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Tales of Akarana

Golden Week but not Great Diamond Celebrations

Akarana will this Saturday be celebrating its 50th anniversary, just a few months late….but then Akarana players have not over the years been too wedded to time issues. This Wednesday evening was not for any who wanted major “diamond” celebrations, a few years away for the club and a level, maybe two levels too high this evening.

Take Board 4. East had a very “golden” hand though with such hands as this one, partner’s role is usually to disappoint! East held

Spade-small-

Heart-small J4

Diamond-small AKQJT9

Club-smallKQ872

North opened either with a Weak 2 in spades or else a Multi 2Diamond-small. Playing Rubber Bridge, there is only suit which, rightly or wrongly (how wrong could it be!) would ever be trumps, with those 150 bonus points beckoning (a request to the rule-makers before I play an important Rubber match this Sunday….extra bonus points, please for the top 6 trumps!). However, this is Duplicate and so I left it for partner to choose the trump suit and at the same time show a pretty decent hand with an immediate jump to 4NT. Partner agreed diamonds should be trumps but well away from the slam zone:

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

For once, partner did not disappoint though making 12 tricks without a heart lead from North would be pretty hard- going. North was much more circumspect and led their top spade. Declarer discarded a heart and eventually did manage an overtrick when South ducked a low club from dummy on the first round of the suit.

At one table, where East declared in 6Diamond-small, the lure of two cashing aces was too much for South who found his major ace did not cash!

6Diamond-small was a pretty good place to be on Board 18 with the following cards:

Board 18
East Deals
N-S Vul
   
K 7 6 2
Q
8 6 4
A K 10 8 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
A Q
A J 8 2
A K Q J 9
9 2
West North East South
    2  Pass
2  Pass 2 NT Pass
3  Pass 3  Pass
3  Pass 3 NT Pass
4  Pass 6  All pass

 

After East showed 20-21 Balanced (2NT), West showed 4 spades (3Heart-small) and then made a slam try with 4+ clubs (4Club-small). 6Diamond-small was an offer to play which West accepted.

However, at one table, the stakes were higher with 7Diamond-small reached. For a change, you can have a “multi-choice” series of answers and choose which would be your line at the table. The opening lead is Spade-smallJ:

  1. Draw trumps and take the heart finesse.
  2. Draw trumps and try for clubs 3-3 to dispose of hearts and then take the heart finesse.
  3. Win in hand and play Heart-smallA and ruff a heart. Play a trump to hand and ruff a second heart. Return to hand with a spade to the queen, draw trumps and discard the last heart on dummy’s Spade-smallK.
  4. Win in hand and play ace and ruff a heart. Return to hand with a trump and ruff a second heart. Play Club-smallAK and ruff a third club high in the East hand. Draw trumps and play for one opponent to hold long spades and hearts so that when you play your last trump at trick 11, an opponent is squeezed between the Heart-smallK and Spade-small109, you to overtake Spade-smallQ with Spade-smallK at trick 12 to score the 13th trick with Spade-small7 in dummy (or with Heart-smallQ in hand had the king been discarded). Spades must not be played after trick 1 and before trick 12!

And your vote is for:

Board 18
East Deals
N-S Vul
3
10 6 5 3
7 5 3 2
Q J 5 4
K 7 6 2
Q
8 6 4
A K 10 8 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
A Q
A J 8 2
A K Q J 9
9 2
 
J 10 9 8 5 4
K 9 7 4
10
7 6

 

As you can imagine, the winning selection is “d” while “c” is the most logical approach which falls to the spade ruff. The grand will make on any other lead using this approach, Line "c". Lines “A” and “B” are totally flawed especially with a 4-1 trump break.

6Diamond-small makes using “C” with just the loss of a spade ruff. 6NT is also a fine contract where a declarer can give up a heart. The only difficulty here is on a club lead from South. Declarer must win, test diamonds (in case North has all 5), unblock Spade-smallAQ before exiting with a low heart, as a second club lead from South when in with Heart-smallK would prove terminal for East unless the unblocking had taken place.

Nevertheless, unlucky for the pair who failed in 7Diamond-small which would make most of the time. Let’s hope the “golden” celebrations are more successful than the exploration to the diamond grand on this night.

Richard Solomon

p.s. and only 100 for the Rubber bonus on Board 18..very remiss to be missing the 10!

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