Monday, May 7, 2007

Restricted Choice **

In the local team game last Wed. night I landed in 6 spades with the following combined trump holding:

Q7 in dummy
K98xxxx in hand

The bad news was I was missing both the A and J of trump. The good news was that I had 9 of them and no other losers in the hand. It was critical to hold my trump losers to one. To go down in a slam (especially if the other team makes it!) is to lose the match.

I came to my hand and started by leading low toward the Q. The J was played on my left and RHO won the ace. I returned to the board to lead toward my hand. RHO followed low and the moment of truth had arrived. Play for the drop of the 10 or follow the rule of restricted choice and finesse the 9?

I thought for a while and decided I couldn't ignore the rule of restricted choice. I played the 9 and LHO showed out! Whew! Slam bid and made. We won 17 imps on the board as the other declarer, in 6NT, played for the drop and went down.

The concept of restricted choice is elusive and complex. Wikipedia has a rather simple explanation:

If you google it you can find many references but most of them are difficult reads. A simple rule of thumb would be: If you are missing 2 touching honors and one opponent plays one of them, play the other opponent for the other honor.
See you at the table!

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