presents     Professor IMP's Weekly    Master Class  #10         To Prof. IMP Index

 - 'Merely Speculation'
In one of his classes,  Professor IMP was dealing with defensive problems. He came across some practice material, used by the Dutch Open Team on its way to the European Championships in Montecatini in 1997, which included this problem.
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 W/both K Q 9  K 7 4 A K Q J  J 6 3 6 4  Q J 10 5 3 10 9 3 2  A K e

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 WEST   Pass  Pass Pass  Pass NORTH 1   2NT 3 Pass EAST Pass  Pass   Pass  Pass SOUTH  1  31)  4

West led the K and East followed with the deuce, showing an odd number in the suit. West continued with the Ace, in their methods showing Ace-King bare, to which everybody followed suit.

'Take it from here,' Professor IMP instructed one of his students.

'If I interpret partner's count signal correctly, declarer is bound to have three clubs or perhaps even five. So, if I can reach him rightaway, he can give me a club ruff,' the student replied. 'So I put my faith in partner having the A and shift to a heart. However, I have to be extremely careful which heart I play. To lead the Q would be wrong if declarer holds a stiff heart only. Partner might not read the position and decline to overtake the queen if declarer plays low from dummy. And even if declarer were to cover with the K, partner might persist with another heart.'
The student continued his reasoning. 'To avoid all these complications I would continue with the J, denying the queen. Now it must be clear for partner to win the ace and switch back to clubs. Sometimes you have to help him a little bit.'

'Merely speculation, young man!', Professor IMP retorted. 'Why are you so certain that partner has theA? Apparently you did not notice the club he played to the second round of clubs.
You tried to help him? Well, he has already helped you by playing the 10 to the second round of clubs: a suit preference signal for the highest remaining suit, spades!'

Indeed, a spade switch was necessary:
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 W/both K Q 9  K 7 4 A K Q J  J 6 3 6 4  Q J 10 5 3 10 9 3 2  A K A 5 3  8 2----  8 5 4  Q 10 9 5 2 e J 10 8 7 2  A 9 6  7 6 8 7 4

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