Country Life Every Week - - Crossword Bridge - An­drew Rob­son

We re­turn to Monaco for the sec­ond Win­ter Games— a wel­come ad­di­tion to the in­ter­na­tional schedule. This week’s pair of deals em­pha­sises yet again that, even at the top level, win­ning is more about mak­ing fewer mis­takes than per­form­ing bril­lian­cies.

Six Spades would have been de­feated straight away if West had led his sin­gle­ton Di­a­mond. east would have won the Ace and given his part­ner a Di­a­mond ruff. West nat­u­rally pre­ferred a top Club.

De­clarer ruffed the Club, cashed the Ace of Hearts, ruffed his sec­ond Heart and led up a Di­a­mond. Again, east would have de­feated the slam by ris­ing with the Ace and giv­ing his part­ner a ruff.

In truth, this was the in­di­cated de­fence as de­clarer had to have six Di­a­monds (and five Spades) on the bid­ding and play to date.

east wood­enly played sec­ond­hand low and de­clarer won the King. He crossed back to dummy in Spades and led dummy’s sec­ond Di­a­mond.

This time, east should have played low and let his part­ner ruff and lead a sec­ond Spade. De­clarer would have only one Spade left in dummy and two Di­a­monds to ruff.

east would have to win his Ace and that would again be down one. east fell from grace and won his Ace of Di­a­monds on this sec­ond round. De­clarer could ruff his Club re­turn, ruff a Di­a­mond in dummy, ruff a Club back to hand, draw trumps, then cash Di­a­monds. Slam made. east had un­err­ingly found the only way to let de­clarer make his slam.

The star pair­ing of the event was Nor­we­gians Bro­ge­land-lindqvist. How­ever, even the mild­man­nered es­pen Lindqvist wasn’t er­ror-free—take this deal from the semi-fi­nal.

Un­will­ing to lead any other suit, West kicked off with the ten of dummy’s Clubs, the best start to the de­fence. De­clarer, Lindqvist, won the Ace and played Ace-king of Spades (see­ing east’s ten fall), then the nine. West won the Queen and found the best re­turn of his sec­ond Club, sev­er­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

De­clarer won in hand, drew West’s last trump and led the King of Di­a­monds.

east had dis­carded the eight of Di­a­monds to in­di­cate an even num­ber of cards, so West knew to win the King of Di­a­monds with the Ace, ex­it­ing cor­rectly with a low Heart. De­clarer beat east’s Queen with the King, but had to lose two Hearts to West’s Ace-ten. Down one.

At the other ta­ble, de­clarer, also re­ceiv­ing the ten of Clubs lead to his Ace and cash­ing the Ace-king of Spades, made the key play of lead­ing the King of Di­a­monds rather than the nine of Spades.

West could win the Ace and lead his sec­ond Club, but dummy’s Queen-knave of Di­a­monds were es­tab­lished for two Heart dis­cards. Re­al­is­ing this, af­ter beat­ing the King of Di­a­monds with the Ace, West tried Ace and another Heart. It was no use—de­clarer lost only the two red Aces and the Queen of Spades—game made.

In spite of this re­verse, the Nor­we­gians—with Zia/meck­stroth —were the wor­thy vic­tors.

(1) south has a game-forc­ing hand by any stan­dards, but sen­si­bly prefers to start slowly to be able to de­scribe his hand and learn more about the other hands. (2) needs a lit­tle more than four spades and a sin­gle­ton Heart op­po­site—and both ap­pear likely on the bid­ding.

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