Mt. Vernon Register-News

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January 7, 2014

The declarer missed a tough chance

This was the deal in last week’s final column. Chen Yuechen from China won the 2013 Richard Freeman Junior Deal of the Year from the International Bridge Press Association for his defense against six no-trump.

Chen (West) had guessed to lead his club three. South had taken East’s nine with his ace, played a diamond to dummy’s jack, and run the heart jack. West had won and found the killing return of his remaining diamond. South won in his hand, cashed his club king, and led a spade, planning to finesse dummy’s 10. He needed two dummy entries: one to repeat the heart finesse and the second to cash the 13th heart. But Chen put up his spade jack, a textbook entry-killing play that defeated the contract.

I wonder how many readers noticed that South missed an interesting chance to make his contract. Before playing a diamond to dummy’s jack, declarer should have cashed his diamond ace. This looks pointless, but not when West started with only two diamonds. When he got in with his heart ace, he would have been endplayed.

If West returned a club, South could get four tricks in the suit by playing low from the dummy to collect three spades, one heart, four diamonds and four clubs. Or, if West shifted to a low spade, declarer would win with dummy’s 10 and have his second dummy entry. He would win three spades, three hearts, four diamonds and two clubs.

This is called a Dentist’s Coup -- extracting the safe exit card(s) from a defender’s hand.

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