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STOP SMOKING AID  by Don Caplin featuring play by Alexander Frieden

In a much written about board, Alexander Frieden was declarer with the following story and layout.

The opening lead was the 9 of H. Alex played the Ace, and RHO signaled he had the king. Alex had shown 18-19 points on the bidding. At that point, LHO said, “You’ve obviously got 12 tricks. Can you just claim, so I can go smoke?”
 

0-10,000 Pairs

Board 14
East Deals
None Vul
K 9 3
A Q J
K Q J 10 9
8 3
10 4
9 8 6 5 3
7 5
9 7 6 4
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q J 8 7
K 7 2
4 3 2
10 5 2
 
A 6 5 2
10 4
A 8 6
A K Q J

  

Alex said nothing, but knew he could make 13 tricks if RHO also held 4 spades.

So he ran all his minor suit winners, and when it came down to the last 4 cards, RHO had to discard on the J of C:
After dummy threw a spade, RHO also had to discard one to keep the K of H, so Alex took the last 3 tricks with the K, A and 6 of S. Making 1020 for 40 matchpoints out of 43.
Note:
Alexander is the current leader in the US for players with 20-50 Masterpoints, and is a rising EMBA Star!


Find A Way by Bob Bertoni
Playing in the Newton Regional in Single session Pairs I came across this gem.

I was playing with a new partner, new to me not to bridge, Eric Schwartz is a well established A journeymen. Our Opponents were a fine pair from Connecticut, Sandy DeMartino- The National Goodwill Chair and her regular partner Joyce Steifel.
Board 17 N is dealer and No One is Vul (As it is in all B17) I sat West an unusual spot for me. 
The auction went : P-2S-to me my hand looks like 3 losers so 3C looks too timid. 3N impossible, a western cue of 3S possible?. I opted to X and reenter with my great club suit. Snady then raised to 3S encouraging my partner to bid 4H willingly. I then corrected to 5C and with a stiff Club he bid 5D!. With Values in both reds I now bid 6C showing no club support needed and perhaps some stubborness your call. All pass. Dummy comes down I have 11 Tricks and maybe 12 on a heart hook destined to fail...Here is the layout:


 
In the play: a low spade was led to the Ace, and Joyce exited with the Ten of Hearts. Clearly she didnt have KTx H and I decided if she led the T H from KT Tight she deserved the set, so I went up Ace playing the layout for 35 in the majors from LHO. Now I started the Clubs, was Sandy 3532 or 3541? After 2 rounds of Trump I have the layout of her hand at 3532. I kept Playing clubs Keeping the QH as the threat card in the dummy. For my 7 pitches in Dummy I carefully pitched 3S and 4H leaving me with S- H-Q D-AT9 in dummy opposite S- H-A7 D-K7 at trick  when I played the 2C to get this position North (Who had to find 6 pitches- had an easy 2S and 3H pitches before the squeeze card took its toll) was forced to abandon either the Diamond that Protected the QJx OR Pitch the winning Heart fufilling the contract. A good squeeze was far better than a lousy unlikely finesse. MOTTO: When it looks hopeless keep looking. One other player bid/made 6 on this hand across the field. (Bob Bonazoli) many -50's were out there.


                 Second Chance

                                                                                                  by Stephen Rzewski 

On the first hand of a local Sectional pairs event, I pick up as dealer, with neither vul:
 

                                     ♠ AKQ953    ♥ 104   ♦ 76   ♣ 954
 

        This hand is probably as good as one can hold for an opening weak-two bid, and so I open 2♠ (as an aside, if partner should inquire with 2NT, this pure holding of AKQxxx-and-out is shown with a special rebid of 3NT, whether one plays “Feature” or “Ogust”).   LHO competes with 3♦, and partner jumps to 4♠, ending the brief auction, which has been:

 
                                           S          W         N            E
                                          2♠         3♦        4♠   (all pass)
 
     The opening lead is the ♣7, and I contemplate the dummy:
 
                                                ♠ J64
                                                  ♥ K95
                                                  ♦ AQ2
                                                   ♣ KJ32
 
                                          
                                                         ♠ AKQ953
                                                 ♥ 104
                                               ♦ 76
                                                 ♣ 954
 

        Partner's jump to game is somewhat optimistic, since I could have a much weaker hand for my weak-two bid, especially when non-vul, but the intervening overcall forced her to guess whether to bid game or opt for a competitive 3♠, and she liked the positional value of her side honors behind the overcaller, so I have sympathy.  Unfortunately, the club lead makes it appear that East is likely to hold the missing club honors over dummy, and this is confirmed when I call for the jack, which is bested by the queen.  I follow with the 5.  My fear is that the 7 is a singleton, in which case the defense can beat me off the the top with  the play of the ace and another, giving LHO a ruff on the third round.
 
     After considerable thought, though, East decides to shift to a heart, giving me a possible second chance, at least for the moment.  This is won by West's ace, and he plays back the jack of diamonds.
I call for the queen, which holds, East following with the 10  (note that West's lead of the jack instead of a low spot is a potential  “surrounding play”, to prevent declarer from scoring the 10, should he happen to hold 10-x).  I draw the ace and king of trumps with both opponents following suit, and now try to see if there is any way of bringing this contract home, with the following cards remaining:
 

 
 
                                                    ♠ J
                                                       ♥ K9
                                                       ♦ A2
                                                          ♣ K32
 
 
                                                               ♠ Q953   
                                                       ♥ 10
                                                      ♦ 7
                                                        ♣ 94
 

       Assuming that RHO holds the A-10 of clubs over dummy's king, it appears that I am  destined to eventually lose two more tricks in that suit.  However, if LHO's club was in fact a singleton, I see a possible way out, as long as he started with at least six diamonds.  First, I eliminate the hearts by playing to the king, then ruff dummy's small heart in my hand, everyone following suit.  Now I lead a diamond to dummy's ace, as RHO shows out.  That confirms West's distribution, as he originally started life with seven diamonds, and has followed to three hearts and two spades, marking him with 2-3-7-1 shape.  Now I play dummy's deuce of diamonds, but instead of ruffing, I discard a small club from hand, trading a club loser for a diamond loser.  LHO is forced to win this trick, and with nothing left but diamonds in his hand, he must lead one, and I ruff with dummy's last trump while discarding the remaining club from my hand to make my contract.  The full deal:

 
                                                   ♠ J64
                                                    ♥ K95
                                                    ♦ AQ2
                                                   ♣ KJ32
 
                                   ♠ 108                              ♠ 72
                                           ♥ AJ7                             ♥  Q8632
                                   ♦ KJ98543                     ♦ 10
                                             ♣ 7                                 ♣ AQ1086
 
                                                         ♠ AKQ953
                                                 ♥ 104
                                                ♦ 76
                                                  ♣ 954
 

       East's failure to continue clubs at trick #2 turned out to be an error, but to be fair, that play could have been wrong on a different layout.  Suppose, for example that West had one less diamond and a doubleton club, giving South three diamonds and two clubs.  In that event, had East played ace and a third club at tricks #2-3, South might have been able to ruff high, then draw trumps and use the established king of clubs for a diamond discard.  Furthermore, from East's point of view, there appeared to be little danger in defending passively at that point and waiting for the club tricks to come to him, since it didn't seem at the time that declarer had any apparent way of getting rid of his club losers.

Here is another By Steven:
  COUNTDOWN
 
   by Stephen Rzewski
 
            Playing against the only competent team (besides yours, of course) in a Swiss event at a small Sectional tournament, you find yourself facing the following play problem.  As you read the account, try to answer each of the numbered questions before continuing:
 
           
                                                                  North
 
                                                               ♠ A42
                                                               ♥ AKQ
                                                               ♦ KJ8
                                                               ♣ AQ82
 
 
                                                                 South
 
                                                               ♠ KQJ
                                                               ♥ J95
                                                               ♦ Q65
                                                               ♣ K1053
 
                                       bidding:   S          W          N          E
 
                                                      1♣         P          2♣         P
                                                      2NT      P          5NT       P
                                                      6NT    (all pass)
 
                                               opening lead:  ♦ A
 
            Forty years ago or more, few players would have considered the South hand worth an opening bid, but times have changed, and most today tend to open any reasonable collection containing 12 or more high-card points.
 
            North has a problem at his first turn with such a powerhouse, but he chose the “inverted minor” raise of 2♣, which is forcing for one round, hoping to get a better idea of what to do after his partner’s rebid.   South’s 2NT call defined his hand within a narrow range of 12-14 hcp and balanced shape.  The 5NT call by North is a quantitative raise, forcing to a small slam and inviting his partner to bid a grand slam with a maximum.   With a dead minimum, South settled for the 12-trick contract.
 
            West started the proceedings by cashing the ace of diamonds, then continuing with a small diamond, East following both times.
 
1)      How do you assess the contract, and what is your general plan?
 
                         *          *          *          *          *          *          *
 
            You have eleven top tricks, and there will obviously be no problem if clubs divide 3-2, so you should assume they will split 4-1 or worse.  It might seem natural to play off the ace and queen, enabling you to finesse against J-x-x-x in the East hand if West shows out.  Possession of the 8-spot in dummy, however, makes it just possible to pick up J-9-x-x in the West hand by leading twice toward dummy and taking a double finesse.  This is admittedly a highly improbable holding.  Nevertheless …
 
2)      Is there any way to play the hand to cover all the routine cases and still guard against J-9-x-x (-x) in the West hand?
 
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *
 
            Yes, at least possibly.  The answer is to defer playing the clubs and first play as many side winners as possible in an attempt to get a count on the opponents’ hands. There is some guesswork involved in deciding where to begin, but let’s suppose you elect to play a third round of diamonds.  On this trick, West shows out, discarding a spade. 
 
3)      What suit should you play next, hearts or spades?
 
            *          *          *          *          *          *          *
 
You should play hearts, not spades.  Now that West is known to have started with  only two diamonds, the possible danger of his holding long clubs has increased somewhat.  Should you need to make two club leads from the South hand late in the play, you may need a side entry to do so.  Since only the spade suit offers entries to the closed hand, and the heart suit does not, you should play all your heart winners and refrain from playing spades until later.
 
            Both opponents follow to the first two hearts, but on the third round, West again shows out, discarding another spade. 
 
            4)  Should you now play three rounds of spades?                 
 
                       *          *          *          *          *          *          *
 
            No, you should play only two rounds, including the ace in dummy, and leave an entry to the closed hand, for the reason explained above.
 
On the ace and king of spades, both opponents follow suit.
 
5)      What do you now know about the opponents’ distribution?
 
                          *          *          *          *          *          *          *
 
               West showed out on the third round of both diamonds and hearts.  That means that East started with five cards in each of those suits.  East also followed to both spade leads.  So there is room in East’s hand for only one club at most, marking him with a singleton or void.  Therefore, West has at least four clubs.
 
               6)   So how should you play the club suit?
 
                       *          *          *          *          *          *          *
 
            You should start with the king, guarding against a possible singleton jack in the East hand.  If East follows low or shows out, lead a club of your choice from the South hand.  If West follows low, finesse the 8 with full confidence.  If he splits his two high clubs by playing the 9, play the queen, then use that well-preserved spade entry back to your hand to take a 2nd finesse through West’s remaining  J-x toward dummy’s A-8.  The full deal:         
                                                                 North
 
                                                               ♠ A42
                                                               ♥ AKQ
                                                               ♦ KJ8
                                                               ♣ AQ82
 
                                   West                                            East
 
                                   ♠ 108763                                     ♠ 95
                                   ♥ 83                                            ♥ 107642
                                   ♦ A4                                            ♦ 109732
                                   ♣ J974                                        ♣ 6
 
                                                                   South
 
                                                                 ♠ KQJ
                                                                 ♥ J95
                                                                 ♦ Q65
                                                                 ♣ K1053
 
 
            Did you expect to win a lot of IMPs on the hand?  Well…  it turns out that the opponent holding your hand at the other table found the same line and was equally disappointed to only earn a push on the board.  Some days, you have to be at your best just to break even.
 
           
 
 
                                           



Hand from Senior Swiss Teams Philadelphia 2012, Final Round

submitted by Bob Bertoni
North Deals
E-W Vul
♠ Q 3 2
K 4 2
A Q J 2
♣ A J 8
♠ K 8 4
9 5
9 3
♣ K 10 6 5 4 3
N
W   E
S
♠ A J 10 9 7 5
A Q J 10 8 6 3

♣ —
  ♠ 6
7
K 10 8 7 6 5 4
♣ Q 9 7 2

EW 7♠; EW 6; NS 5; N 2♣; S 1♣

There are many ways to get beat at teams, a pro once told me that you do not win team matches you lose them. Here we are stuck 1430-710 lose 720.
Our auction: 1NT-2C*-2NT*-3S-P-after some thought 6S from my RHO. A dive to 7D seemed as crazy as the auction to me so I passed (The pain just begins if they bid 7 spades over 7 Diamonds!! ). The 2C bid showed both majors and red my LHO decided to bid red on white 3S after the 2NT transfer to Diamonds.
Our team partners play Meckwell so the auction went: 1NT -X*-2NT also transfer to Diamonds, but LHO not knowing the hand type (x= a long minor or both majors) for sure passed, and the auction went 3D-4H-P-4S-all pass. They never considered anvancing on the left or a 5 Hearts bid on the right to show this monster, the free bid red of 3 Spades was all our opponent needed to consider 7 and "settle" for 6 Spades. Our partners did play it better making the 13 tricks, where at our table the declarer was just so happy to make it he gave up the heart trick.
Hard to believe we shuffled this hand !


From Seattle NABC

Submitted By Bob Bertoni from Hand record 85724
It seems to me that the hands I get are significantly more difficult than
those that play the same hands in my direction. Here I am Dealer East.

Seattle Friday AX

East Deals
None Vul
♠ Q 6 3
 Q 8 4 2
 K Q 6 2
♣ K 9
♠ —
 K 10 9 7
 A 9 5 4
♣ A Q 8 7 2
N
W   E
S
♠ A K J 10 9 8 7 5 4 2
 —
 8 7 3
♣ —
  ♠ —
 A J 6 5 3
 J 10
♣ J 10 6 5 4 3
 

In Seattle I picked up this Spade monster as dealer. I pondered for a few extra seconds. What to open this hand? We do not play Namyats, 4S just seemed wrong. 1S appeared to leave a lot of preempts to get in the way of what I wanted to know from partner, and the true strength of my hand lies in an outstanding trump suit and 2 voids. What do I need !!for 6S? Not a lot! 2 winners and any split in trumps. So I opened 2C game forcing strong and we play controls so I decided that was the best I could do. After all with luck the spade 6 might be an entry opposite 63 and stiff Q. 

After 2C my response was 3D (4+ controls) music to my greedy ears, I plunked down 6S happy as a lark and hoped for a double not forthcoming, I settled for my 6S surely making. The opening lead presented a challenge it was the J of Clubs. I thought of ducking small and just ruffing the club hoping for the K as I doubted that they led away from KJTxxx, but then I considered in this wacky hand a club stiff was possible and went up ace. Thought for way too long and decided to just play a heart and see if the A popped from LHO assuming I was playing to my Q, when they followed small I had to ruff and was stuck Plunking down the A Spades getting the awful news 0093 split (of course). -1 tyvm.
So what happened at other tables?? 6S == everywhere or 4S making 6 galore. So I had to ask people how they make it... I love the punishment. Some said that they got the Ace Hearts lead, how welcome was that? Others got the club lead and then decided to play on club after taking Ace ruffing the K and making it eaasily. Interesting ducking at trick doesnt work either so the correct line never came to my vision, I asked several experts and most of them got it after a few seconds to play AC and a club, as I said other people get the easy hands.
 

 


Submitted by Yigi Starr

In Open BAM in Seattle, I was in 4S afterovercalling 4S over RHO's gambling 3N.
 
               QJ3
               A72
               J983
               AT4
 
 
               AK9854
               Q4
               7
               Q973
 
LHO lead 2D to RHO's TD.  RHO leadback QD which I ruffed w/ AS, LHO pitched 3H.  When I drew trumps,LHO followed once and discarded 6C and 5C.  Opp play upside down count and attitude.
 
I lead 3C towards the dummy and LHO followed with 2C.
 
At this point, I paused to think.  (Probably would've been better to think before playing the 3C).  LHO has 11cards in H and C.  Given he has pitched 2C and 1H, it is likely thathe is longer in C than H.  Could he have 5H and 6C?  What kindof C holding can he have to pitch 6C, 5C and then follow with 2C?  Can he possibly have 3C or 4C only?  If he only had 3C or 4C, then he would have had 7-8H.  Perhaps he would've bid or pitched more H.  Now I turned to think about RHO's hand.  He has 7D and 3S.  He onlyhad 3 cards in H and C.  He very loudly asked for a C return when he played QD.  What can he have?  A club void!
 
Based on the above, I played 4C which held.  I end up making 4S.  The 4 hands were:
 
               QJ3
               A72
               J983
               AT4
2                              T76
KJT63                              985
2                              AKQT654
KJ8652                              --
               AK9854
               Q4
               7
               Q973
 
However, the hero of the hand was actually my partner, Doug Doub.  He knew I was under pressure to bid 4S over 3N.  He didn't bid on, in spite of such a great hand.  Our opponent was in 5S.  Wewere going to win the board regardless of what I did!


9-5-11 Bridgespot
Board 23
South Deals
Both Vul
♠ A Q 8 4
A K 10 8 2
7
♣ 10 6 3
♠ J 7 2
J 7
Q J 9 5 4 2
♣ Q 5
N
W   E
S
♠ K 9 5
6
A K 10 8
♣ A K 9 8 2
  ♠ 10 6 3
Q 9 5 4 3
6 3
♣ J 7 4

EW 5; EW 5♣; NS 2; EW 1N

West North East South
      Pass
Pass 2 Pass Pass
Pass
2 by North

When making agreements, we try to come up with a system to improve our score.Sometimes it works and sometimes we forget.
Take this deal submitted by Tom Macbeth from the Bridgespot. North opened 2 as Flannery (11-15 HCP with 5 and 4♠) it went pass by east who has no bid against 2, then Pass by south who forgot their agreement and believed it a weak two bid. So it came to west who has a bad hand in all auctions except so he passed.
The play: East led the Kfollowed by a low to partners Q declarer showing out!! A shift to the Q♣ followed by the 5♣ produced 5♣. a ruff, ♠K and all for 12 tricks on defense.
2-7 for +700 EW beating their par score of 600 in a minor game.
Have you seen 700 before ?