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Good versus great: two district GNT-B hands show the difference
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I played in the flight B GNTdistrict qualifier this past weekend, an enjoyable event.

I offer two hands that show the difference between flight B and the experts. I'm the goat in the first, the hero in the second.

Question: with the NS cards in a knockout what contract do you want to be in?

North
AK1052
A84
109
AJ3
South
J9
J
AQJ732
8752
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P

West leads the 2 (standard). What's your plan?

I played low, making if west has the KQxx or if east has K(xx). From West's lead I know that West has 4 hearts and East has 5 hearts (yet didn't bid).

East plays the K and returns a heart, West unblocking the Q

I know west is a good player, and so if the suit is weirdly blocked I don't need to hold up. Furthermore, at this point either the K is onside or not: why give away a potential overtrick? So, I grabbed the A and finessed diamonds -- losing. A heart comes back, but more bad news: down 2 when east shows up with a 6th heart, meaning I should have held up another round of hearts:

West
643
Q72
K54
Q964
North
AK1052
A84
109
AJ3
East
Q87
K109653
86
K10
South
J9
J
AQJ732
8752
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0

West made a fine lead from 3 hearts. If I hold up until the 3rd round of hearts then I put West to the test: he has to hold up the first diamond and then my diamond suit is dead. The 2 lead convinced me that West had 4 hearts: narrow thinking.

Side note: if my J had won the first trick, the best IMP play is a low diamond to the T. If it loses I make 10 tricks. If it wins I switch to spades.

North
J
A9532
K543
1093
South
KQ65
Q4
A62
J762
W
N
E
S
1
X
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
P
P

Maybe partner and I weren't on the same page about my 1NT bid or his 2 bid, but here we are.

West leads the A, then the A, then switches to a low club

East cashes the KQ of clubs, all following, and continues a spade (a heart switch is needed).

I clear the spade suit which is 4-4 as expected, and cash dummy's K leaving:

North
A95
54
South
Q4
A6
J
W
N
E
S
1
X
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
P
P

The opponents have followed suit throughout the hand. West doubled and has shown up with A and A. East was silent in the auction despite 4 spades and at least 5 points. West must have the K so it appears I only have one shot at the contract: West must have Qxx. I play a diamond to the ace and exit a diamond and the miracle comes through: West has to lead away from the K, and I score the last two tricks with a long club and the A.

East needed to switch to hearts, and I did good to play for the miracle. But, West had her chance. When I lead a diamond from dummy in the diagrammed position and I do NOT finesse the J then she must know that East has it and she can drop her Q to get off the endplay.

The full hand:

West
A1082
KJ6
Q109
A54
North
J
A9532
K543
1093
East
9743
1087
J87
KQ8
South
KQ65
Q4
A62
J762
W
N
E
S
1
X
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

In short, the two hands show good bridge (including two excellent leads) is still far from great bridge.

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