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

The Strat­ford Schapiro Spring Four­somes, Bri­tain’s pre­mier event, was reach­ing the busi­ness end. Can you re­duce your losers to three on this tricky Four Spades from the round of 16?

De­clarer won West’s Knave of hearts lead with the King, then crossed to the Ace of hearts to run the Queen of Spades. The fi­nesse suc­cess­ful (as it had to be, to stand a chance in this iffy Four Spades), de­clarer led the Knave of Spades to the King and Ace. he crossed to the ten of Spades and ruffed the nine of hearts to elim­i­nate the suit.

At trick seven, de­clarer led the nine of Di­a­monds. West would have done bet­ter to have played low (smoothly), where­upon de­clarer may have run the nine, play­ing for West to have the Knave and east the King. West in­stead rose with the King and ex­ited safely with a sec­ond Di­a­mond.

De­clarer won in hand with the Ace and Di­a­monds, crossed to dummy’s Queen and needed to re­strict the op­pos­ing Club win­ners to two. he led a low Club from dummy, hop­ing east could not in­sert the nine. If east had played the Knave, de­clarer would have cov­ered with the King, let­ting West win the Ace-queen, but give dummy the ten.

When east played low, de­clarer cov­ered with the seven. West could win the nine and cash the Ace, but de­clarer’s King was pro­moted. Ten tricks and game made.

On our sec­ond deal from the quar­ter fi­nal, we see Kent’s Derek Pat­ter­son ap­pre­ci­ate the value of his eight-seven-six of Clubs.

West tried to cash the Ace of hearts, de­clarer ruff­ing and cash­ing the Ace of Di­a­monds to draw trumps. east’s dou­ble of Five Di­a­monds sug­gested he held both top Clubs. It ap­pears de­clarer must lose three Club tricks. how­ever, look at de­clarer’s eight-seven-six.

If West held the ten-nine, de­clarer could re­strict his Club losers to two.

At trick three, Mr Pat­ter­son led and passed the six of Clubs (key play). east won the King and switched to the six of Spades. De­clarer could have run this to dummy’s nine, but elected not to risk the deep fi­nesse and in­stead rely on Clubs to split. he fi­nessed the Queen and led a sec­ond Club to the nine, Knave and Ace.

he won east’s King of Spades with the Ace, crossed to the (ten and) Queen of Clubs, ruffed a heart back to hand and cashed the thir­teenth Club, dis­card­ing dummy’s los­ing Spade. eleven tricks and dou­bled game made.

Note that if de­clarer’s Clubs had been eight-seven-five-three (and east’s Ace-king-six), West would have to cover de­clarer’s seven (then eight) of Clubs with the nine and ten to pro­mote east’s six.

My team (All­frey) reached the semi-fi­nal, where we would meet the num­ber-one seeded Zia Mah­mood’s in­ter­na­tional quar­tet. If we won that match, we’d meet the Ir­ish team for a re­peat of last year’s fi­nal.

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