The Weekend Australian - Review - - Mind Games - PaulMarston

The Chi­nese A-level Club Tour­na­ment, hosted at Wu­jiang, Suzhou in Jiangsu Prov­ince is the top bridge event in China. It is played over three stages with a start­ing field of 16 teams. The in­ter­est­ing thing about this event is that it is open to for­eign play­ers. That is un­usual for a do­mes­tic com­pe­ti­tion. It shows how the Chi­nese are keen to give their lead­ing play­ers the tough­est op­po­si­tion. This year Dutch stars Sjo­ert Brink and Bas Dri­jver took part, as did Bul­gar­i­ans Roumen Trendafilov/Kar­lin Karaivanov and Dawei Chen/Kazuo Fu­ruta from Ja­pan.

Ex­perts would make four spades on this deal be­cause the cor­rect play in the trump suit is noth­ing more than good ba­sic tech­nique for ex­perts. If you don’t know about this tech­nique, how­ever, you would go down in four spades with­out ever re­al­is­ing that you could have done bet­ter.

West be­gan with the ace and king of hearts. De­clarer, a sea­soned cam­paigner, ruffed the con­tin­u­a­tion with the six of spades as a mat­ter of tech­nique. The think­ing is to keep the four of trumps in case you need to play it un­der dummy’s five. De­clarer played the ace of trumps at trick three and when West dis­carded a heart he could see he had a battle on his hands and that he would need some luck. He would now need the clubs and di­a­monds to break 3-3. He cashed the three top di­a­monds fol­lowed by the ace and king of clubs. Then he ex­ited with the jack of clubs. West won with the queen of clubs and ex­ited with a heart – that’s all he had left. De­clarer ruffed the heart exit in dummy with the five of trumps and un­der­ruffed in hand with the pre­cious four. A trump was then led from dummy and when East played the jack, de­clarer let him hold the trick. De­clarer took the last two tricks with the ten and king of trumps.

On this next deal, you have to find the best way to play the club suit to make your three no trumps.

West leads the jack of spades, which you win in hand. You have eight top tricks and the club suit is the best can­di­date for an ex­tra one. How would you pro­ceed?

Best is the ace then the two of clubs. When East wins with the jack of clubs you have your ex­tra trick. All you have to do now is lead your ten of clubs to force out the king, es­tab­lish­ing the queen as a win­ner.

If West had taken the ten of clubs with the jack, you would have won the re­turn and ar­ranged to lead your last club to­wards dummy’s queen. This way of tack­ling the club suit loses only when West started with a dou­ble­ton jack of clubs, roughly a 6 per cent chance a pri­ori.

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