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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

The Sun Can Still Shine.

Some contracts look quite easy to play and indeed are. Others may look easy though unpleasant breaks, some other bad news, an opposition ruff perhaps, get harder as the play develops. Where there is life, though, there is still some hope. When you are in 4Spade-small, don’t forget you can still afford to lose three tricks and make your contract.

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

 

West leads Diamond-small4 to East’s king and your ace. On a good day you have a club, a diamond and a trump loser…but this is not such a good day. You lay down Spade-smallA and East almost fools you by playing a black card but it is a low club! What to do? You still want to make 10 tricks…certainly no overs this time.

You were appreciative of partner’s dummy, initially, even if Spade-smallQJ9 would have been preferable to Spade-small432! That certainly was the case when you discovered a 5-0 break…offside! That looks like two spade losers alongside a seemingly inevitable diamond and club loser. That’s one too many. Never mind, plough on…

Lose that diamond…that’s inevitable. Your Diamond-smallJ loses to West’s queen. The likely return is a heart which you win in dummy and start cashing some winners. It’s amazing what can happen…

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

 

Play three rounds of hearts and the Club-smallA while you are in dummy. West has to follow and indeed has to follow again when you ruff a heart back to your hand.

Let’s just keep track of our winners. We have won one diamond and one club, Spade-smallA, three top hearts and a heart ruff. That’s 7 and we have a certain high spade and a second diamond trick as well. So, cash Diamond-small10 for trick 8 to produce a four-card ending with West, who had taken just one trick, left with:

Spade-small QJ97   while you in the South seat have:

                              Spade-small KT8 and the little losing Club-small10.

Play your loser which West has to ruff. “Sorry, partner.. trump-bound!” muttered West to a frustrated East at the end of the hand.

It got even worse for the defence when West played the Spade-smallQ and you, South, can let them have that trick, the third trick for the defence. Guess who took the last two tricks? Why, South, of course….contract made!
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One slice of good fortune for South was that West had four small hearts and had to follow suit when South ruffed the fourth heart. South was entitled to a slice of good luck after discovering that terrible trump break! Notice that there is no difference if West had led initially a small heart or indeed the Club-smallK. It does not matter that the second diamond trick comes from either the JT as above or by ruffing the third round with one of those “useful” trumps in dummy.

Basically, East will never win a trick with West being forced to ruff East’s winner. On some days, if Club-smallK was led, it might seem a good idea to duck that trick, presuming West had Club-smallQ, in order to score two club tricks later. However, there are no side-suit losers to discard on clubs. Winning and cashing three hearts, discarding a club before playing and losing a diamond is a logical way to play, even before discovering the 5-0 break.

So, nothing flash. Cash your winners and hope for the best. The sun does come out and shine on a declarer who was not initially feeling so fortunate! “Sorry, partner, no over-tricks this time!”

 PAIRS    
West Deals
E-W Vul
 
N
W   E
S
 
K 10 3 2
A Q J 10 7 6
K 6 4
West North East South
1  Pass 1  4 
Pass 5  ?  

 

Don’t you love such decisions? Worth every cent of your table money. (You were playing on-line…so, it did not break the bank!) For what it is worth, your system is 5-card majors and had partner opened 1NT, they would have shown 15-17.

Come on, it is still your bid. Until tomorrow.

Richard Solomon

 

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