BRIDGE

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

This hand tempted many into an un­wise open­ing bid of 3NT. While South does hold a solid mi­nor, it is longer than the seven cards ex­pected for a gam­bling 3NT. Be­ing not vul­ner­a­ble, a pre­empt of 5D prom­ises eight tricks which is what this hand has. Those who opened 3NT gen­er­ally played there and missed the good slam. When South opened 5D, North can see three top tricks and two pos­si­ble fi­nesses. Any one of them might of­fer the twelfth trick and, if there is no im­me­di­ate loser, both can be tried for a 75 per cent chance of mak­ing the slam. North, then, has an easy raise to 6D. West has no dif­fi­culty pulling out the king of hearts as the open­ing lead. De­clarer can see ex­actly what North saw in that there are eight trump tricks and three aces plus three fi­nesses all of which can be taken. De­clarer won the ace of hearts and drew two rounds of trumps and pro­ceeded to take the deep fi­nesse of the ten of spades. This lost and East re­turned a heart which was ruffed by de­clarer.

De­clarer could then choose to fi­nesse ei­ther black suit queen but was doomed be­cause of the un­lucky lie of the black hon­ours. Or was he un­lucky? What do you think?

If any two of the three fi­nesses work, de­clarer makes the con­tract and that is a 50 per cent chance. How­ever, if de­clarer had won the AH and ruffed a heart high and crossed to the 8D and ruffed an­other heart high then East no longer has any exit cards in hearts when he wins the JS. So, hav­ing stripped East of hearts, de­clarer can take ei­ther spade fi­nesse. If it loses, East has noth­ing but black cards and must lead into one of the black ten aces on ta­ble giv­ing de­clarer his slam! Try­ing this heart elim­i­na­tion is cost free and is the dif­fer­ence be­tween mak­ing the con­tract and not.

If the hearts are 4-4, de­clarer has to fall back on the two-of-three fi­nesses line but that is ac­cept­able. As is nor­mal with elim­i­na­tion plays, there is a sur­feit of trumps even if they all hap­pen to be in one hand. It is still an elim­i­na­tion play; just one with­out the ruff and dis­card as a com­po­nent.

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