December 4th, 2005

Bridge Column



                               ARTISTIC ENDING

                             by Stephen Rzewski


	Some of the better plays one sees at the table occur on hands where
the result, good or bad, has already been determined.  For example, declarer
successfully executes a double squeeze in a slam, but only to go down one trick
instead of two.  Good players sometimes respectfully jest that “style points” 
should be awarded for such plays.

	In today’s hand, from an IMPs event at a Regional tournament, declarer
managed to bring about an endplay for an overtrick, where he had already earned
a decent score simply by going plus and making his contract:

	
			
                                   North

                                  ♠ AK2
                                  ♥ KQJ96
                                  ♦ 9
                                  ♣ KJ43

                   West                               East

                  ♠ Q108                             ♠ J7
                  ♥ 8                                ♥ A105432
                  ♦ AKJ86                            ♦ 2
                  ♣ A1087                            ♣ Q965

                                   South

                                  ♠ 96543
                                  ♥ 7
                                  ♦ Q107543
                                  ♣ 2


                    bidding:    W       N       E       S

                                1♦     dbl     1♥      1♠
                                2♣     dbl      P      2♠ 
                                P       P       P

	                   opening lead:  ♥ 8

	The bidding is shown as it occurred.  As a matter of style, some players
might overcall 1♥ with the North hand, then subsequently follow through with a 
takeout double; this sequence would show the five-card suit, extra values, and a
willingness to play other strains.   South, with 6-5 shape, ventured a free 1♠ 
call in spite of his weakness, then pulled his partner’s second double with nothing
to contribute to the defense.  East might actually have bid on to 3♣, which seems 
likely to make, but was inhibited from doing so because of North’s double on the 
previous round.

	The jack of hearts was played from dummy at the first trick, East winning 
the ace.  East’s best return is probably a diamond at this point (a club return 
might also result in a successful defense).  If West can read his partner’s 
singleton, he can cash the ace of clubs and return a low diamond. The hand will 
now become unmanageable for declarer, and he will ultimately be defeated.  However,
East instead returned a heart at trick #2.   South pitched his losing club as West
ruffed with a natural trump trick.  West cashed the king of diamonds, but couldn’t 
read his partner’s deuce as a singleton, and unsure as to how to proceed, played a
trump.  Declarer cleared the enemy trumps with the ace and king, leaving:

                                                  
                                   North

                                  ♠ 2
                                  ♥ KQ9
                                  ♦ ---
                                  ♣ KJ93

                 West                                  East

                ♠ ---                                 ♠ ---
                ♥ ---                                 ♥ 10432
                ♦ AJ86                                ♦ ---
                ♣ A1087                               ♣ Q965

                                   South

                                  ♠ 965
                                  ♥ ---
                                  ♦ Q10754
                                  ♣ ---

	South was now assured of making his contract, since he had two tricks in 
the bank, two heart winners in dummy and was destined to score his remaining four 
trumps individually.  Do you see how he managed a sequence of plays that resulted 
in his gaining an overtrick?


	*          *          *          *          *          *          *   
  

	South cashed dummy’s two high hearts, then played a third heart, covered
by East and ruffed in declarer’s hand.  Declarer then led the 10 of diamonds 
(actually, any diamond will do).  West covered with the jack, but instead of 
ruffing with dummy’s last trump, declarer called for a club, allowing West to 
win the trick and putting that player on lead in the following position:

				
                                  North

                                 ♠ 2
                                 ♥ ---
                                 ♦ ---
                                 ♣ KJ9

                  West                                East

                 ♠ ---                               ♠ ---
                 ♥ ---                               ♥ 4
                 ♦ A8                                ♦ ---
                 ♣ A10                               ♣ Q96

                                  South

                                 ♠ 96
                                 ♥ ---
                                 ♦ Q7
                                 ♣ ---


	West pondered her position for a full minute, looking for a way out; 
there was none.  If she played the ace of diamonds, South would ruff in dummy,
and the queen would be established.  Similarly, playing the ace of clubs would
establish dummy’s king, as South would ruff in his hand.  If she played a low 
diamond, South would simply let that come around to the queen.  Eventually, 
she found the best play of a low club, but South, reading the position, put 
up dummy’s king, discarding a diamond from his hand, and took the remainder
with ruffs.