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Nicely Bid: Nicely Played

Board 6 at Akarana this week resulted in 8 different contracts being played at the 9 tables with only three declarers being successful plus another achieving their aim taking a sacrifice against game.

Board 6
East Deals
E-W Vul
K J 10 7 6
9 7
K Q J 9 6 2
A Q 9 4 3
A K J 4
A 9 3
W   E
8 6 3
K Q J 7 4
7 5 4 3
8 5
Q 10 5 2
10 8 6 5 2
A 10
West North East South
Jeff Thompson   Douglas Russell  
    Pass Pass
1  3  Pass Pass
Dbl Pass 3  Pass
3  Pass 4  All pass


Contracts ranged from 1Spade-smallx by North which made an overtrick through 2Diamond-small by East, making, to 3Club-small by North, 3NT by East and 5Club-smallx by North, all failing (the last against, we presume, a sacrifice over the making heart game). Four West players declared in hearts, with both those in part-score making 7 tricks (they needed more) and one of the declarers in 4Heart-small making only 6.

The other declarer in 4Heart-small was Jeff Thompson. He and Douglas Russell had only played less than a handful of boards together when they bid as above to 4Heart-small. Douglas found an excellent raise to game opposite a partner who seemed quite strong.

Jeff used a simple but oft forgotten technique to make his contract, that of counting up the number of tricks he needed. North led the Club-smallK which South overtook and returned a diamond with North ruffing and continuing clubs. That was Jeff’s first trick…only 9 more needed!

He played Spade-smallA and ruffed a spade before playing his two top trumps. He did not care where the queen was but wanted to ensure North had none left (North was very unlikely to have more than three because of the weak jump overcall….that jump probably denied four hearts even though it did not deny a nice five card spade suit!).

Knowing South had to follow to four more rounds of diamonds, this suit came next. Four diamond tricks took Jeff's total to 9 and all he had to do was play a club off dummy as South had Heart-smallQT but he, West, had the Heart-smallJ singleton which he made en passant.

Nicely played. Jeff would still have made even if South had continued clubs at trick 2. Basically, he makes the same 10 tricks as long as he plays two rounds of hearts before touching diamonds. He can take the heart finesse, maybe wisely in case North had started with three hearts, but will still come to 10 tricks. Save the “overs” for another board but always keep in mind the number you need for your contract.

Richard Solomon



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