presents     Professor IMP's Weekly    Master Class  #7        To Prof. IMP Index

Prof IMP 
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'Playing against Zia'
"Players like Zia Mahmood have the capability to let their opponents believe whatever they want them to believe," Professor IMP declaired in this week's Master Class, "and even world champions may fall for the magic."
As an example, the Profesor showed a hand from the 14th Cap Gemini Top Tournament, a Butler event which was held in the stately Hotel des Indes in The Hague in March 2000 .
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E/NS K Q 5 
4 3 
Q 9 8 
A K 9 7 2
 
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e A 9 7 3 2 
Q 7 5 
A 10 7 5 
Q
  
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WEST 
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Pass 
2 
Pass
NORTH 
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21)  
2 
Pass 
EAST 
Pass 
Pass - 
Pass 
Pass 
 
SOUTH 
1 
2 
4 
 
 1) 2/1 game force 
 
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In 4 you are bound to lose two hearts and, you hope, one diamond only if you guess the suit right.
West begins by cashing two top hearts and East signals an odd number. Now West switches to the 5 for your Queen. Things look even better now, as they have established your Q as an extra trick. With spades 3-2, all you have to do is to draw trumps ending in dummy in order to cash the two high clubs as your your ninth and tenth tricks.

You play a spade to the King. Your LHO follows with the ten. This card directly affects your original plan. Suppose spades are divided 1-4? In that case you have to finesse against East's trump Jack. But at the same time, you cannot end up in dummy anymore after drawing trumps. What to do?

You decide to cash another high spade from dummy to see what happens. Your LHO - a person called Zia Mahmood from Pakistan, nowadays living in London and New York - follows suit with the Jack. Your RHO follows low. You are sorry that you did not take your original line of play and you try a high club. West follows with the eight and RHO with a nondescript club. You continue with the third high club, but with a big smile Mahmood ruffs and returns a heart, whereafter you have to concede a diamond for down one.
"Still, not an unreasonable line of play," remarked the student. "A little unlucky that clubs were divided 2-5 and that LHO was Zia Mahmood." The student remembered that he watched the hand being played by Rosenblum Cup winner Lorenzo Lauria from Italy, who went down in similar fashion.

"Unlucky?," his student's superficial analysis caused Professor IMP's face to turn red with anger. "The bidding, young man, the bidding! White against red, with a good five-card hearts and the K, an agressive player like Zia no doubt would have entered the auction right away with a 2-overcall. But  he passed in the first round. So it's pretty certain that East, and not West possesses the K. Therefore, after cashing the first high trump the correct way to garner ten tricks is to play the Q from dummy!'
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E/NS K Q 5 
4 3 
Q 9 8 
A K 9 7 2
  J 10 8 
  A K 10 6 2 
  J 4 2 
  8 5
6 4 
J 9 8---- 
K 6 3 
J 10 6 4 3
e A 9 7 3 2 
Q 7 5 
A 10 7 5 
Q
 
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