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Try to solve the problem below from an eight deal Chicago. You have to select the best line of play for making ten tricks in a spade contract. One word of caution: It is a piece of cake for the experts. So, you can very well find out if you are only an average player or an expert.
Contract: 4S by south. West leads the C2, lowest from odd. You try the nine from dummy and east puts in the ten. Plan the play.
Bidding Explanation: When north gave a single raise with his seven points and three-card support, south went straight to game, for he was not the daisy-picking type.
Analysis: You require trumps to be 3-2 for you to have any chance. If west has the DA, the contract is more or less in the bag. So, you should focus your mind on how to avoid defeat if east has the DA.
Declarer came up with a brilliant idea. What is it?
How the play went: Declarer allowed east's ten to win the first trick. Winning the club continuation with the ace, declarer cashed two high trumps in hand, cashed the H A-K, and played a third heart. East won and it was all over. The full deal is:
Discussion: There were some interesting points in the play:
Declarer made the key play by not winning the first trick with the ace.
Otherwise, a shrewd east will under lead his club king to put his partner in to get the diamond shift and defeat the contract.
Cashing two high trumps in hand before playing hearts was the next crucial play. Declarer was hoping that east has three trumps and also the heart length. His prayers were answered.
You may say declarer was fortunate to find east win the third heart. If it is west that wins the third heart and shifts to a diamond, declarer can play the king from dummy and hope west has the ace. Basically, the suggested play tries to create extra chances over the already existing fifty percent.
All in all a classic example of ‘Avoidance play.'
Suppose west has the third spade but only two hearts. He should be alert to ruff the third heart, though a winner in partner's hand, and shift to a diamond to defeat the contract.