Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I was just reminded of a layout recently that I found interesting and called a "magnet" play.

The situation was that I had AK8 in hand, with J32 on dummy.  Playing this suit for three winners seems easy -- play the Ace and King and hope the Queen drops.

On this deal, however, there was an alternative line that made more sense.  Play RHO for five cards in the suit (contextually more likely than the Q-x dropping) and run a squeeze against those five cards and the known guard in another suit.  So far, so good.  (That line worked, by the way.)

However, a slight increase of odds seemed apparent, and I played for this (not that it mattered this time).  It seemed to me that playing the Jack from dummy operated as a possible "9 magnet" for LHO.  Suppose, for instance, that RHO started with Q10xx.  He might cover the Jack, but then he might not.  If not, LHO will see me play the Jack toward dummy and then fly with the King.  Doesn't that scream that I have A-K-10 and was fishing for a cover?  LHO might visualize this layout and decide to encourage me to play the other top spade later by jettisoning his 9 (to look like he started with Q-9 tight).

Thus, because the Jack has a tendency to dislodge LHO's 9 occasionally, it has the potential to cuase Q10xx with RHO to be a sufficient squeezable holding.  The Jack, in other words, "transfers the menace" by inducing a potentially intelligent jettison.

The same line works if I had 10xx in dummy.  The 10 to the King looks like I might have started with A-K-J.  So, the jettison of the nine, a tricky play, causes Q-J-x-x to be caught as a menace.

Now, all of this was relevant because I had to pitch one of these cards from dummy when running the squeeze.  In other words, I would END UP with only Jx (or 10x) opposite AKx when the squeeze ran.  Otherwise, the Jxx (or possibly the 10xx) works sufficiently without messing with it, and playing the top one actually might transfer the menace in a bad way.  But, since I had to pitch one anyway, I might as well run the magnet play, it seems.  That way, I might get LHO to transfer his own menace back to his partner via the jettison.  In other words, my pitch would allow LHO to guard the suit with 9-x-x, but the magnet play dislodges the 9 and keeps the menace where I want it.

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