Bridge

Country Life Every Week - - Bridge | Crossword - An­drew Rob­son

WE have been look­ing ex­ten­sively at de­clarer squeez­ing his hap­less op­po­nents. Is there any­thing they can do to stop him? Our first deal comes from across the pond.

West led the Knave of Clubs ver­sus the mar­ginal Six Hearts. De­clarer won the Ace, drew three rounds of trumps and led a Spade. East beat dummy’s Queen with the Ace and, see­ing the weak Di­a­monds in dummy, looked no fur­ther than the Di­a­mond re­turn.

De­clarer re­alised that East would hardly lead from the King of Di­a­monds. He rose with the Ace. He crossed to the King of Spades, re­turned to hand via a fourth Heart, cashed the Knave of Spades (dis­card­ing a Di­a­mond from dummy) and then led out his fifth Heart.

West was poleaxed. He had to dis­card from the King of Di­a­monds and ten-nine-four of Clubs and ei­ther was fa­tal. He chose a Club, but dummy’s Queen of Di­a­monds could dis­ap­pear, to leave King-queen-seven of Clubs. At trick 11, de­clarer led his sec­ond Club to dummy’s King-queen and en­joyed the last trick with the lowly seven.

Twelve tricks and slam made, but have you seen the way for the de­fence to break up the squeeze? East needed to re­turn a sec­ond Club, not a Di­a­mond, when he won the Ace of Spades. This ru­ins the com­mu­ni­ca­tions and the slam must fail.

Our sec­ond deal comes from a du­pli­cate at the An­drew Rob­son Bridge Club. West cashed the Ace of Spades and switched to his sin­gle­ton in part­ner’s Clubs. De­clarer won the Ace and led the King of Di­a­monds. West won the Ace and switched to the Queen of Hearts. De­clarer won the Ace and ran all his Di­a­monds. Ev­ery last one.

On the last Di­a­mond, West had to dis­card from the King of Spades and Knave-ten of Hearts, dummy, cru­cially dis­card­ing af­ter, held the Queen of Spades and King-nine of Hearts. Which­ever ma­jor West chose to let go, dummy would throw the other. In prac­tice, West threw the ten of Hearts, so dummy threw the Queen of Spades. At trick 12, de­clarer led his sec­ond Heart to the (Knave and) King and en­joyed the last trick with the nine.

Eleven tricks and dou­bled game made, mak­ing West wish he’d switched at trick two to the Queen of Hearts. He wins the first Di­a­mond, where­upon he can lead the Knave of Hearts, with East threat­en­ing to ruff away dummy’s King. In­deed, de­clarer needs to with­hold dummy’s King to es­cape with down one.

(1) Ja­coby—show­ing a game­forc­ing Heart raise. (2) 15–19 bal­anced. (3) north can af­ford to cue bid a King fac­ing a bal­anced hand. (4) ace-show­ing cue bid. (5) noth­ing more to add—north dis­likes his ace­less­ness. (6) ace-show­ing cue bid. south is will­ing to go be­yond game, given his fine trump qual­ity and two side aces. (7) Be­cause he has a con­trol (al­beit sec­ond-round) in the un­bid spades.

(1) Weak hand (er, yes) with a good(ish) seven-card suit. East is cer­tainly bot­tom of the range for a vul­ner­a­ble Three clubs. (2) Prac­ti­cal leap. (3) cer­tainly looks right to de­fend, fac­ing a weak hand with seven clubs, al­though when he picked up his fine six-five (‘come alive’), i’m sure he was look­ing for­ward to do­ing plenty of bid­ding in his long ma­jors.

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