Bridge

Irish Independent - - Brain Teaser - Mau­reen Hiron

Not one pair reached the op­ti­mum con­tract of Six Clubs on to­day's hand, from the Mar­bella Bridge Fes­ti­val.

Most of the field were play­ing a strong One No-Trump and, although One Club was the pre­ferred choice of open­ing bid by the ma­jor­ity of the Souths, the Norths were aware that this could be a short suit, and the fi­nal con­tacts were mainly 3NT or 6NT. When South be­came the de­clarer in Six No-Trumps, most Wests led a di­a­mond. When this lost to the king and a di­a­mond was re­turned, de­clarer won, and later tak­ing a suc­cess­ful spade fi­nesse, had to de­cide on the best way to tackle the hearts for four tricks.

Cash­ing the ace and king, hop­ing for a 3-3 break, or the jack to drop dou­ble­ton proved fruit­less, and th­ese de­clar­ers failed. At one ta­ble, against 6NT, West chose to lead a top-of-noth­ing nine of spades. De­clarer let this run to the jack, then fi­nessed in di­a­monds.

East won and re­turned SK, but now, when de­clarer cashed all the mi­nor suit win­ners, East was in­ex­orably squeezed. Need­ing to des­per­ately hold on to all four hearts he was forced to part with his S10, hop­ing that part­ner had led from S98x. A be­mused South, af­ter much men­tal re-check­ing, fi­nally came to the con­clu­sion that her S8 was in­deed a win­ner; for her twelfth trick.

Cu­ri­ous - with a per­fect Yar­bor­ough, West led the high­est card in his hand - the one des­tined to be the set­ting trick.

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