Squeezing The Dummy

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ira Chorush

Ira Chorush is known and feared by almost every top expert player, yet few others know him. For most of his life he was predominately a rubber bridge player in Houston, going to few tournaments. He did manage to win a few nationals in his spare time. Let's take a look at why Ira is so feared.

You hold: KQJT6 Q52 Q84 Q3. Playing rubber bridge, the auction starts on your left and you hear the opponents bid 1-2-2N-3-4. The 2N bid showed extra values. Your partner leads the 5 of spades playing fourth best and dummy comes down with 984 KJ7 AJT3 KJ2. What's your plan? Decide before reading on.

We can place partner with a doubleton spade from the lead (declarer would likely have bid spades with 4 of them) and declarer with all the high cards. Declarer's shape will be 3-5-2-3 or 3-5-3-2. This pretty much means he has either Axx Axxxx Kxx Ax or Axx Axxxx Kx Axx. We need the declarer to take his finesses into us, and to do that we must let him think our hand is the safe hand. Since declarer cannot read the spades, we can make it look like partner has the five card spade suit. So we win the first spade with the king, and return the jack. Note if we played the ten and then the jack declarer would figure out the position as partner wouldn't be underleading the KQ of spades. The queen followed by the ten or the jack followed by the queen would also work. Declarer, taken in, runs the heart ten into you. Now the key moment, you must NOT cash your spade. Just exit another trump keeping up the image that you have a doubleton spade. Remember, partner led the 5 and then played the 2 so it is a very believable ruse. Declarer will pull trumps, ending in his hand. If he has the first hand we are sunk as he can test clubs before finessing a diamond into us. But if he has the second hand, with 2-3 in the minors, we have him. Declarer will confidently play the king of diamonds and a diamond to the jack planning on discarding both black suit losers even if this finesse loses.

This is exactly how events unfolded at the table, declarer's hand being A63 AT984 K2 A75. Who can blame declarer for falling victim to this great deceptive defense by Ira? Ira is known as a great technician, but his deceptive game matches up with the very best.

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