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Board 26
East deals
 S A K Q T 9 2 
 H K J 4 
 D Q 6 
 C K 4 
 S J 8 7 5 
 H T 7 6 5 2 
 D J 2 
 C T 9 8 
both vul  S 6 4 3 
 H Q 8 2 
 D 8 7 5 3 
 C Q 7 6 
 S  — 
 H A 9 3 
 D A K T 9 4 
 C A J 5 3 2 

West
Phil


pass
pass
pass
pass
pass
North
Teymur


2S
3D
3S
4NT
7NT
East
Geraint

pass
pass
pass
pass
pass
all pass
South
Toby

1D
3C
3H
4D
5D

Teymur's Flat Board

This hand came up in the quarter-finals of the Portland Bowl. Trinity A were at home to Durham A, and 12 IMPs down after 24 boards. Fortunately, they had a storming final set, winning seven of the eight boards and making it comfortably through to the semi-final weekend in the Portland Club.

The one board on which Trinity failed to swing IMPs in was board 26, in which Teymur made 7NT on an alternate threat squeeze! (The same contract, on an inferior line, was brought in at the other table). The cards and bidding are given here. 2S is a Soloway-type jump-shift: 16+, based on either a self-supporting suit or a fit. The decision to rebid 3D (suggesting the second type) was somewhat dubious, but intended to facilitate finding out about diamond honours. Come what may, he was intending to take over in NT.

Geraint led the D7, covered by the 9, J, and Q. Teymur tested the spades (pitching a heart and two clubs) and then the clubs. Nothing helpful appeared, so he cashed three rounds of diamonds (pitching two spades) and the HA. The scene is now set:

 S
 H K J 
 D  — 
 C  — 
 S
 H x x 
 D  — 
 C  — 
 S  — 
 H Q x 
 D  — 
 C
 S  — 
 H
 D x 
 C
On the final diamond, Phil must keep his SJ. The ST has now served its purpose, and is thrown. Geraint, likewise, must keep the CQ. Teymur now plays his heart, hoping that Phil been forced to bare the HQ (if he held it along with either the CQ or SJ initially). When it does not appear, Teymur still has a decision! If Geraint is left with CQ and SJ, the finesse works, but if he has HQ and CQ, the drop works (he can't have HQ and SJ without earlier absurdity). In the first case, Geraint would have had a free choice of discard last trick*, whereas in the second he had no choice, so restricted choice favours the drop, and Teymur duly made his contract.

* Gareth Birdsall tells us he should choose the SJ with probability ≤ 2/7.