BRIDGE

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

South over­called East’s 1H open­ing with 1S. The hand has too many val­ues to bid 2S or 3S and, while one might con­sider 4S with a passed part­ner and favourable vul­ner­a­bil­ity, that would be silly here. Af­ter hear­ing part­ner’s good raise in spades, shown with a cue raise, South did bid the game con­tract.

West led the eight of hearts since part­ner had bid them strongly. De­clarer could count nine tricks and while the tenth might come from a win­ning club fi­nesse, he thought that the king of clubs was more likely to be off­side with the strong open­ing bid. In that case, he needed to keep West, the danger hand, off play to avoid the de­fend­ers lead­ing a club through dummy’s AQ. Thus de­clarer cov­ered the eight of hearts with the nine and East took this with the ten of hearts and shifted to the queen of di­a­monds and threat­en­ing to give West an en­try with the KD af­ter which ? he would lead club through.

There are two points to the play of this hand and the first is to keep West off lead. De­clarer rose with the ace of di­a­monds and noted West’s en­cour­ag­ing 9D. He then en­tered dummy by play­ing the ten of trumps to dummy’s jack. His next move was to call for the jack of hearts. East cov­ered this with the queen and de­clarer threw his los­ing di­a­mond. Now East tried to play a di­a­mond through to West but de­clarer ruffed it high keep­ing West off lead and pro­tect­ing the AQ of clubs. Af­ter cross­ing to dummy by play­ing the eight of trumps to dummy’s queen, de­clarer ruffed a third heart high. As all of the prepara­tory work had now been done, de­clarer crossed back to dummy with the five of trumps to the seven and led dummy’s last heart. When East cov­ered this, de­clarer threw a club and the sec­ond point of the play is seen. East is now end­played and has the choice of lead­ing into dummy’s ace- queen of clubs or con­ced­ing a ruff- and- dis­card. Ei­ther way, de­clarer had his tenth trick. This hand looks very bland at first sight but de­clarer has played well in spot­ting the two themes and manag­ing them at the ta­ble.

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