Writers’ weekly 22 | Do you get fooled?

When declaring against a strong pair in defense positions can occur that you normally do not consider as problems.

Today we look into such a hand, where you have to consider following the normal line or let the defender’s reputation change the odds!

The board came up during a teamgame against top level opponents.

West led the nine of diamonds, easting playing the king following up with the ace (west follow with the six). East continue with the queen of diamonds, you understand the lead was from a doubleton but there is not much else to do than to ruff, west overruffing with the jack.

Things are not looking good as west plays the ace of spades, you ruff but do have to find the best chance to win the rest of the tricks. Have you made up your mind?

The chances are pretty clear

1.       West started with KJ of hearts leaving him with the stiff king, you drop this with your ace and make the rest of the tricks

2.       West has ruffed with the jack holding J9 or J8, trying to fool you out of the possible finesse if east holds the Kx of hearts

3.       West has ruffed with the jack holding J98, it can’t really be considered an option, so we can leave this one

 What are the odds?

K J – 9 8 give you 6,8 % chance of success!

J x – K x gives you 13,5 % chance of success!

So, the odds for the distribution needed for the second option are twice as good. How about the odds that a player is able to ruff with the jack from J9 og J8?

The only reason for a player to find such a deceptive play is to picture out his partner to hold exactly Kx. Then he can see that ruffing low will give the declarer an option to play the queen of hearts dropping the jack. On order to give declarer a losing option he needs to be sure that declarer also misses the nine of hearts. If this is the case it is a clear option to play for the king to drop at wests hand since he can’t make the contract if east holds K98.

If so, this change the odds back to 6,8 % finding west holding exactly J 9.

Declarer didn’t think it was an obvious falsecard so he decided to play for the king to drop and grabbed the ace of hearts.

Such a shame, west was as clever as declarer could fear. This was the full hand:


South gave west a recognizing nod when he wrote -1 at the score sheet. It was the only thing to do, hoping the position would appear again another board when he could do the same falsecard himself!