The Real Deal


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I transferred, but I declared!

This deal was played by Chris Willenken in the 2019 Southeastern Regional Knockout Teams. He used a Texas transfer, but ended up being declarer, and did quite a great job of it! With both sides vulnerable, he held:

♠K 10 9 8 6 4   8 6 3  8  ♣10 4 3

His partner opened 2NT. I agree with Chris’s decision to insist on game – the good six-card suit combined with being vulnerable at IMPs make it the educated guess. He transferred, using 4 to ask partner to bid 4♠, but wound up declaring. How is that? His lefthand opponent made a lead-directing double, which was passed back to him. He now bid 4♠, and played it there. West led the ♣7.

North
♠ A 2
K Q
A Q 5 2
♣ A 9 8 6 5
South
♠ K 10 9 8 6 4
8 6 3
8
♣ 10 4 3

Declarer won the ♣A (RHO followed with the 2) and played the K. LHO won the A and returned a heart, RHO playing high–low. From the lead-directing double and play, it looked like hearts were 6–2, so he decided he wouldn’t be able to ruff his losing heart in dummy. Even if he wanted to ruff a heart in dummy, the only way to reach his hand was to play A and a diamond ruff. But that would give up the ability to finesse the Q.

He laid down the ♠A: low, low, queen. He followed restricted choice and led a spade to his 10, LHO throwing a heart. Next came a winning diamond finesse, followed by the A to pitch a losing club. Then came a diamond ruff to leave this unusual position:

North
♠ —
5
♣ 9 8 6 5
West
♠ —
J 9 7
K 10
♣ —
East
♠ J 7
♣ K Q J
South
♠ K 9 8
8
♣ 10

Declarer has to lose a heart and club, but a trump trick? He exited with a losing heart (a club also works). LHO had to win and play a red suit. Declarer ruffed, then exited with his losing club to take the last two tricks. Brilliant!

This was the Real Deal:

North
♠ A 2
K Q
A Q 5 2
♣ A 9 8 6 5
West
♠ Q
A J 9 7 5 4
K 10 9 4 3
♣ 7
East
♠ J 7 5 3
10 2
J 7 6
♣ K Q J 2
South
♠ K 10 9 8 6 4
8 6 3
8
♣ 10 4 3