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I haven't played in years...

Welcome to Foolish Bridge Players, and please do feel free to contribute!

Perhaps it's time to come back? Most bridge clubs and tournaments are non-smoking and quite friendly now. Rude behavior is no longer tolerated, and most clubs and tournaments impose penalties for it.

... but it seems like it is a bad play by South. South is playing West for a specific holding and a misplay. West has to have Kx and not rise up with the K for this to work. Kx is a 25% holding. Assuming West guesses wrong 90% of the time, that reduced it to 22%. Playing the KH is 25%, while the finesse is 50%. Maybe due to the bidding, the K is more likely to be with West. But I still think the finesse is higher odds.

In a normal game in which hands were dealt or otherwise randomly generated, I would agree with you in principle. The surprise here, thought, is that the king being singleton (2 x 1/3 x 39% = 26%) is exactly the same as the probability of West holding a doubleton king (2/3 x 39% = 26%).

But this was a standard pairs game in a tournament, with official tournament sets of hands in which you can pretty much count on a critical honor being offside and protected (as here), the missing trumps splitting 5-0 on the wrong side opposite your 4-4 fit, and whatever else can be against you actually being against you.

Okay, I exaggerate. But only slightly.

How about this line?
South wins the AC and cashes the AH. Now play the JS to dummy. Go up with the K if West ducks. West does best to win the Ace and shift to diamonds. Dummy wins the AD, cashes the KS. When the QS doesn't drop, ruff small spade. Now the spades are set up to pitch all the diamonds on. Losing two tricks, if I did it right.

That would have been the correct line of play if West had played the ace of spades on the jack.

In the actual deal, declarer led the jack of spades at trick four, west ducked, and declarer wrongly let the jack ride. As a result, east's queen won the trick and there was no way to avoid a diamond loser. Declarer should have covered the jack with the king, then ruffed three spades, returning to the board by ruffing two clubs and then by cashing the ace of diamonds. The fifth spade and dummy's last trump take two of the last three tricks so declarer loses only a diamond, also making six.

So the bottom line is that declarer should have made six either way after the deception worked.

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