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Tip for Christmas Day


Or the day or week after…by the time you have read all the bridge books you have been given for Christmas. “What, you did not get any? Then, read on. Glad to be of service.”

Today’s tip is… Watch them pips


No, not in the grapes or cherries you are (over) eating but in those difficult contracts you are playing. “Why” you asked West  “did you lead the suit I opened? Would you like to take the lead back and try again?”

Of course, the unusual lead of declarer’s suit was the least likely and from declarer’s point of view, the toughest lead their opponent could have found:

East Deals
None Vul
K 8 7 4
K Q J 5 2
A 7 4
10 9 3 2
10 6 4 3
Q J 5 2
W   E
A 6
A 9 8 7
K 9 6
10 8 3 2
Q J 5
A 10 7 4 3
K Q J 6 5
West North East South
    Pass 1 
Pass 1  Pass 2 
Pass 2  Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  


(2Spade-small may not have been natural but checked for any delayed heart support from South.)

Not only did West lead a diamond but they led the Diamond-small2 which went to East’s king. With two major aces to lose and only one certain entry to dummy, this put the contract in some peril.

South won with their ace and played Spade-smallJ, ducked all round, and was followed by Spade-smallQ taken by East’s ace. Back came Diamond-small9, covered by South's Diamond-small10 with West's Diamond-smallJ taking the trick. South pleaded for West to cash their Diamond-smallQ … but no such luck. Seeing declarer discard a heart from the dummy hand, West switched to a mediocre heart, covered and won by East’s ace. South threw Spade-small5.

East produced Diamond-small6…and it was time to rev up the memory. Did you, like South, remember which diamond dummy had played innocuously at trick one and which diamond West had led as the opening lead? Hopefully, yes. It meant that if South covered that Diamond-small6 with their Diamond-small7 taken presumably by Diamond-smallQ, then West’s Diamond-small5 would be the 5th and contract setting trick for the defence. It would beat declarer's Diamond-small3 or Diamond-small4.

(apologies if you had too much Christmas pud and forgot that the ace had been played (by you!) let alone the Diamond-small8.)

ate too much.pngcake.png

So, South ducked the Diamond-small6 and noticed West gave them a wry smile. Diamond-smallJ was stranded in West’s hand as West could not overtake and South had just come to 9 tricks, two in each major along with five club tricks.

It’s not just the aces and kings of which you need to keep track. Sometimes, those little pip cards can be pretty important too.

Tip number 2. One helping onlyof pudding before your  game of bridge….well, you are allowed two just because it is Christmas.

watch closely.png

Watch those pips closely!

Enjoy …and keep watching!

Richard Solomon


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