The Real Deal


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The Dentist Without Baby Food

I hope the title isn’t too revealing. This deal was bid and played by David Berkowitz in a Florida Sectional Swiss Teams:

♠ A Q 9 5 4
K 4 2
4 2
♣ J 7 3

Your partner opens with a Standard 2♣. Assuming no special system, you respond 2♠. I like to respond in any decent 5-card suit when I have at least 8HCP. Partner raises to 3♠. Now what?

I hope you don’t have the Blackwood or Gerber disease. Gerber is a baby food. It is being abused. This is not the hand to ask for aces. What if partner has, say
♠ K J 10
A Q J 10 4
A K Q
♣ Q 2?
You are off two club tricks. Don’t ask for aces if the answer won’t give the information you need.

It is better to make a control-bid with such a hand. Bid 4. Spades are already agreed. This bid in a new suit tells partner you are not off the first two heart tricks (you have the suit controlled via an ace, king, singleton, or void).

Partner now uses 4NT to ask for aces (or keycards, if you wish) and you soon land in 6♠.

♠ J 3 2
A
A K Q 9 7
♣ A K Q 2

♠ A Q 9 5 4
K 4 2
4 2
♣ J 7 3

West leads the 10 and you have to make a plan.

You have tons of tricks, so the only issue is trumps.

There is no need to ruff your heart in dummy, so at trick two you should work on trumps. How?

Not only because a club ruff is threatening, but because it is the safest way to play spades for one loser, you should start with a low spade to the ace. You’d hate to waste the jack or queen on singleton king.

On your ♠A, both opponents follow low, so you continue with a low spade towards dummy’s jack. If West started with ♠K 10 8 x, you are slated for down one. But, it is East who began with that holding–West shows out on the second spade. You put up dummy’s jack, but East stubbornly ducks.

What’s stubborn about that? Because now when you play another spade, he wins the king and returns the 10. You have to win in dummy in this position:

♠–
A
A K 9 7
♣K Q 2

♠Q 9
K 4 2
2
♣J 7

East still remains with the 10 of spades. How will you extract that card?

If you try to come to hand with the ♣J, East might ruff. If you cash another high diamond, East might ruff.

Did the word “extract” ring any bells? How about the “Dentist” in the title? We’ve already discussed the baby food in the bidding. This deal also featured a dentist’s coup in the play. Before playing that third round of spades, you should have cashed the A and then extracted one diamond from East’s hand. That’s right. Cash one high diamond yourself (if they are 6-0, too bad). Now, come off dummy with the last trump. East wins the ♠K and it is all over. No guessing. If East plays a heart or a club, you win in hand and draw the last trump. If he produces a second diamond, you are also safe–you win in dummy and ruff a diamond to hand.

Here is the real deal, but if you guessed (correctly) to cross to your ♣J, take a full charge. On another day, clubs could have been 5-1.

If you tried to cash two high diamonds, you will remember the dentist next time.

Dlr: West ♠ J 3 2
Vul: E-W A
A K Q 9 7
♣ A K Q 2
♠ 7 ♠ K 10 8 6
Q 8 7 6 5 J 10 9 3
J 8 6 5 3 10
♣ 10 9 ♣ 8 6 5 4
♠ A Q 9 5 4
K 4 2
4 2
♣ J 7 3
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