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Nickell-Berg Board 26

Meckstroth
A62
8
A652
J9763
Feldman
KJ74
53
KQ104
KQ4
Rodwell
Q10853
QJ102
J98
8
Berg
9
AK9764
73
A1052
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
3NT
P
P
P
D
26
3NT North
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
9
A
4
0
0
1
6
7
8
3
2
0
2
8
7
A
4
0
0
3
2
K
3
4
1
1
3
K
9
6
2
1
2
3
3
10
A
8
3
3
3
2
6
K
8
1
4
3
5
J
K
3
3
5
3
5
9
Q
2
1
6
3
4
10
A
7
3
7
3
10
J
J
Q
0
7
4
11

In the second quarter, both tables reached 3NT on board 26.  The first two tricks were nearly the same at both tables: East led the 5 to the ace and West returned the 6 to 7 and 8. When Feldman was declarer, he discarded the 3; Katz discarded the 4.  At Katz's table, Narkiewicz shifted to the 2 and Katz played high.  He did not find the double-dummy line from there and went down one.

At our table, Rodwell shifted to the 8.  You can follow the play with the Next button: at trick 12, Meckstroth was on lead holding two small diamonds, and led the 6.  Feldman had engineered the play to produce this ending.  He studied long and hard and then found the winning play of the queen, making his contract.  The vugraph operator commented, "I have no idea how he got that right :)" 

I had no idea either, but I think I see at least a reasonable reason to drop the jack.  Rodwell had led the 8 and then followed with the 9, and he was known to have started with exactly three.diamonds, either J98 or 985.  The 8 is the natural card to lead from the first holding, but a strange choice from the second.

Small clues lead to great plays.

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