BRIDGE

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

This hand is from a teams game on Bridge­Base Online ( www. bridge­base. com if you are un­fa­mil­iar with it). North opened a nat­u­ral 1D. This is much bet­ter than open­ing th­ese hands with a strong 2C or 2D since those bids re­move all the space re­quired to find the best con­tract. South re­sponded 1S as there were in­suf­fi­cient val­ues for a two level re­sponse. When North re­versed into 2H, show­ing 17+ points, South used a con­ven­tion called Black­out. This con­ven­tion makes the lower of 2NT and 4th suit ( 2NT here) an ar­ti­fi­cial weak bid. North con­tin­ued to bid out his shape and South, with no fit, bid 3NT rather than 4S in the 4- 3 fit. West led the 8C, top of noth­ing, and South could see the prob­lem was go­ing to be the lack of en­tries to the South hand to lead small cards to­wards dummy. East en­cour­ages with the 7C. The de­fence might be per­suaded to play another club so de­clarer false carded by win­ning with the QC. To East, it seems that part­ner has the 9C and that the lead is not top of noth­ing, per­haps KJ98. At trick two, de­clarer led a small di­a­mond to the king and ace and then played the jack which East won. East now played the AC and de­clarer must not spoil the pic­ture by play­ing the K, J or 9. It must be the 2C to pre­serve the il­lu­sion that South started with Q32 or Q52 of clubs. When East con­tin­ued another club, the con­tract was easy al­though it was, in fact, al­ways safe with care­ful play. How would de­clarer have done if they had cho­sen 4S in­stead of 3NT? The main point of the play in this con­tract is that de­clarer must play one of the red suits. Hearts is much bet­ter than di­a­monds, early so as to be able to dis­card the sec­on­dround loser in the other red suit. If the club suit can be picked up for 1 loser then the de­fend­ers can be held to one red card, AC and QS. A club lead from West or from dummy will solve the club prob­lem eas­ily.

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