The Real Deal


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A Modified Rodwell File

Eric Rodwell’s classic book “The Rodwell Files” is loaded with advice for advanced-to-expert players. I have taken the liberty of slightly modifying a deal from his book. South holds:

♠ —  A K Q J 10 7 3  A 5 3   ♣ K Q 8

With neither side vulnerable, East opens 3. South decides he is too strong for a 4 overcall. He starts with double and is less than thrilled when his partner removes to 4♠. No big surprise that partner bid spades! North must have some values, so South jumps to 6 and buys it there. Thank goodness partner doesn’t correct to 6♠. The 6 is led and South sees:

Dlr:
East
Vul:
None
North
♠ K Q J 3 2
4 2
7 4 2
♣ A 10 9
South
♠ —
A K Q J 10 7 3
A 5 3
♣ K Q 8

South has two diamond losers. The only place to put those losers is on dummy’s spades. There are entry issues to consider.

Declarer wins the lead and draws trump, which split 4–0: West has all four. East discards two diamonds and two spades. Now what?

Will you finesse West for the ♣J? If so, you can lead the ♣8 to dummy’s ♣9 and if it wins, lead the ♠K for a ruffing finesse. East, who is marked with the K Q J 10 9 8, won’t also have the ♠A (he preempted).

From the bidding and lead, you know West has a singleton diamond. You can throw a diamond on the ♠K and get back to the ♣A to throw another diamond on the spades. Is that a good plan?

No, for two reasons. One, a clever West player can thwart your plan if, on the first round of clubs, he inserts the ♣J. That means only one dummy entry and no chance. Two, the ♣J might be offside. Take a look at the full deal:

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

As you can see, East has the ♣J; a club finesse results in down two.

Assuming that West held a singleton diamond and the ♠A, there is a 100 percent line of play available. It doesn’t matter who has the ♣J. After drawing trump, declarer makes the brilliant move of leading the ♣K and overtaking with dummy’s ace!

Now comes the ♠K, throwing a diamond. West wins, but that’s all the defense gets. Whether West plays another spade or a club, declarer gains access to the dummy and has 12 tricks.