Con­tract Bridge

The Weekly Vista - - Fun & Games - by Steve Becker

Play it again, Sam

From a rub­ber-bridge game comes this deal where the play was not pre­cisely a model of per­fec­tion. West led the di­a­mond king against four hearts dou­bled,

East play­ing the deuce. West then shifted to the king of clubs, East sig­nal­ing with the eight. De­clarer ruffed the club con­tin­u­a­tion, led the spade jack to the king and suc­cess­fully fi­nessed the jack of trumps.

At this point, it seemed to South that he was about to make his con­tract with an over­trick. But when he next led a low spade to dummy’s nine to re­peat the trump fi­nesse, the hand col­lapsed. East ruffed the spade, led a di­a­mond to his part­ner and ruffed an­other spade, and South wound up down two for a loss of 300 points.

The play by both sides was de­fi­cient. East could have en­sured de­feat­ing the con­tract had he over­taken West’s king of clubs with the ace at trick two and re­turned his sin­gle­ton spade. From his view­point, this play would guar­an­tee him a trump trick, since there could then be no way for de­clarer to take two trump fi­nesses with­out sub­ject­ing him­self to a spade ruff.

How­ever, de­clarer failed to cap­i­tal­ize on East’s blun­der at trick two. He should have taken steps to guard against a pos­si­ble 4-1 spade di­vi­sion. Af­ter ruff­ing the club at trick three, South should next have led a di­a­mond! This play would have ren­dered the de­fense help­less.

Let’s say that which­ever de­fender wins the di­a­mond re­turns a club. De­clarer ruffs and trumps a di­a­mond in dummy. He then takes his first heart fi­nesse, re­turns to dummy with a spade and takes a sec­ond heart fi­nesse, thus mak­ing four hearts dou­bled. The out­come is the same if the op­po­nents shift to a spade af­ter win­ning the di­a­mond.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, bridge re­sem­bles soc­cer, with the ball get­ting kicked back and forth al­most aim­lessly.

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