Bridge

Country Life Every Week - - Crossword Bridge - An­drew Rob­son

The first week­end of the 2017 Home Coun­tries tour­na­ment for the Cam­rose Tro­phy took place in a charm­ing War­wick­shire ho­tel and fea­tured an ar­ray of bril­lian­cies and blun­ders. As usual, the lat­ter out­weighed the for­mer (I was as much to blame as the next player).

Our first Cam­rose deal is a grand slam (al­though many pairs set­tled for Six).

West found the best lead for the de­fence of a Spade, re­mov­ing a dummy en­try pre­ma­turely. De­clarer was, nat­u­rally, un­will­ing to risk the fi­nesse. He counted 11 top tricks (as­sum­ing Di­a­monds split no worse than three-one). The twelfth would come from a Heart ruff in dummy and the thir­teenth, he hoped, would come from a long Club.

Win­ning the Ace of Spades, de­clarer crossed to the Ace-king of Di­a­monds (East dis­card­ing a Heart on the sec­ond, ex­pos­ing the three­one split). Leav­ing West’s Knave of Di­a­monds out, de­clarer cashed the Ace of Clubs, crossed to the Ace of Hearts and ruffed a Club. He crossed to the King of Hearts and ruffed a third Club, both op­po­nents fol­low­ing, but no King ap­pear­ing.

De­clarer ruffed a third Heart and was com­mit­ted to ruff­ing a fourth Club (un­able to take a Spade fi­nesse, be­ing in dummy), hop­ing West held the King (if East held it, West would be over­ruff­ing). Phew— East dis­carded on the fourth Club, so de­clarer could ruff (low), cash the Queen of Di­a­monds, draw­ing West’s Knave and dis­card­ing dummy’s Knave of Spades, then, at trick 12, lead over to the King of Spades to en­joy the Queen of Clubs. Grand slam made.

It would be harsh to say that our sec­ond Cam­rose deal was a blun­der (by de­clarer); more the lack of a bril­liancy.

West led the King of Spades to dummy’s bare Ace. The un­for­tu­nate Club block­age cre­ated prob­lems for de­clarer. He crossed to the bare Ace of Clubs and ruffed a sec­ond Spade, pleased to see East fol­low (he ex­pected East to have a sec­ond Spade, for with KingQueen-knave-ten seven times, would not West have bid Four Spades?). He cashed the King of Clubs, dis­card­ing a Di­a­mond then led the Queen of Clubs, dis­card­ing his other Di­a­mond.

West ruffed and tried to cash the Ace of Di­a­monds. De­clarer ruffed and tried to ruff a third Spade with the ten of Hearts. East over­ruffed with the Knave, ex­ited with a Di­a­mond, and de­clarer had to lose a Spade and the Queen of Hearts. Down one.

Let us re­play. De­clarer knows (from West’s Three Spade bid) that he can ruff at most one Spade in dummy, so he should cash a top Heart early on, in the hope that West be­gan with a sin­gle­ton.

Af­ter win­ning the Ace of Spades and cross­ing to the Ace of Clubs, he cashes the Ace of Hearts (key play). He then ruffs a Spade and cashes the King-queen of Clubs, dis­card­ing Di­a­monds, with West un­able to ruff as his Heart has been re­moved.

De­clarer leads a fourth (win­ning Club) and when (say) East ruffs with the Knave, he can ei­ther over­ruff or dis­card an­other Spade. Ten tricks are se­cure.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.