03-27 ACES xx

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“How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.”– Thomas JeffersonToday’s deal comes from a recent U.S. Nationals, where IMP scoring was in place. What that means is that, just like in a team game, the swings on the big deals would determine whether you did well or badly, unlike in the standard pair game, where every deal is equally important.

The deal came up in the first final session of the IMP Pairs. The author indicated that he was lucky enough to be the beneficiary of a gift here, but that names would not be used, to protect the guilty.

Where would you like to play? The slam of six spades is not great, but it is playable. South’s decision not to open two clubs is questionable, but once he found a moderate hand and spade support opposite, nothing could keep him below the six-level.

How should South play on a club lead? The right answer is to win the club ace, cash the top spades, then play off the heart ace. Now you take your two high diamonds and ruff a diamond.

If the suit splits, you are home. If East overruffs, you were never going to make it.

However, if you ruff the third diamond and no queen appears but East cannot overruff, you take your second chance. You run the heart queen to pitch a diamond. So long as the heart king is onside, you rate to be able to pitch your diamonds on the winning club and a heart in dummy.