BRIDGE

National Post (National Edition) - - MONDAY DIVERSIONS - By Paul Thurston Feed­back al­ways wel­come at tweedguy@gmail.com

If you wanted a lay­out for an in­ter­me­di­ate-plus class on de­clarer play to il­lus­trate the op­er­a­tion and ben­e­fits of elim­i­na­tion and end­play, this deal from an on­line match would be per­fect.

North’s ar­ti­fi­cial re­sponse was a Ber­gen Raise, the “smaller” ver­sion to show about 7-10 high-card points and at least four-card sup­port for Opener’s ma­jor.

That was enough en­cour­age­ment for South to un­leash Black­wood and lo­cate his part­ner’s ace (1430 Key­card re­sponses) be­fore bid­ding the small slam.

Dummy pro­vided a per­fect fit that of­fered de­clarer two al­ter­na­tives af­ter win­ning the di­a­mond lead and draw­ing trumps.

First pos­si­bil­ity: South could try to guess which op­po­nent to fi­nesse for the Queen of clubs and coast home, this time with an over­trick, if he guessed right by play­ing West for the cru­cial Queen.

But there would be a se­ri­ous cost to guess­ing wrong here as los­ing a trick to the club Queen would re­sult in a fast down one af­ter the de­fense cashed a di­a­mond. And who al­ways guesses the right way to go when faced with a two-way fi­nesse?

Much bet­ter: Af­ter the same pre­lim­i­nar­ies as above, play spade ace, spade King and ruff the closed hand’s last spade. Fi­nally, con­cede the di­a­mond loser to which­ever de­fender wants to win it. With spades and di­a­monds elim­i­nated from the North-South hands, the de­fender who wins the di­a­mond will be end­played, forced to either lo­cate the club Queen with an exit in that suit or give up a ruff and dis­card (trump in dummy while pitch­ing the third club from South) by ex­it­ing with any suit but clubs.

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