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Transfer Trauma

This deal from a recent knockout team match turned out to be a push board. At one table the final contract was 6 NT, which depended on a 3-3 diamond break; this was not to be — down one. At the other table the contract was 6 S, which had additional chances, but declarer failed to take the best advantage.

6 S by South

E-W Vul
S A K Q J 6
H 8 6 4
D Q 8 6 5
C A
S 9 4
H J 9 5 2
D J 10 3 2
C 9 8 2
TableS 10 8 5
H Q 10 3
D 9 4
C K J 10 7 5
Lead: C 9S 7 3 2
H A K 7
D A K 7
C Q 6 4 3

West

Pass
Pass
Pass
Pass
North

2 H
3 D
4 C
6 S
East

Pass
Pass
Dbl
All Pass
South
1 NT
2 S
3 S
4 H

Two hearts was a Jacoby transfer, and 3 D showed a second suit (forcing to game). South showed his flimsy spade support, and North control-bid 4 C to try for slam as East doubled. South then showed his heart control, and North jumped to slam.

Declarer has 11 top tricks, and North’s long diamond was the best chance for 12. Rather than rely on a 3-3 break, there was a chance that the defender with four diamonds also had three trumps. Accordingly, declarer drew two rounds of trumps and played diamonds from the top. Alas, this was not a success, as East ruffed the third diamond and exited safely with a heart.

A better play would have succeeded. After winning the C A, draw the enemy trumps, cross to the D K, and lead a club but do not ruff it — pitch a heart from dummy. Assume East wins and returns a heart (best) won by the ace. Ruff a club, and cash the top diamonds ending in dummy. Finally, lead the last trump and the opponents must crumble. East has to keep the C K; West has to keep the high diamond; so the last trick is won with the H 7. A classic double squeeze.

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© 2001 Richard Pavlicek