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Common Game 2019-07-29 Board 5
West
KQ8432
QJ8
52
A8
North
J105
964
73
K7532
East
6
AK10732
AQJ96
4
South
A97
5
K1084
QJ1096
D
5
West
North
East
South
P
1
X
2NT
P
3
P
4
P
4NT
P
5
P
5
P
P
P

Analysis by David Loeb

The Bidding: After East opens 1, South Doubles for Takeout . When Defending a Takeout Double , it is common to use an artificial 2NT response as Jordan , showing a limit heart raise or better. West's priority is to show their heart support. West shouldn't respond 1. North, with 5 Support Points and a balanced hand, has no interest in competing at 3-level.

East's Losing Trick Count of 4 is comparable to a strong 2 opener. Grant Baze advised "6-5 come alive" , saying a 6-5 hand is worth an extra Ace. East has strong slam interest opposite a limit raise. East is interested in learning about the Ace, Queen, King, and Ace. The best way to learn about the King (or diamond shortness) is to begin with a Game Try . In his GameTriesSteveRobinson article, Steve Robinson shares the advice of many experts. Most prefer game tries which ask where help is available rather than reveal where help is needed. Here, the auction is a bit cramped. So Help Suit Game Tries are best. Here, East's 3 bid is a slam try, but West doesn't know that yet. West, doesn't have much help in diamonds, but is too strong to decline the "game try." Bidding 4 to show an opening hand which doesn't have much help in diamonds seems best. With help in diamonds and the willingness to cooperate with a potential slam try, West would cue bid along the way.

East bids 4NT Roman Keycard . Playing 1430 responses, West's 5 response shows 1 or 4 key cards. East knows it is 1. If West has the Queen or 4 hearts, a heart loser is unlikely. Slam would depend on the location of the King. On this auction, the King is likely to be offside. Stopping in 5 seems prudent.

At tables where East doesn't make a Game Try in diamonds, East-West are likely to land in 6 after learning the have the Queen and all but 1 key card.

The Play: South is likely to lead the Queen, top of an honor sequence. This knocks out the Ace entry to dummy. As expected, declarer sees a quick loser and a likely diamond loser. Dummy's spade length provides an unexpected way to potentially avoid a diamond loser. Declarer leads the 6 towards dummy. South expects declarer to have a singleton spade for their spade switch at trick 3. South sees the spades will setup if they take their Ace. Assuming declarer has the AK and a singleton spade, dummy's spades will setup if South ducks. The difference is South will score their Ace if they duck. The 3-3 spade break with the Ace onside and the 3-2 heart break allow declarer to score 12 tricks. By combining chances, declarer avoids the need to finesse against the King.

Analysis by Lynn Berg

However West shows his limit raise in hearts, South will start thinking of slam. He checks doe Aces and stops in 6, a contract which can't be beaten--there's just the diamond finesse to take. The order of play matters here. If South starts with the A, all declarer's problems are solved, but what if it's the Q: Win, ruff a club and lead a spade. South won't resist now, and you have the entries to set up the spades if needed.

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