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West
North
9743
J95
A84
Q52
East
Q2
Q86
KQ732
J64
South
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
2
6
0
0
1
A
4
Q
8
0
0
2
J
7
3

 

You are East playing matchpoints. South's 2 opening shows 5 hearts, 4+ clubs, 10-15 hcp.

West leads A, K all following, and continues with J.

What is your chance of a good matchpoint score?

What do you discard?

West
North
9743
J95
A84
Q52
East
Q2
Q86
KQ732
J64
South
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
2
6
0
0
1
A
4
Q
8
0
0
2
J
7
2
2
3
1
2
3
10
Q
6
1
2
2
J
5

If partner has AKJ105, he will not have a top heart or a top club (since he failed to overcall 2). Since the clubs are splitting, the opponents will be cold for game if South has 10 and some pairs may bid it. At any rate, that is your best hope for a good score and since partner has two places for 10 and declarer three your chances appear to be 60%.

It will not matter what you discard if declarer has AK10xx. But if he doesn't, he will have options in the trump suit. You should do what you can to ensure that he picks the wrong one, and this means not threatening to ruff a club. Best is to discard a diamond, and best is to show an even number of cards while doing so. You discard 2, even count or encouraging in your methods.

Declarer ruffs the spade, gives the matter a fair amount of thought, then plays a club to the queen on which you and your partner show odd count. He calls for J.

Do you cover?

West
North
9743
J95
A84
Q52
East
Q2
Q86
KQ732
J64
South
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
2
6
0
0
1
A
4
Q
8
0
0
2
J
7
2
2
3
1
2
3
10
Q
6
1
2
2
J
Q
K
3
3
3
2
5

You should cover, Declarer isn't playing a Zia-style "if they don't cover they don't have it" line - he will run that jack if you don't cover it, and although you are hoping partner doesn't have 10 there is no point in not trying to protect it if he does. Declarer plays the king on your queen.

At least partner has the good grace not to follow with the seven - he plays the three, and declarer gives matters even more thought. Initially you are hoping that he will take a losing guess by running 9 next, playing for your partner to have started with the doubleton 8 rather than playing for either of you now to be left with the singleton 10. (This may appear anti-percentage, but declarer knows that if he can bring in the trumps by straightforward means then so can everyone else, and some of those will be in game.)

But declarer ponders for considerably longer than a man who is making up his mind what to do in the trump suit. There is clearly something deeper that he is contemplating (he is Marshall Lewis, a fine player with plenty of imagination).

Indeed, for so long does he trance that by the time he is ready to play you should be able to answer this question:

What card will you play to trick 12?

West
AKJ105
103
J65
1098
North
9743
J95
A84
Q52
East
Q2
Q86
KQ732
J64
South
86
AK742
109
AK73
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
3
2
6
0
0
1
A
4
Q
8
0
0
2
J
7
2
2
3
1
2
3
10
Q
6
1
2
2
J
Q
K
3
3
3
2
10
5
4
Q
2
3
3
4
K
9
2
3
4
3
9
6
A
7
1
5
3
8
K
4
J
3
6
3
A
8
5
J
3
7
3
10

Declarer has played you to have your shown distribution of 2=4=4=3. In the three-card ending above, he intends to lead his last club and discard dummy's spade. You will have to ruff and lead away from your remaining 108.

You will indeed ruff the club, but you can then promote your partner's 10 by leading a diamond. Should you do this?

West
105
10
North
9
95
East
86
3
South
A7
7
W
N
E
S
P
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

No, of course you should not. Just play 8, as if you really were endplayed. Partner will score his 10 anyway and the shade of Grosvenor will nod approvingly.

Did this actually happen? No, for West (my partner) had an attack of the jitters and ruffed in with 10 at trick 11 anyway. Now, what I want to know is this: is there a court in the land that would convict me of anything had I taken that 10 and shoved it down his throat?

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