Jeff Lehman

Spot Cards Speak

North deals.  With your side silent, the auction progresses 1 by North, 1NT (not forcing) by South, 4 by North.

You lead the J and see:

 
1
None
North
N
North
 
W
West
J
E
East (you)
AQ98
7
964
J10865
 
S
South (dumm
752
52
Q753
KQ73
 

You are playing standard carding.

  1. J, 3, 4, A.
  2. K, 7, 2, 3
  3.  Q, 9, 5, A
  4. 4, J, Q, 2

What do you play and why?

 

Do you remember the club spots played at Trick 1?  If so, you realize that the only unseen clubs are the 9 and the 2.  Where might they lie?

You can be sure that declarer owns the 9.  After all, your partner would not have played the 4 at Trick 1 from a holding of either 942 (he would have played the 2) or 94 (he would have played the 9).

Who owns the 2?  Well, if partner were dealt the 42 doubleton and thus declarer were dealt the A9 doubleton, then declarer might have tried to discard a spade on the third round of clubs before giving up the lead to the A.  Thus, all indications are that partner was dealt the 4 singleton and you must give him a ruff right now.

If you fail to give your partner a club ruff at Trick 5, declarer will arrange to finesse you out of your T8 and pitch a losing diamond on dummy’s fourth club.

 
1
None
North
N
North
J
KQJ10864
A2
A92
 
W
West
K10643
A93
KJ108
4
J
E
East (you)
AQ98
7
964
J10865
 
S
South (dumm
752
52
Q753
KQ73
 

The spot cards spoke.  Were you listening?

PS: If West were dealt 42 doubleton (so that declarer were dealt A9 doubleton), a club return by you would deny declarer the ability to pitch a loser on the third round of clubs … assuming your partner has a third heart.  


2 Comments

Paul FlashenbergFebruary 5th, 2017 at 2:17 pm

I still count 10 tricks for declarer. Partner is in essence ruffing a loser.
Am I missing something or was this hand misanalysed?

Jeff LehmanFebruary 6th, 2017 at 4:24 am

What is missing — my error — is the articulation of the context for the hand. The hand arose in a club matchpoint game, where, of course, overtricks matter. East, if watching the club spot cards, should identify the need to give his partner a club ruff in order to prevent declarer's losing diamond from being pitched on dummy's extra club winner for an eleventh trick.

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