The Oldie

Bridge Andrew Robson


To hold good trump support for your partner can hardly be a bad thing in itself. But if all your strength is in trumps and the rest of your hand is barren, you should be wary of bidding too optimistic­ally. You are what is known as ‘trump-bound’.

If you replaced North’s ♥ QJ with two small hearts, and made two small cards elsewhere into a queen and a knave ( ♠ Q for example), then North would be worth 4 ♥ . As it was, ♥ QJ rated to be wasted – the heart suit figured to play without loss in either case – and a raise to 3 ♥ would have been sufficient. 4 ♥ was a dreadful contract, yet it made through a combinatio­n of good declarer play and ordinary defence. 1. Weak Two, showing six decent diamonds

and 5-10 points, a mini-pre-empt. 2. Close between Pass, 2 ♥ and a take-out

double. 3. Tempting but North has so much in hearts and not enough outside. Further, he has the wrong number of diamonds. The opponents appear to have a nine-card fit; better, therefore, to have either one diamond, or three (meaning partner probably has only one). West led ♦ K and, when it held, followed with

♦ Q. His safe ♣ J switch was won by ♣ K and declarer drew trumps, cashed ♣ A, crossed to a trump in dummy, trumped ♣ 7, then led

♠ 3. West played ♠ 8 and dummy’s ♠ K held the trick, East playing ♠ 2. Declarer returned dummy’s ♠ 5 and East’s ♠ Q won the trick.

With no more spades to play, East was now forced to lead a minor-suit card. Declarer trumped in hand, discarded ♠ 7 from dummy, and claimed the rest. West had ‘gone to bed’ with his ♠ A and was disappoint­ed with his partner’s defence. Can you see why? East should have unblocked his ♠ Q under dummy’s ♠ K, enabling West to win the second spade trick and cash a third round. ANDREW ROBSON

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