BRIDGE

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

THE tough­est ques­tion you will rou­tinely face as de­clarer is when to draw trumps. You prob­a­bly learned to draw trumps as your first ur­gent pri­or­ity but a few years’ ex­pe­ri­ence may have mel­lowed that ap­proach. Now you prob­a­bly draw trumps only when there is noth­ing else press­ing to do. Still, it re­mains your most dif­fi­cult ques­tion.

On deal one you play four spades from South. West leads the four of di­a­monds, his part­ner’s suit. How do you play?

Mak­ing four spades will be no prob­lem so long as you can play the spades for only one loser. The way to play spades is to lead them from dummy. Think­ing along th­ese lines, de­clarer grabbed the king of di­a­monds in dummy at trick one and pulled a trump. But it didn’t work out.

East, per­force, won the ace of spades and re­turned the queen of di­a­monds. De­clarer played his ace but he was a spent force when West was able to trump. Later East got on lead with the queen of clubs and cashed the jack of di­a­monds for one down.

Bad luck, the mut­ter went around. ‘‘ Yes,’’ said de­clarer, in­spired by the sym­pa­thy. ‘‘ I drew trumps as quickly as I could.’’ But in the end that was his fail­ing.

De­clarer has to stop the de­fend­ers from trump­ing his di­a­mond win­ner. The way to do this was to win the ace of di­a­monds in hand at trick one, then cross to the king of hearts (the short­est suit) to start spades. West

— pass North 1 2 East 1 pass South 1 4

Once again, East takes the ace and plays a di­a­mond, but the dif­fer­ence is that West can no longer trump one of the di­a­mond hon­ours.

On deal two you are in seven spades on a club lead. You win the ace in dummy, but what do you play at trick two?

It is tempt­ing to get on with the trumps but it will cost you your grand slam.

Once you dis­cover the bad trump break you will be un­able to do any­thing about it.

The winning play is to trump a club at trick two. Now when the bad trump break comes to light you can do some­thing about it. You cross to the jack of hearts and play a trump to the 10 and king. Ace of hearts and a heart to the king is fol­lowed by an­other club ruff. Then a di­a­mond to the king and a third club ruff and fi­nally a di­a­mond to the ace. The lead is in dummy and all de­clarer has is Q 9 sit­ting over East’s J 4. Paul Marston

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