ACBL Bridge Beat #55: Intercity Holdup
By Lew Mathe
Today’s hand is a paradox in that a holdup play, or safety play, should not be made.
This hand from the Intercity Match was bid and played the same way at both tables by two of the top experts.
|♠ K 7 3|
|♥ Q J 5 3|
|♦ A 10 9 4 2|
|♠ A J 10 8 6||♠ Q 9 5 4|
|♥ A 10||♥ K 9 7|
|♦ 8 7 5||♦ K Q 6|
|♣ A 8 6||♣ K 7 5|
|♥ 8 6 4 2|
|♦ J 3|
|♣ Q J 10 9 3 2|
The opening lead was the ♣Q, which declarer ducked in both hands, allowing South to win the first trick.
In this case, the holdup was ill advised, as South now switched to the ♥2. Declarer now saw his peril and went up with dummy’s ace.
The diamond eight was now led from dummy, an attempt to fool North, if he had the ace, into thinking that a finesse was making.
As you can see, if one diamond can be sneaked through then the spade suit can be established, then the spade suit can be established for nine tricks. However, North hopped up with the diamond ace and returned the ♥Q.
This eliminated declarer’s last heart trick and when the spade finesse lost, the defense took two more heart tricks and set the contract.
This error in play is the type that only very good players will make.
Which only proves that too much learning can be a dangerous thing.