Country Life Every Week - - Crossword Bridge - An­drew Robson

Ien­joyed my trip to Wro­claw (Bres­lau to the Ger­mans), the largest city in western Poland, for the World Bridge Games (ef­fec­tively the bridge olympics, held ev­ery four years). The three-mile walks along the River oder to and from the play­ing site en­er­gised me to play largely de­cent bridge. not per­fect, how­ever—take this mis­de­fence against Bos­nia Herze­gov­ina.

Hav­ing jos­tled north-south out of their easy Three notrumps, I was dis­ap­pointed not to de­feat Five Clubs. Part­ner Tony For­rester led the sin­gle­ton Knave of Spades. dummy played low, but I won the King any­way (hop­ing West’s Knave was sin­gle­ton).

At trick two, I cashed the Ace, part­ner dis­card­ing a low Heart. What next?

At the ta­ble, I chose to lead a third Spade, hop­ing to pro­mote a pu­ta­tive Knave of Clubs in part­ner’s hand. no good—de­clarer ruffed with the Knave, crossed to the Queen of Clubs, back to the Ace of Hearts, cashed the Acek­ing of Clubs pleased to see the 3–3 split, then went over to the Ace of di­a­monds to en­joy the win­ning Hearts, shed­ding his los­ing di­a­monds. Game made.

The win­ning de­fence is for east to switch to a di­a­mond at trick three, butcher­ing de­clarer’s blocked com­mu­ni­ca­tions. de­clarer wins dummy’s Ace (per­haps Queen, King, Ace) and has lost his late en­try to the Hearts.

He can do no bet­ter than cross to the Ace of Hearts, back to the Queen of Clubs and try the top Hearts, dis­card­ing di­a­monds. How- ever, east ruffs the fourth round and de­clarer must lose a di­a­mond at the end.

There was a (fairly) friendly de­fen­sive dis­cus­sion at the end. ‘I would have dis­carded a (dis­cour­ag­ing) low di­a­mond (on the sec­ond Spade) if I wanted a third Spade,’ con­tended West. ‘I thought you’d have thrown a high di­a­mond if you wanted a di­a­mond,’ came my plain­tiff re­ply.

There was an el­e­gant de­fence to de­feat Four Spades on our sec­ond deal—from eng­land v Kuwait. Can you spot it? The cor­rect per­cent­age play for de­clarer to avoid a Spade loser is to lay down the Ace, suc­ceed­ing when ei­ther op­po­nent holds the bare King. The al­ter­na­tive of run­ning dummy’s Queen suc­ceeds only when specif­i­cally West holds the bare Knave, half the a pri­ori chance. Watch the de­fence pro­mote a Spade trick —to go with their two Hearts and a Club.

West led the six of Clubs to dummy’s nine and east’s Knave. Re­sist­ing the temp­ta­tion to try a top Club at trick two, east switched to his sin­gle­ton Heart. West beat de­clarer’s King with the Ace and cashed the Queen. If, at trick four, West had led a third High Heart, I doubt east would have worked out to ruff with his Knave of Spades. In­stead, West led a low Heart.

east smartly ruffed the Heart with the Knave of Spades (which could hardly cost, even if de­clarer held an­other Heart). A huffy de­clarer over­ruffed with the Ace, but West’s sin­gle­ton King was pro­moted into the set­ting trick.

de­clarer sub­se­quently guessed di­a­monds, play­ing the open­ing bid­der for the miss­ing Queen by cross­ing to the Ace and run­ning the Knave—but that was down one.

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