Luise Lee

1999 Far Eastern Championship – The Answer

I posted this question  on Monday.  Here is the answer.  The following is a quote from Entry Management, The Bridge Technique Series (book 1):




A 5
K 7
A Q J 8 
Q 8 5 3 2
West East
 10 9 8 4 2  Q J 7 6
 Q 6  3
 9 2  K 10 6 5 4
 J 9 7 4  K 10 6
K 3
A J 10 9 8 5 4 2
7 3


South Arrived in 7 and West (he has been cursing himself for it ever since) decided to lead the 9.  The obvious route to a thirteenth trick was a diamond finesse.  However, the Japanese declarer could not believe that West would have led from the king of diamonds against a grand slam.  He rose with the ace of diamonds and now needed to ruff out the king of clubs to make the contract.

He crossed to the ace of clubs and then required three more entries to dummy to pick up king third with either defender.  He led a low trump from the South hand.  “Seven, please!” he said.

The finesse won and a club ruff was taken.  A trump to the king permitted a second club ruff and down came East’s king.  Declarer could now cross to the ace of spades and throw his diamond loser on the queen of clubs.

Several other declarers in seven hearts received a neutral spade lead.  At least one of them filed to spot the extra chance in clubs and took an early diamond finesse.  Not the best!


jim2August 7th, 2009 at 7:51 am

Shouldn’t declarer have used the spade entry for the first club ruff?

East could have held, for example:





Luise LeeAugust 11th, 2009 at 9:46 am

I think the point of the discussion was that in looking at the probabilities, there were more possible holdings where one defender held Kxx. Someone more skilled than me could calculate the probabilities of each possible case and say which was more probable. I haven’t done the calculations, but I am sure that having done so, the answer on the correct line of play (statistically speaking) is to play the hand as described above. At the table in this specific example, the actual lie of the cards just happened to be on the side of the most probable, so the correct line of play also turned out to be the play that worked at the table.

jim2August 12th, 2009 at 9:02 am

I believe using the spade entry for the first club ruff caters to all the Kxx holdings where the trump Q is onside and ALSO succeeds when the Club king is doubleton and the trump queen is OFFside.

jim2August 12th, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Maybe I should explain further.

Declarer always intended to use three entries to dummy to ruff the second round of clubs, to ruff the third round of clubs, and to then go to dummy to cash the club queen. To get the entry needed to ruff that third round of clubs, declarer was willing to risk losing a trump whenever East held the heart queen singleton or doubleton.

However, the line in the book and repeated in your blog takes that risk prematurely because if east has the club king doubleton, it will fall on the second round of clubs and no third round will be necessary. Thus, after the club ruff drops the king, declarer plays heart ace and over to the heart king, then cashes the club queen without risking that finesse.

So, use the spade entry for that first ruff. If the king does not fall doubleton, THEN risk that trump finesse for the second ruff, and the trump king for the entry to cash the club queen. That way you do not risk losing to the singleton or doubleton heart queen in the east hand when the club king was going to fall doubleton anyway.

The real probability question might be if the book/blog line gains for certain layouts where west holds all three trump merit the other risk.

Luise LeeAugust 12th, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Ah, yes, I concede your point!

I wondered after I read your comments whether it was possible to get the hand records to see if we could determine how this declarer actually played the hand but I don’t think there would be any records from this event. It’s possible that the authors of the book got the play in the wrong order. In any case, I agree with you that your line of play is superior.

Thanks for the comments!

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