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.