Con­tract Bridge

The Sentinel-Record - - COMICS, ETC. - Jay and Steve Becker

This deal features a mag­nif­i­cent de­fen­sive play by Pierre Jais, well-known French ex­pert. The hand was played in Paris in a rub­ber-bridge game. Jais was West, part­nered by Jean Besse. The de­clarer was Jac­ques Blaizot.

Play­ing Canape style (bid­ding the shorter suit first), Blaizot opened one club. North re­sponded one di­a­mond, a weak­ness bid in the sys­tem, but South nev­er­the­less leaped to four spades af­ter a one-heart over­call by Besse.

Jais led the queen of hearts.

East over­took with the king, cashed the ace and con­tin­ued with the jack. De­clarer trumped with the spade jack, but Jais, spurn­ing the op­por­tu­nity to over­ruff, dis­carded a club.

South nat­u­rally as­sumed

West did not have the queen of spades. So, af­ter first cash­ing the ace of spades, he led a di­a­mond to the ace, re­turned a spade and fi­nessed the ten. This lost to the lone queen, and Jais later won a di­a­mond trick with the queen to de­feat the con­tract.

It is hard to fault de­clarer’s line of play. Of course, he could have made the con­tract by tak­ing a di­a­mond fi­nesse at trick five, but from his view­point, as­sum­ing that East had the queen of spades, a di­a­mond fi­nesse could be fa­tal. If the jack lost to the queen, South would have to trump East’s heart return with the ten or four, and in ei­ther case the de­fense would be sure to score a trump trick sooner or later. The miss­ing Q-9-8-3-2 of spades would be more than de­clarer could cope with, no mat­ter how they were laid out.

Had Jais over­ruffed the jack

of spades at trick three, de­clarer would have had no real choice but to try a di­a­mond fi­nesse even­tu­ally and would have made the con­tract.

To­mor­row: By the sweat of the brow.

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