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A Lighter Look

  There’s Always a Way

Don’t we love Deal Master Pro, that little box at the bottom of each hand on the hand record we clutch at the end of any session of Bridge? It can be so reassuring…27 high card points but somehow your bidding got stuck at 3Heart-small. You made the overtrick. They made the same number of tricks at the other table, too. The oppos were, of course, in game. 10 imps out.

Who’s fault? Why, to the rescue comes Deal Master Pro with a little “3” by the heart box of both you and your partner. Suddenly the blame shifts from why you were so conservative to why the contract was not beaten at the other table.

Two hours and infinite studying throws up an under-lead of Spade-smallAKQ at trick one. No matter. You are absolved of blame!

So, you used to talk to your non-bridge-playing spouse when you got home from an afternoon or day out? Not any more as you look at the boards you played and mis-played, games you bid and did not bid (your defence was “perfect” of course!) and love every minute of it.

So, you will love the following challenge. The picture below came from the Auckland Northland Regional Teams played at the Franklin Bridge Club over the past weekend. Your challenge is there to be seen.

 hand record2.jpg

You may want to see the four hands:

North Deals
None Vul
10 3 2
3 2
7 6 4 3
K 10 6 4
A K 5
K 10 9 8 6 5
W   E
Q 6 4
Q J 7 4
Q 9
A 9 5 3
J 9 8 7
10 8 5 2
J 8 7 2


As East, there is a devilish lead which can hold everyone’s favourite game (3NT) to 9 tricks. Can you work out what that is? 31 hcp between the 2 hands and yet just 9 tricks. It may not take too long to work out. What may take you a little longer is how if played by West, in the same contract, you can make 5 over-tricks, yes 5+ 3 = ?

Actually, we do not believe any, certainly not many, East-Wests tried to make 14 tricks from the West seat. Most contented themselves with 12 playing in 6Heart-small. No ambition. Always go for the extra tricks in no-trumps. Who knows? There may even be a ruff to defeat 6Heart-small.

 Please do not lose too much sleep or spend too many hours hunched over this problem.

Just accept that “the little box” is always right. Too right it is! wink

Richard Solomon

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