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Subtle Play

Posted by Peter Gill on Wednesday, 30 October 2013 at 20:40

The very last board of the SNOT qualifying was a beauty.  On Bd 20 of Round 9, Andrew Richman opened 4S, all pass. He held AKQ7643, void, 72, 10743. Dummy had 92, AJ10, AKQ43, 843. North leads CA. Plan the play. Does it matter what declarer does? It seems to make no difference, but subtlety by declarer might induce a defensive error. Clue: your RHO is a top expert. If your RHO is not an expert, you have no chance! 

In another match, Griff Ware opened 4S, North doubled for take-out, East passed and South went into the tank. He emerged with 5H, doubled by Michael Wilkinson for plus 1400, coupled with 4S -1 at the other table. The 17 imp swing to Wilkinson on their very last board put them in the semi-finals, just 1 VP ahead of the Bloom team who ran 5th. In the Bloom vs Hans match, both Wests played in 4S down one when four rounds of clubs were played for the over-ruff.

Back to Andrew Richman. The subtlety is to play C7 on the first club then C10 on the second club. When North continued with CQ, South went into the tank. If declarer's pips were true cards, an uppercut with SJ is the best defence if declarer has only 2 clubs and partner has something like KQ doubleton in trumps. Most declarers who falsecard tend to drop a high club on the first round then a low one on the next round. C17 then C10 does not look like a 4 card club holding. Ruffing can cost only if declarer has 4 clubs. Too much thinking? Well, it worked. The expert South fell for Andrew's club pip coup and ruffed the third club, trying for a trump promotion. 620 to the Richmans.