Bridge

Country Life Every Week - - Bridge Crossword - An­drew Rob­son

SO of­ten for­tune favours the bold at the bridge ta­ble. Take this deal from the fate­ful quar­ter­fi­nal match against the Nether­lands at the World Bridge Games in Wro­claw.

Would you have es­sayed Three Spades over East’s pre­empt? It’s hardly text­book—nor­mally, you should have open­ing val­ues to bid over an op­pos­ing pre­empt. (1) Weak with seven de­cent Di­a­monds. (2) The vul­ner­a­bil­ity is a dou­bleedged sword. if your bid back­fires (dou­bled), you lose sub­stan­tially more when dou­bled. How­ever, if there’s a game con­tract to be made, you score sub­stan­tially more when vul­ner­a­ble. (3) not a mile from a Three notrump gam­ble, but part­ner doesn’t have to have such a good suit at favourable vul­ner­a­bil­ity. in­deed, most mod­ern ex­perts would open Three Di­a­monds if the King of Di­a­monds were the two of clubs.

West brightly kicked off with the Queen of Clubs, seek­ing to set up a slow trick. De­clarer won dummy’s King, led a Spade to the King (re­lieved trumps were not four-nil given West’s dou­ble), then led up a Heart, West play­ing low (best). Crunch time.

De­clarer knew he had a Spade loser (be­cause of West’s dou­ble) in ad­di­tion to the two red Aces. There­fore, he couldn’t af­ford a Club loser. Need­ing three Heart win­ners in dummy for two Club dis­cards in hand, de­clarer made the nec­es­sary deep fi­nesse of the ten (key play).

The ten of Hearts win­ning, de­clarer crossed to the Ace of Spades (East dis­card­ing), then led up his sec­ond Heart, putting West in an un­pleas­ing dilemma. If he rose with the Ace, dummy’s Kingqueen would pro­vide two Club dis­cards, so West played low.

Win­ning dummy’s King of Hearts, de­clarer ruffed a Heart and led up a sec­ond Club. The com­bined power of his nine and dummy’s eight meant that he had a third Club trick by force.

If West played low, dummy’s eight-spot would win where­upon de­clarer would be able to chalk up an un­ex­pected over­trick, then cash­ing the Ace of Clubs, ruff­ing a fourth Heart and ruff­ing a fourth Club, so West split his Clubs, in­sert­ing the ten.

De­clarer won dummy’s Ace, led back the eight to West’s Knave and let West cash but the Queen of Spades and the Ace of Di­a­monds. With the nine of Clubs pro­moted, that was dou­bled game made.

Our fi­nal Wro­claw deal was a tricky Five Clubs, with the weak hand declar­ing (how of­ten that seems to hap­pen).

West led the King of Spades and con­tin­ued with a sec­ond Spade (best). De­clarer ruffed low and con­sid­ered his dilemma. If he led a Club to the Queen, West would win and lead a third Spade.

Forced to ruff with dummy’s Ace, East’s ten would be pro­moted—down one. Given that any spe­cific Club (rel­e­vantly the ten) rated to be in a three-card hold­ing rather than a two-card hold­ing, at trick two, de­clarer led and passed dummy’s eight of Clubs (key play), a fi­nesse against the ten.

As de­clarer hoped, the eight drew West’s King. He ruffed West’s third Spade with dummy’s Ace, cashed the Ace-king of Hearts, ruffed a Heart, cashed the Queenknave of Clubs draw­ing East’s ten and claimed his 11-trick game.

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