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Misdeal
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Here's a hand from Tuesday's club game, rotated for convenience and with irrelevant spots approximate.

West
Q5
J10865
J9543
8
North
J2
KQ
AKQ2
K6542
East
10643
A97
1087
QJ9
South
AK987
432
6
A1073
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
X
P
3
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

After two rounds of hearts, I decided I needed the J to pull its weight in drawing trumps, so I pitched a heart on the diamonds and drew trump, losing one.  Alas, with clubs 3-1, I ended up out of trump and lost trick 13 to a heart.

I wasn't sure how the hand might have gone better, but I had a nagging feeling that I had misplayed the hand.  So at the end of the evening, I checked the recap sheet and was shocked to see "NS 5."  That was obviously wrong--even if you can avoid being tapped out, there are unavoidable losers in trump, hearts, and clubs; there's no squeeze or endplay available.  So I was no closer to knowing if ten tricks were possible.

I'd never seen an incorrect available tricks value on the recap sheet before, so I wondered if perhaps there was a misdeal of some sort.  I looked at the other double-dummy results to try to get confirmation.  NS 3NT.  That's even more obviously wrong.  On a heart lead, you have two spades, three diamonds, two clubs, and the heart off the top.  Eight is not enough.  If you duck a spade or club to set up the ninth, the opponents can cash five tricks first.  Confirmation enough.

But before I told the director, one question remained.  What was the correct hand?  If you tweak things so that either black suit runs, you now make 5NT, but it's supposed to be exactly three.

West
Q5
J10865
J9543
8
North
J2
KQ
AKQ2
K6542
East
10643
A97
1087
QJ9
South
AK987
432
6
A1073
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
X
P
3
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

Then something clicked and I realized my blind spot.  The only layout where you really need to preserve Jx in order to draw trumps is where West has QTxx, which is pretty much ruled out on the auction.  The winning line is to cross to the A, ruff a heart, and attack trumps.  Eventually, two clubs will be thrown on the diamonds.

There are two sensible ways to draw trump with a hope to lose only one trick.  Either run the jack or play the suit from the top.  Either works when the suit is 3-3.  Running the jack loses when West holds Qx (four layouts) and playing from the top loses when East holds QTxx (six layouts).  Is West's double more likely with one or the other?

Now that I realize that the recap sheet was right about playing in spades, I began to think that maybe it was also right about notrump.  Eventually, that fell into place as well.  See if you can find the line before going to the next page.

West
Q5
J10865
J9543
8
North
J2
KQ
AKQ2
K6542
East
10643
A97
1087
QJ9
South
AK987
432
6
A1073
W
N
E
S
1
P
2
X
P
3
4
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

My original analysis that you can't successfully play on spades, clubs, or diamonds was correct.  This is one of those hands where you have to return the opponents' suit.  Cross to the club ace and play your last heart, pitching a minor suit loser.  If West cashes out, East will be squeezed--he can throw diamonds to postpone the inevitable, but will then be truly squeezed when you run the diamonds.  If West does not cash the last heart, the link will be broken between the defensive hands and you can safely concede a club.

East can try ducking the opening lead and the opponents play spades whenever possible to remove the hand entry in that suit, but you can still come down to 9 KT opposite A xx with East holding T QJ and the last diamond completes the squeeze.  

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