Friday, 7 January 2011

RECOGNISING THE BEST LINE OF PLAY...... ( Article by Bridgemeister Gibson )
Some players have a natural gift for quickly recognising the best line of play, when 3 or 4 options are open. This was a particular hand in question :
North : K10......Kx............AJxx.......Qxxxx
South : AQ.....AQJ109x....Kx.........Axx
One of the top players at my local club was asking a few of us in the bar, how we would have gone about steering home a small slam in hearts , after receiving a spade lead.
At his table, his errant partner chose to take the spade in hand, draw trumps, and then play the K/A of diamonds before ruffing a low one in hand. If ( as hoped ) the queen fell in three rounds, then a small losing club could be parked on the established jack. However, by putting all his eggs in this one basket he ended up with egg on his face, when an opponent turned up with queen to four. One off.... with a glum face to boot.
So my offer was to play a low club at trick 2 away from the Ace, with the intention of playing low from dummy if the king did not appear on declarer's left. This line of play caters for a stiff king or doubleton king in either hand. However, should the king of clubs fail to appear when the Ace is played next, then the diamond finesse still offered a good chance of securing 12 tricks. But this answer failed to impress the maestro. Why I do not know, for it takes a brave defender on declarer's left not to play the king from Kxx, in the belief that declarer also intends to play low from dummy !
Well, apparently, it is technically correct to try clubs first, by leading low towards the queen. If the club king is to the left all your problems are solved, whether it is played or not. If however, the king is sitting off-side ready to pounce on the queen, then again it is back to the diamond finesse. This line of play gives declarer a 75% chance of making.

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