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A Fortunate Error
(Page of 2)

North
K1062
K652
85
AK2
South
AQ5
J104
K763
QJ5
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
3NT
P
P
P

 

West led the J. I won with the ace in my hand as East played the 3. I led the J--Q--K--A, and East shifted to the Q. I had eight tricks. It appeared I needed the A onside or three-three hearts for my ninth. There was probably no hurry in playing for the A onside, so I ducked. West played the 4. East now shifted to the 3,

Why abandon diamonds? One possibility is that East was afraid I would duck out his partner's ace. In fact, if he had QJ10x of diamonds and four hearts and if I was going to guess the diamonds, a heart shift was necessary to beat me. I saw no reason to win this trick. I ducked, and West won with the 8 and shifted to the 7. I won in dummy, and East followed with the 8.

The heart carding (as well as East's decision to lead hearts at all) suggested the suit was not three-three, and West's failure to continue hearts suggested it was East who had length. If so, the A was likely to be offside, since East might have doubled 1 if he had it. It appeared neither of my chances for the ninth trick was going to come home.

I decided I might as well cash the spades. If, somehow, hearts were three-three, perhaps an opponent would pitch one and alert me to that fact. I pitched a diamond on the fourth spade. West pitched the 3, then the club 10 on the third and fourth spades. Present count perhaps? It looked as if East were 4-4-4-1, so he could hardly have the A. Finally I saw it! If East's diamonds were QJ109, I had a weird sort of non-simultaneous double squeeze. I played a heart to ten. Since I still had an entry to my hand with the Q, West could not afford to stiff his diamond ace. He was squeezed down to a doubleton club. Now the queen and king of clubs caught East in a vice squeeze. He came down to a stiff diamond, and my K7 became worth a trick.

The full deal:

West
J4
Q8
A42
1097643
North
K1062
K652
85
AK2
East
9873
A973
QJ109
8
South
AQ5
J104
K763
QJ5
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

 

Strange double squeeze. Not only is there no entry to the double-threat suit, but I don't even have a threat in one of the single-threat suits. I squeeze West out of a winner, not a stopper. So what is the fortunate error? The J at trick two. I want to tempt West to duck with a doubleton queen. Arguably he should cover either honor, but the ten is more likely to induce a duck. Fortunately, I didn't play the ten. If I had, West might have ducked, and I would have made the contract easily, never seeing this interesting end position.

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