Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLES - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

This deal came up in a lo­cal teams game. The sim­ple auc­tion led to the ob­vi­ous game con­tract but most de­clar­ers failed to make it. West led the queen of clubs, which held the trick, and con­tin­ued with the ten won by the club ace. Most de­clar­ers drew two rounds of trumps with the ace and king, dis­cov­er­ing the 4- 1 break. They then played on di­a­monds, but West held up his ace un­til the third round and then ex­ited with a trump to dummy’s 10. The di­a­monds were now use­less as dummy had no more en­tries and West was poised to ruff the next di­a­mond. Most now, des­per­ately, tried a heart to the 10, hop­ing that East held both hon­ours or a dou­ble­ton hon­our, but it was not to be and they could not avoid los­ing four tricks. The prob­lem, as usual, was lack of plan­ning. There ap­pear to be 5 trumps, 4 di­a­monds and two side aces and this ap­par­ent sur­feit of tricks can lead to lazi­ness in plan­ning. Even if trumps are 3- 2, you can­not draw trumps be­fore set­ting up the di­a­monds as dummy lacks a late en­try, other than trumps, to the long di­a­monds.

With this late di­a­mond en­try prob­lem in mind, a bet­ter plan is to duck the first club and win the sec­ond but then only cash the ace of trumps be­fore play­ing on di­a­monds. Like the oth­ers, this West held up the ace un­til the third round and then ex­ited with a trump, to dummy’s 10. De­clarer can now play a good di­a­mond and throw one of the heart losers. West will ruff and try a heart. De­clarer can win East’s queen with the ace, cross to the spade king, draw­ing West’s last trump, and cash the fifth di­a­mond to make the con­tract. This line al­ways makes 10 tricks as long as trumps are not 5- 0, pro­vided the de­fence can­not get a heart ruff, or as long as East can­not win the third round of di­a­monds, lead a heart through the ace, and have both heart hon­ours off­side and spades 4- 1. It is im­por­tant to max­i­mize the chances of mak­ing the con­tract in teams bridge and not to be con­cerned with over­tricks as in pairs.

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