
1 
3
3 
3
Pass
EAST---  
- 
- 
Pass 
Pass 
Double
Pass
Pass
SOUTH 
Student 
1 
2 
3
Pass
5
 
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After the A,West led another heart to the jack, queen, and king. The contract is a cinch if the trumps split 2-2, as a diamond ruff will provide the eleventh trick.
However, with a doubleton diamond East might spoil the party. For example, you cash the K and when everybody follows low, you cash two high diamonds and ruff the third diamond in dummy. With an original holding of three trumps East will overruff and return a trump. In the end, declarer will lose another diamond.
With an original holding of two trumps, East might overruff dummy's ten with the jack and give his partner a heart ruff.
Alternatively, you might ruff the third diamond with the A, cross to your hand with a spade ruff and ruff the fourth diamond with the 10. Still, East might overruff with the jack and give his partner the good old heart ruff.

So, what to do? The student found a different line. At trick three he crossed to dummy's A and led the K. Honoring Zia's Bols Tip ('When they have it, they cover'), East covered with the ace and South ruffed. To get a better idea of the distribution, the student did well to cash the 10 next. West was allowed to ruff, but the contract would be safe. West either had to give dummy a spade trick for a diamond discard, and declarer would ruff a diamonmd after drawing the last trump. Alternatively, if West were to exit with the last trump, South would ruff a diamond and cash a spade trick next. However, West did not ruff, but discarded a spade instead. So, it very much looked as if East had started with five hearts, three clubs, probably three spades and therefore two diamonds.

The student cashed a high trump on which West pitched a diamond and on the next high club, West discarded another spade. At this point it looks as if a small diamond to the jack would do the job. That would work if West possesses the Q or if the 10 will drop doubleton or third. In fact, that's how the student continued. Professor IMP found an slightly better line:
'First cash a high diamond, in case East has the Q bare. If East follows low, play a small diamond! In with the queen, West is endplayed. He has to give dummy a spade trick or lead into South's diamond tenace.'
'Still, I like your play, young man,' Professor IMP added, 'You see, disciplined habits lead to good results.'
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S/Both K Q 7 6 4 
J 8 2 
J 3 
A 10 4
  J 9 5 3 2 
  A 6 
  Q 10 7 6 5
  6
A 10 8 
Q 9 7 4 3 
8 4 
J 9 2
e
K 10 5 
A K 9 2 
K Q 8 7 5 3
 
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Needless to say that the declarer at the other table went down in the same contract when he tried to ruff the third diamond. The story did not mention the drinking habits of the unlucky declarer...