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Tales of Akarana

BID ‘EM UP AND SQUEEZE ‘EM

Well, that’s what you are supposed to do in Teams, is it not? A little disciplined over-bidding can bring in a decent return of imps in the “in” column. Mark Hangartner scooped a double-figure return when he, with the aid of brother, Paul, propelled himself to a slightly ambitious 4Spade-small game. Once there, you need to find a way to make it!

 

Board 19
South Deals
E-W Vul
A J 6
J 4
J 8 4
Q 10 8 7 4
8 5
A 7 5
K 10 7 6
K J 9 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
K Q 10 9 7 4
K 10 9 6
9
5 2
 
3 2
Q 8 3 2
A Q 5 3 2
A 3
West North East South
      1 
Pass 1 NT 2  Pass
3  Pass 3  Pass
4  All pass    

 

Both of East’s bids were a little pushy but reasonable. Had West held four hearts, East would have regretted not bidding the suit. On some days, West had good cards for game. Would this be one of those days?

Some favourably placed black-suit cards would certainly help. The initial Club-smallA lead would have given Mark, East, some relief and encouragement. He won the club continuation with the king and played a spade to his king. Diamond-small9 was played and taken by South’s ace. South did not want to play either red suit and exited a trump to North’s ace. North continued with Diamond-smallJ which Mark, who needed two heart discards rather than just one, ruffed to draw North’s Spade-smallJ with South discarding a diamond.

 

These cards remained:

 
J 4
8
Q 10 8
A 7 5
K 10
J
 
N
W   E
S
 
10 9
K 10 9 6
 
Q 8 3 2
Q 5

 

On the next trump, both South and West could throw a heart but South had no good discard on the final trump. South tried a second heart but Mark was now able to play that suit for no losers.

South had erred in playing the second round of trumps. Although playing a second diamond does not appear to help the defence much, Mark could not play a second round of trumps himself without getting to dummy. Whether he got there by playing Diamond-smallK or a heart to the Heart-smallA, the squeeze chance would no longer be available with the contract drifting one down.

Pressure on the defence. That’s one reason why we overbid a little, especially to vulnerable games. This game needed declarer to score a club trick, for trumps to be well-placed and eventually a working squeeze after a misdefence. Was it all worth it? Too right. 10 imps in!

Richard Solomon

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