Playing Intermediates #001 – This deal starts a series focusing on the value of intermediate cards (body cards) of 10s, 9s, 8s and sometimes 7s. Intermediates give texture (or body) to a hand i.e., not just a hand with high honors and spot cards (aces and spaces). Intermediates are of greatest value when combined with honor cards such as in this deal South's ♠ K107x and North's ♠ Q9xx when seen in combination form an impressive suit holding of ♠KQ1097xxx.
Playing with Diana Mullaly this deal (rotated) was played July 30, 2014 / Hilton Head Island BC.
♠ contract with 21 hcp combined and respective shortness in hearts and clubs (24 shortage pts), not a really good contract (8.5 winners), but NTWC (not the worst contract) ever played. On the positive, lots of good intermediates in combination with honors.
When West leads the ♣ 4 (out of turn) Diana accepts the lead and makes me play the contract from South. (oh thanks!) How would you play this contract?
This contract cannot be made unless West is leading away from the ♣ Q (onside), so take the opening lead finesse to the ♣ 10 (a huge card) and the ♣ 8 back to the ♣ J.
OK things are looking up, if everything else goes well, I can ruff a heart in dummy and put two losing hearts on the ♣ AK. So now is the time to make a play on trumps (spades). Most players focus on the missing ♠ A, but the name of the game is find the ♠ J and the ♠ A will take care of itself. I have kibitzed Bill Wisdom (Salisbury, NC) many times and am always impressed with his play of intermediate cards of 9s and 8s. So, I lead the ♠ 9 from dummy – which BTW now deprives West of a diamond ruff – and when it holds, lead the ♠ 3 to the ♠ 10 picking up the ♠ 8 leaving East with ♠ AJ and neither the ♠ K or ♠ Q have been played yet.
Now ♥ A, trump a heart in dummy with ♠ 4 and lead the ♣ A (pitching a heart), then the ♣ K. With the lead of the ♣ K East is now in passing position (en passant) East either pitches (in which case, pitch a heart) or trumps with ♠ A (again, pitch a heart) or plays the ♠ J (over trump with the ♠ K, trump last heart) ... either way, I can now get back to dummy with a trump or diamond for 10 tricks.
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