Writers’ weekly 4 | Don’t let a good defence stop you

Why start to complain when opponents give you a hard time. Isn’t it better to look for an answer that show them who you are at the table.

This hand came up during a matchpoint event, try to figure out the best play before you read on.

The bidding gave you valuable information after east interfered with a weak jump. West led 9 of hearts, east won by the ace. Next came a diamond, won by the ace after west played the queen.

You would preferd east to play hearts. You could ruff a heart, pull trumps, play ace and jack of clubs then have the ace of diamonds as entry to get rid of the diamonds on king and queen of clubs. The diamond play took away the entry in dummy.

Is there another way you can play to aim for 12 tricks?

The clubs might work. If T 9 or T 9 x you can overtake the jack and still make 4 clubs.

The more likely distribution is to find west with K Q of diamonds together with 4 or more clubs. You friend, the squeeze, will appear if you play carefully.

A heart to the king then a heart, west throw in the ten of spades, overruffed with the queen. Next you pull trumps with ace, king and jack. Your plan is running well, east has 3 spades, the cards look like this.

To put pressure on west you play out the trumps, the position looks like this

2 of spades squeezes west in club and diamond. He has to keep the king of diamonds and let go of a club. You play ace of clubs, overtake the jack with the queen and when the 10 and 9 falls under the king the eight of clubs end up as your 12th trick.

That play turned the board from 30 % to 70 %. Most others got a favourable defence when east continued in hearts.