Con­tract Bridge

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

There is no royal road to good bridge. In many deals, one has to sweat and strain to achieve the best re­sult, and any­one who thinks oth­er­wise is sure to suf­fer painful dis­ap­point­ments from time to time.

For ex­am­ple, if de­clarer in this deal fol­lows the lazy man’s route of plac­ing all his hopes for mak­ing six clubs on win­ning one of the black-suit fi­nesses, he winds up down one. True, he has a 3-1 chance of mak­ing the slam by try­ing both fi­nesses, but he has an­other method of play avail­able that can sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove his chances.

South should win the heart lead in dummy, cash the A-K of di­a­monds, dis­card­ing two spades, and ruff a di­a­mond with the ten of clubs. Now, hav­ing learned that the di­a­monds are di­vided 4-3, he is prac­ti­cally cer­tain to make the slam.

His next play should be the three of clubs! This un­usual play gives him the ex­tra en­try he needs to estab­lish dummy’s di­a­monds.

Let’s say West goes up with the queen of clubs and re­turns the ten of hearts. De­clarer wins with the queen, leads the seven of trumps to the nine and ruffs a di­a­mond with the jack.

Af­ter draw­ing West’s last trump, he crosses to dummy with a heart, dis­cards the queen of spades on the nine of di­a­monds and so chalks up the vul­ner­a­ble slam.

The sug­gested line of play

is a bit more com­pli­cated than re­ly­ing strictly on East to have the queen of clubs or king of spades, and fi­ness­ing against ei­ther or both of them. But that is not a good enough rea­son for dis­re­gard­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of es­tab­lish­ing dummy’s di­a­monds -- even though it takes a lit­tle more sweat to ac­com­plish the mis­sion.

To­mor­row: Sec­ond thoughts

don’t count.

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