BRIDGE

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

North holds a won­der­ful hand to­day. Al­though it has only 22 points, this does not take into ac­count the num­ber of tricks to be made from the long club suit. North opens with a 2C bid which is game forc­ing if the re­bid is any­thing other than 2NT. South replies with the old- fash­ioned but ef­fec­tive re­sponse of 2NT show­ing a bal­anced hand of 8 to 10 points and this makes the auc­tion un­con­di­tion­ally game forc­ing. North bids the club suit and South the heart suit which is known to only be four cards be­cause of the 2NT re­sponse. At this point, it is un­clear how the auc­tion should pro­ceed. North does not ex­pect to make 7NT op­po­site a max­i­mum of 10 points. How­ever, 6NT seems em­i­nently plau­si­ble and so North bids this. West leads the 10S and South pauses to count the tricks. There seem to be three spade, four heart, one di­a­mond and five club tricks if they split nicely. This gives thir­teen tricks af­ter the loss of one club trick so the con­tract seems easy. At the ta­ble, de­clarer played low from dummy and cap­tured East’s QS with the KS. Now ace, king and another club set up the club suit as it split 3- 2. When East re­turned another spade, South sud­denly re­alised there was a prob­lem. Three of the planned tricks, the jack of spades and the queen and jack of hearts, were sud­denly un­reach­able in hand and South went down. South failed be­cause, al­though count­ing the tricks is good, one must also look for the en­tries that are go­ing to al­low one to cash the win­ners. A quick in­spec­tion shows that the only en­try to the South hand is by lead­ing the 2S to the KS, af­ter the clubs are set up. De­clarer had squan­dered th­ese cards at trick one to take the ‘ free fi­nesse’ and, af­ter that, the spade en­try had van­ished. With only one en­try, like here for the South hand, de­clarer must win trick one with the AS keep­ing the KS as a late en­try to ? hand and then un­block the AKH be­fore set­ting up the clubs. The les­son is that a slam is a big deal and you must make a big deal of the plan­ning.

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