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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

The Curse of Board 11

Keen bridge players and most Scottish people (surely all Scots play Bridge!) know that the diamond 9 is the “Curse of Scotland”. Our der knowledgeable friend “Google” will enlighten any ignorant players as to why very quickly.

However, it is less well known which card is the “Curse of Board 11”. For the answer, we need to take you to this board and give you the West hand. Do you want to come with me?

Board 11
South Deals
None Vul
K J
Q 10 5 2
K Q 9 8 3
Q J
A 6
K 8 7
J 10 6 5
K 10 6 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
you dummy    
      Pass
Pass 1  Pass 1 
Pass 2  Pass 3 NT
All pass      

 

 You lead your fourth highest club and see a couple of annoying club cards in dummy. Sure enough, the queen wins the first trick. Declarer leads the Spade-smallK at trick 2…and you can see no reason not to win that with your ace.

So to trick 3. Let’s see what happened. Without a huge amount of thought, you smell the chance of setting up a club trick and plonk the Club-smallK on the table, smothering the jack. Any hopeful thoughts you might have of beating the contract (you were playing teams) were soon smothered as declarer soon took 4 spade tricks and 3 top diamonds to go with 2 club tricks…and you and your partner were left to fight over the scraps at the end. 

club 10.png

The Club-small10. Why were you given that card? Why weren’t your clubs K632…K anything 62 except that cursed 10?

Then, you would have at least thought a little more closely about the whole hand. You wanted 4 more tricks to beat the contract, not just 1 more. From where were they to come? There was only one place and if you do not try, you will never succeed. What happened to the Heart-small8? Was it still in your hand?

Board 11
South Deals
None Vul
K J
Q 10 5 2
K Q 9 8 3
Q J
A 6
K 8 7
J 10 6 5
K 10 6 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
9 8 4 3
A J 9 6 4
9 8 7 3
 
Q 10 7 5 2
3
A 7 4 2
A 5 4
West North East South
you dummy    
      Pass
Pass 1  Pass 1 
Pass 2  Pass 3 NT
All pass      

 

Normally what will happen when you try such a switch is that partner is most uncooperative and another over-trick is conceded. Just occasionally, the sun shines. Whichever way South wriggles here, there would be 5 heart tricks for the defence and another hopeful contract would have bit the dust.

That cursed Club-small10.

Of course, it is time to resurrect a very well-used saying about “a bad workman blaming his tools”. That Club-small10 was put there to test and to tease you…and you took the bait!

Had you remembered that South was a passed hand? They had already shown up with Club-smallA and presumably from spade play the Spade-smallQ. Presumably South has one of the red aces or else it does not matter what you play. If they hold the Heart-smallA, then switching to the heart will give declarer 9 tricks if the queen is played from dummy (5 spades, 2 clubs, 2 hearts) but if it is the Diamond-smallA, then the heart switch is your only chance. If declarer has the Heart-smallJ, too bad. Maybe Heart-small9 is good enough to block the suit? The Heart-small2 is certainly not.

So, did you pass the test set by the cursed Club-small10? The real curse was the lack of thought at trick 3.

 If you were really inspired, you would have led the Heart-small8 at trick 1. Then after 5 rounds of that suit and a club switch from East, you could have taken 3 clubs and the Spade-smallA as well..5 down! You do not have to be that brilliant. Just a little more thoughtful at all times when you are defending a hand. Blame not the Club-small10.

Richard Solomon

 

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