Voyage of DiscoveryMay 15, 2013
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Suhas Vaidya, the effervescent vice-president of Maharashtra Bridge Association played this hand in a local tournament. The simplicity of the play is so startling I was stunned to hear about it. Try to play the hand, single dummy :
Suhas was south. West dealt & opened 2 & Suhas reached 4. West led the 2. East won with A & returned the 9. West ruffed & backed the Q. Take over from here.
This hand is an excellent specimen of discovery play & counting. You have lost 2 tricks & A is a certain loser. So how do you avoid losing a trick to Q? Does West have it doubleton or triple ton?. Or does East have it triple ton?. Should you play for a drop or a finesse?
Suhas found a neat way of finding the Q. At the 4th trick he played a small to his K. The Q did not appear. Then he played a small to dummy’s K, which won. Are you surprised? The A is marked in the West hand. Remember what East returned while giving West a ruff? The 9. Had he been holding the A, he would have backed the 5 to give partner a ruff & had West not been looking at the A he would have nevertheless backed a . Now on the assumption that West is holding A & QJ to 6 ‘s ( It is safe to assume that west would have opened 3 with 7 ‘s & A along with a singleton ) can you make certain of the contract?
Suhas continued with the Q. West won & returned a . Now Suhas counted the hands of the defenders. West had 6 s, 1 & 2 s. If he had no more s the contract cannot be made because he has 4 s to Q ( The Q did not appear from East hand ) So West had to have at least one more . Therefore Suhas continued with the J. Had East ruffed or discarded, he could have claimed the contract as the Q would come down next, because West is marked with a 2-6-1-4 hand. Had East ruffed, the Q was coming down, & had he discarded, Suhas could have finessed the Q.
If East follows to the 3rd , again you get a complete count of the hand. West is marked with a 3-6-1-3 hand. He has ruffed a & followed to a . Ergo the trump Q is again coming down from either hand. Suhas realized at the 3rd trick that there was no danger in cashing a 3rd .
Since it would have taken more time to explain the intricacies of the play, Suhas did not claim but continued to play on. West had a 3-6-1-3 hand. When Suhas cashed the K & the Q came down from West hand, he gave Suhas a suspicious look & pushed his chair a foot back.