Writers’ weekly 38 | Do the eight of hearts change your plan?

Tor Helness – Geir Helgemo are back on the winning track again after winning the Spingold during the Summer Nationals 2018. They played on the team of Gawrys, Klukowski, Zimmerman and Multon.

During the Round of 32 we found this interesting hand with 20 imps on stake.

 

After bidding all the way up till 7 hearts Tor Helness on your left lead the ten of clubs, Geir Helgemo drop the queen while you win the ace.

The next move is the 3 of hearts, Helness play the five and Helgemo the eight when dummy win the queen.

How do you plan to play the cards from here?

 


If trumps are 3-2 you just have to read the position in the other suits, the risk is to misplay the trumps when an opponent holds Jxxx.

There are a few things to consider. Why did Helness lead a club instead of the “safe” lead of a trump against grandslam?

Helness playing the five and Helgemo the eight at the first trump, who is trying to fool you holding Jxxx?

The same position came up at the other table when Benito Garozzo at the east position also played the eight of trumps. Frank Multon found the right play when he continued with the ace of trumps, the cards looked like this:

 

West was squeezed in the other suits when Multon pulled the trumps and the contract went home.

Against Helgemo the declarer mis guessed the trumps when he continued with a low heart to the king.

So was there any clue that could have led declarer to the solution?

A strong defender will discard in a random order. In this position Helness play his highest trump in first seat, then Helgemo do the same to even the odds. This means Helgemo is the one who got the chance to copy partner.

Another clue is the eight of hearts. Declarer do not now yet that the contract will succeed if finding the trumps, as he seems the cards he can be up to a choice in the side suits. Did Helgemo play the eight to fool you or is it more likely this is an honest card?

Looking at the AQT9 in dummy the eight might become an important asset if declarer need a couple of ruffs, it looks dangerous if not Helgemo can see the contract works anyway.

Considered this analyze it might be better to guess Helgemo holding the singleton.