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Prof IMP 
-
'ProAm' 
The finals of the 3rd ING Bank Top Circuit are to be played in early June, 2000. Preceding this prestigious event, a ProAm drive had been organized for the last Sunday in May. Thirty-two ING Bank's business friends played in partnership with an equal number of Dutch and Belgian top players. Not surprisingly, Professor IMP was invited to join the ranks of the pros. Board nr. 7 of the first session gave him a chance to display his technical skills. As South he held:
AJ9765 A1032 742

Both sides were vulnerable, and RHO dealt and opened the bidding with a Multi 2. Prof. IMP overcalled 2, LHO passed and North jumped to 3NT. Prof. IMP corrected to 4, which became the final contract. Not doubled, to be precise.

West led a spade and this dummy came in view:
 

- 
E/Both K Q 5 4 

K 9 8 5 
A Q 8 3
 
-      ---
e
A J 9 7 6 5 
A 10 3 2 
7 4 2
  
- 
WEST----  
- 
- 
Pass 
Pass 
 
-
NORTH -- 
Am 
- 
3NT 
Pass
EAST----  
- 
2- 
Pass 
Pass 
 
SOUTH 
Prof IMP 
2 
4 
 
 
 
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 Dummy's King was covered with the Ace, and declarer ruffed. The Professor considered his chances. Though he could pitch one club loser on a high spade, the club finesse still might fail. The trump position could be unfavourable as well. West might well have Queen-ten fourth of trumps. That meant that, together with an almost certain diamond loser, the contract was in jeopardy.

However, Prof. IMP saw some extra chances, but to succeed he had to play it delicately. At trick two he took the club finesse. Alas, East won with the King and returned a club. Dummy's Ace won, and  the club loser was discarded on the Q. Declarer ruffed the third spade in his hand and cashed his two high diamonds ending in dummy, and everyone following. A third club was ruffed, as East discarded a spade, which left the following position:

With seven tricks in the bag already, the last three tricks were easy: 9 to the King and the fourth club ruffed, after which the A was the game-going trick.

'Did you notice the key play, young man?' Professor IMP was addressing himself to one of his students who was kibitzing the play.
'It was imperative to cash the A and K first,' the student replied.
'Exactly. If you ruff the third club prematurely, East gets a chance to discard a diamond.'

Although the Professor played the hand correctly, he received a score of only 60 percent. As the full deal shows, the trumps behaved themselves, allowing the average Am's Poppa Momma approach of drawing trumps and conceding a diamond trick to succeed also:

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E/Both K Q 5 4 

K 9 8 5 
A Q 8 3
  8 7 3 
  Q 4 3 
  Q J 4 
  J 10 9 6
A J 10 9 6 2 
10 8 2 
7 6 
K 5
e
A J 9 7 6 5 
A 10 3 2 
7 4 2
 
- 
 
 

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