BRIDGE

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Front Page -

TO­DAY you have two de­clarer play prob­lems that you may rate as a light work­out. On deal one you have to fig­ure out where your tenth trick is com­ing from.

But first the bid­ding. The jump to three hearts is an ad­di­tion to the Ber­gen Raise struc­ture that has a fol­low­ing in this coun­try. Over a ma­jor suit open­ing, a jump re­sponse in the other ma­jor shows three-card sup­port for part­ner’s ma­jor along with in­vi­ta­tional val­ues. This left South with a close de­ci­sion. He might well have signed off in three spades but in the end he de­cided to fol­low the mod­ern mantra of when in doubt, bid game.

West leads the queen of hearts. How would you go about de­liv­er­ing on South’s prom­ise?

You can count nine tricks. Nor­mally you’d try to set up a side suit for the ex­tra trick but that’s not much use here. The minute you lose the lead the op­po­nents will grab four tricks by way of two hearts and two clubs.

In­stead, you must put dummy’s trumps to work. You should plan to make your tenth trick by trump­ing a heart in dummy. This calls for the de­lay­ing of the draw­ing of trumps.

Win the first trick with the ace of hearts and im­me­di­ately cash the ace and queen of di­a­monds. Re­turn to hand with a trump in or­der to cash the king of di­a­monds, pitch­ing a los­ing heart off dummy. Next you lead a heart. Now noth­ing can pre­vent you from trump­ing a heart in dummy for your tenth trick. Even one early round of trumps would have doomed your con­tract.

On deal two you have to fig­ure out who has the ace of di­a­monds in or­der to make an over­trick. It is a good ex­am­ple of the sort of West — pass all pass North — 3 East — pass South 1 4 think­ing that is well re­warded in card play.

Af­ter a nor­mal Stay­man auc­tion, you find your­self in three notrumps with nine cer­tain tricks. West leads the six of spades. You duck to East’s jack. East con­tin­ues with the queen of spades to dummy’s ace while West plays the three. You take your four heart tricks fol­lowed by your four club tricks to se­cure your con­tract.

Every­one is down to three cards and you are think­ing about mak­ing an over­trick with the king of di­a­monds. On the run of the win­ners, West threw two spades so you exit with a spade to his re­main­ing win­ner. West takes this and plays a low di­a­mond. The big ques­tion is do you play West to have the ace or queen?

The an­swer lies in West’s dis­card­ing. If West held the ace of di­a­monds he would nat­u­rally keep two winning spades so you should play low from dummy on the di­a­mond lead, ex­pect­ing West to have the queen of di­a­monds not the ace. It duly hap­pens and you make an over­trick for a top board. Paul Marston

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