presents     Professor IMP's Weekly    Master Class  #9       To Prof. IMP Index

Prof IMP 
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'How could I know?' 
Professor IMP's season usually starts in April, when he attends the charming tournament of Estoril, Portugal. In the very last round of the team event as dummy, Professor IMP saw one of his students falter against Jorge Castanheira, the Portuguese number one player.
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S/NS
J 4 3 
Q J 6 4 
10 9 7 5 2
 
-      ---
e A K 10 3 
A 5 
A 9 8 5 
A K 4
  
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WEST----  
Jorge 
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Pass 
Pass 
Pass 
Pass 
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NORTH 
Prof IMP 
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2 
31)  
3NT 
 
EAST---  
- 
- 
Pass 
Pass 
Pass 
SOUTH 
Student 
2 
2NT 
32)  
Pass 
 1) Puppet Stayman 
 2) at least one 4-card but no 5-card major 
 
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Castanheira led a 3rd/5th-best 2, for the queen and the student made his plan. He could, of course, set up the clubs, but with a slow entry in diamonds and an expected quick switch to hearts, he rejected that line of play. Moreover, as he only needed three diamond tricks he played the Q at trick two. Castanheira won with the king and after quite a while he switched to the 2. Without much hope the student tried the jack, which was indeed covered by East's K. Declarer ducked and took the continuation of the 10, as West contributed the Q.
The student realized that the only danger was that he might not pick up the diamonds because of a 4-1 or a 1-4 split. He therefore cashed a high club first - maybe the Q-J were bare. However, when everybody followed low he returned to diamonds. He reasoned that asWest was likely to have five spades, East, according to the space theory, was favorite to have length in diamonds. Consequently, he played a diamond to the queen and went down:
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S/NS
J 4 3 
Q J 6 4 
10 9 7 5 2
  J 9 7 5 2 
  Q 6 2 
  K 10 7 2 
  8
8 6 4 
K 10 9 8 7 

Q J 6 3
e A K 10 3 
A 5 
A 9 8 5 
A K 4
 
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'How could I know this was the layout?' the student asked his tutor. 'Well, actually you missed the correct play, young man,' Professor IMP replied. 'After the first high club, you should have cashed the other high club as well, and you would have discovered that West started with a singleton club. West's cogitating before switching to hearts and his unblocking the Q strongly suggested he started with three hearts at most and therefore was likely to hold diamond length. So, after the second top club you just cash your A, finesse against West's 10, and claim nine tricks.'


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