BRIDGE

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

The NS pair were play­ing a 14-16 1NT and over North’s en­quiry, opener showed four spades and re­spon­der sim­ply bid 3NT. The rule for flat hands op­po­site a 1NT opener is that with a min­i­mum of 24 hcp be­tween the hands, al­ways bid game. With a max­i­mum of 25 hcp al­ways stop in 1NT. This rule works well and avoids the need for in­vi­ta­tional bids and all the as­so­ci­ated hes­i­ta­tions and angst! Since the spades had been bid, West led the fourth best 8D and de­clarer has to make a plan. There are three club, three heart, one di­a­mond (be­cause the lead is giv­ing you one) and one spade trick giv­ing a to­tal of eight tricks. De­clarer needs to see where a ninth trick might come from. The di­a­monds might be 3-3 or the ten might be on­side and the hearts might be 3-3 or the jack might come down dou­ble­ton or the heart fi­nesse might work. So, keeping these in mind, de­clarer plays small from dummy and East plays the king and re­turns the six.

De­clarer tried the nine in case the lead was from A87 but West plays the ten and the queen wins and the po­si­tion is clear. Next de­clarer plays a club to the king and a spade to­wards the queen which holds. It’s clear at this point that West holds the AS as well as the AD and so de­clarer must re­move all West’s cards in hearts and clubs be­fore throw­ing him in with a di­a­mond. De­clarer plays the ace and queen of clubs and the ace, king and queen of hearts test­ing the heart po­si­tion. Now when he ex­its with a di­a­mond, West wins two di­a­monds but must con­cede a trick to the king of spades. The ini­tial play of the spade to­wards the queen is an ex­am­ple of Mor­ton’s fork. If West rises, de­clarer gets two spade tricks for his con­tract. If West ducks, he gets end­played as here.

Per­haps, with such good spade in­ter­me­di­ates, West should have led a spade to North’s queen. Then, when de­clarer has to play di­a­monds him­self, he must lose three tricks plus two spades when East leads one through.

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