Open­ing lead - ten of clubs.

One vi­tal char­ac­ter­is­tic of any suc­cess­ful player’s psy­che is tem­per­a­ment. A player who is eas­ily up­set by a bad break, or who al­lows a poor re­sult on one deal to ad­versely in­flu­ence his play on a sub­se­quent deal, is not likely to do well over the long haul. Take this case where de­clarer lost his cool af­ter run­ning into a 4-0 split in a crit­i­cal suit while play­ing what looked like an iron­clad slam.

He won the open­ing club lead in dummy in or­der to tackle his most promis­ing suit, di­a­monds. But when East dis­carded a heart on the low di­a­mond lead, South was sud­denly con­fronted with the prospect of go­ing down.

This un­ex­pected turn of events proved to be more than South could han­dle. He fi­nessed the di­a­mond queen, los­ing to the king, and won the club re­turn with the king. Sad to say, he later mis­guessed which way to take the spade fi­nesse and fin­ished down one. How­ever, if South had more calmly re­viewed the sit­u­a­tion af­ter East failed to fol­low to the first di­a­mond, he would have re­al­ized that the slam was still a 100 per­cent cer­tainty.

Af­ter East showed out at trick two, de­clarer should have gone up with the ace and then led a low di­a­mond to­ward the jack. West could not af­ford to take the king since this would es­tab­lish the re­main­ing di­a­monds. Af­ter dummy’s jack won, South would then need to score only three spade tricks with­out al­low­ing West to gain the lead.

This could be man­aged very eas­ily by lead­ing a club to the king fol­lowed by a spade to the nine. Even if the fi­nesse lost to East, 12 tricks - three spades, four hearts, two di­a­monds and three clubs - would have been as­sured.

As it hap­pens, the fi­nesse works and the queen later falls, so de­clarer winds up with an ex­tra trick as a bonus for main­tain­ing his com­po­sure.

Duzi Bridge Club, Re­sults 7 Fe­bru­ary 2018

1. A. Steere and S. Lloyd; 2. S. Moore and M. Rivers-Moore; 3. M. Ak­er­man and V. Fowler.

Vic­to­ria Bridge Club

1. Carol Birch and Gail O’Shea; 2. Tish Kauff­man and Keith Hitch­cox; 3. Robin Leisegang and Ave Wing­field.

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