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

Des­per­ate de­fen­sive mea­sures may be called for when the op­po­nents bid very con­fi­dently. Our first deal comes from eng­land ver­sus Hun­gary at the World Bridge Olympiad in Istanbul.

as West, what would be your open­ing lead against six Hearts?

at one ta­ble, West led a wooden King of Clubs. De­clarer won the ace, shed­ding a spade. With the rar­ity of hav­ing no trumps to draw, de­clarer ruffed a Club and led up the Knave of spades. If the King had lost to east’s ace, he would have had the Di­a­mond fi­nesse in re­serve.

Here, West played low, but dummy’s King of spades won. De­clarer had the lux­ury of the Di­a­mond fi­nesse, but made six when the Knave of Diamonds lost to the Queen.

at the other ta­ble, West rea­soned de­clarer’s fail­ure to use Black­wood prob­a­bly meant he had a void, likely (look­ing at West’s hand) in Clubs. With des­per­ate mea­sures prob­a­bly re­quired to de­feat the slam, West put the two of spades on the ta­ble.

De­clarer did smell a rat. surely West had to have the ace to jus­tify his take­out dou­ble, but he didn’t have the courage of his con­vic­tions and wasn’t pre­pared to look silly if West had found a more mun­dane lead from the Queen of spades. He played low from dummy.

He was soon kick­ing him­self as east won the Queen and re­turned a sec­ond spade to West’s ace. Down one.

the ace-un­der­lead against a con­fi­dently bid six is a known ploy in ex­pert cir­cles, but it’s such a gam­ble, most de­clar­ers pay off to it. How­ever, the re­ally classy ex­pert de­clarer tries to have his cake and eat it. take the late Mar­shall Miles of Cal­i­for­nia.

Would you be­lieve West at both ta­bles led the three of spades? One de­clarer played low from dummy with­out giv­ing the mat­ter much thought. east, how­ever, did give the mat­ter weighty con­sid­er­a­tion.

If West had led from Knave­seven-three (leav­ing de­clarer with ace-two), wouldn’t de­clarer have played dummy’s eight if he needed a third spade trick?

When he didn’t bother to do so, it couldn’t be wrong for east to play the Queen. and it could be very, very right, if West had found the ace-un­der­lead. east won the Queen and was soon lead­ing back to West’s ace. Down one, de­clarer mut­ter­ing some­thing un­print­able un­der his breath.

When Mr Miles was declar­ing, he wasn’t pre­pared to play West for the bril­liant ace-un­der­lead, but in­stead of the ca­sual low spade from dummy, he care­fully called for the eight, cre­at­ing the im­pres­sion that he was fi­ness­ing against the nine, seek­ing an im­por­tant third spade trick hold­ing ace-two in hand.

east fell for the bait, smugly cov­er­ing the eight with the nine. De­clarer swooped on the trick with his Knave, drew trumps, dis­carded his sec­ond spade on a top Di­a­mond and, to rub salt into east­west’s wounds, fi­nessed east for the Queen of Clubs (King and low to the Knave) to se­cure his over­trick.

Be­ing right when you’re wrong is one of the great skills of the win­ning player.

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