Test Your Play

kantarbridge.com

This is a hand that the late great Eric Murray, Canada’s top player along with Sammy Kehela, Canada’s top pair, represented a U.S team which finished a close second to the forever champion Italians. Eric was proudly showing this hand around at a Fall Nationals in Phoenix. He will be sorely missed.

Dlr: North North (dummy)
Vul: None ♠ A 10 7 2
National Championship Deal A 8 6
K Q 8 7
West ♣ A Q East
♠ K 3 ♠ J 8 6 4
Q J 7 2 K 10 5 4
J 10 9 3 South (Eric Murray) 4 2
♣ 4 3 2 ♠ Q 9 5 ♣ K 6 5
9 3
A 6 5
♣ J 10 9 8 7
North East South West
1 Pass 1NT Pass
3NT All Pass

Opening lead: 2

Eric was pretty sure that nobody would make the right play after winning the third heart, and say, discarding a diamond from your hand. I will put the problem to you, what would you play from dummy at trick four?

Most players fall into the trap of playing the ♣A Q. However, if East ducks the queen, you can never come to nine tricks without developing the spade suit. And as soon as East or West get in with their spade trick they can take five tricks; three hearts, a spade and a club. So.what is the proper play?

Solution

The proper play is to lead the ♣Q from dummy at trick four! This strange looking finesse is the correct play! If either opponent wins the queen, South has nine sure tricks.

Let’s say that East is smart enough to duck. You counter by leading a low spade to the nine and king. West then cashes his good heart and exits with a club to the ace.

Your next move is to cash three rounds of diamonds. On the third diamond, East is squeezed in the black suits. This is clearly a difficult hand and maybe you can see why Murray thought that nobody would make it, Did you?

The bridge world will sorely miss Eric Murray, a wonderful player with a great sense of humor. I know I will.

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