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Trying to play boards in hearts this week at Akarana proved or could have proved a little difficult. From Board 1 through to 28 would see a multitude of failed contracts. On Board 1, East-West held:

West                                     East

Spade-small AQJT8                               Spade-small-

Heart-small K96                                    Heart-small AQ875

Diamond-small J8                                       Diamond-small AKQT2

Club-smallT85                                     Club-small KQ2

Bad Breaks.png

bad breaks!

A perfectly reasonable 6Heart-small even without the Club-smallA lead, except that North held Heart-smallJT32 and was unwilling to put up an honour the second time the suit was played. East-West had their revenge a few boards later when their opponents could not make a 25hcp 4Heart-small or a more aggressive 22 hcp heart game. Another 4Heart-smalljust slithered in…and then…

Fast track to Board 28:

Board 28
West Deals
N-S Vul
K J 10 8 6 4 2
A Q J 2
A 7
A Q 8 7 6 5
K 6 4
K 5
W   E
Q 9
J 9 4 2
10 9 3
A 10 6 3
5 3
K 10
8 7 5
Q J 9 8 7 4
West North East South
1  4  All pass  


West’s final pass was a little conservative. A “values” style “you make the right decision, partner" might have been more productive for East-West…but might not! With no entry to dummy in 4Spade-small, North must lose a heart, two trumps and a trick in each minor…down 2.

However, 5Heart-small might be East’s choice. The opening lead is crucial to this contract. If North chooses  either major, North can be end –played with a low diamond after two rounds of clubs reveals the break in that suit (assuming on a spade lead, declarer plays trumps correctly). 11 tricks can be made. An end-play is also possible if North leads Diamond-smallA and a second diamond. However, if North does lead the singleton club, while North does get end-played, they must score three tricks in the process…down one in 5Heart-small. In that case, West would regret their double of 4Spade-small.

However, all was not disaster for those in hearts. Board 19 proved to be bad for those who bid aggressively in diamonds on the North-South cards. They told all East they needed to know about partner’s diamonds:


Board 19
South Deals
E-W Vul
Q 10 8
J 7 6 2
10 9 7 5 2
K J 9 4 3
J 5 2
A K 8 3
W   E
A 6
A K Q 10 9 6 3
Q 9
Q 4
7 5 2
8 7
A K 10 8 4 3
J 6
West North East South
Dbl 5  ?  


West produced the expected diamond singleton and enough high cards (they did double 3Diamond-small!) to make 6Heart-small a claim. No bad trump break could break this heart slam!

Richard Solomon



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