Bridge

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

The an­nual Brighton Pairs moved to east­bourne from 2016, a less fre­netic place and one per­haps bet­ter suited to bridge play­ers. I’m pleased to say that part­ner Alexan­der All­frey and your colum­nist fin­ished first out of the 270 com­pet­ing part­ner­ships.

here is a fas­ci­nat­ing Six Notrumps from the Satur­day evening ses­sion, in keep­ing with our re­cent theme of squeeze-play.

West led the un­bid suit de­spite hold­ing only a sin­gle­ton. De­clarer won the Club lead with dummy’s Ace (east sig­nalling with the Queen) and led a Spade to the Queen. West won the Ace and switched to a pas­sive heart. De­clarer took dummy’s Acek­ing and saw east dis­card a Club on the se­cond. he cashed the Kingk­nave of Spades, dis­card­ing a Club and a Di­a­mond, crossed to his King of Diamonds and cashed the Queen of hearts, dis­card­ing a Spade.

here is the five-card end­ing with de­clarer on lead:

The lousy heart split meant de­clarer needed the Di­a­mond fi­nesse to bring his trick tar­get to 11. he would then need ei­ther a 3–3 Di­a­mond split or a squeeze to reach the de­sired 12 tricks. De­clarer paused to con­sider the ev­i­dence. West had not led a se­cond Club when in with the Ace of Spades. The sim­ple rea­son for his fail­ure to find this squeeze-re­duc­ing de­fence was that he didn’t hold a se­cond Club.

The play of the Spade suit, east fol­low­ing with the nine-then-ten on the se­cond and third rounds, sug­gested east held the re­main­ing eight (ad­mit­tedly, West could have been false-card­ing). That meant West was 3-5-4-1 and east 4-1-2-6.

That be­ing the case, de­clarer had a choice of squeezes. he could ei­ther squeeze West in the red suits by cash­ing the King of Clubs or he could cash the Knave of hearts, dis­card­ing a Di­a­mond, then play a Di­a­mond to the Knave and cash the Ace to squeeze east in the black suits. ei­ther way, 12 tricks and slam made.

Only a most el­e­gant de­fence de­feats Three Spades on our se­cond east­bourne Pairs deal.

West wisely stayed off his part­ner’s hearts, given his Ace-small­s­mall hold­ing, choos­ing the Knave of Diamonds. east won the Ace and knew his part­ner’s style was not to lead from a King. A Di­a­mond re­turn looked un­ap­peal­ing, as did a heart (see­ing dummy’s hearts). he there­fore switched to a Club, care­fully choos­ing the Queen, a sur­round play that would work best if de­clarer held the King. The Queen held, so he con­tin­ued with a low Club to West’s King, West lead­ing a third Club to east’s Ace. Now came the coup de grâce.

Read­ing the deal per­fectly, at trick five, east led his re­main­ing Club. This brought about a trump pro­mo­tion, cre­at­ing a de­fen­sive trump trick, where oth­er­wise none would exist (de­clarer lead­ing to the Ace, felling east’s King, then back to his Queen, felling West’s Knave).

De­clarer tried the ten of Spades, but West over­ruffed with the Knave, forc­ing out dummy’s Ace and pro­mot­ing east’s King. Down one.

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