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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Subterfuge.

Is all not what it seems? What is going on during the play of the hand? Skulduggery at the bridge table?

 

 

 

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

 

West leads Spade-small4 (Leads 4th highest, MUD) and you win with your ace, with South playing Spade-smallK. You switch to Club-smallJ with South playing Club-small7 and West Club-small9, low encouraging and dummy’s ace taking the trick.

Heart-small10 wins the next trick and then a heart is played to your ace. What now?

Well, with a threatening looking diamond suit in dummy and the spade suit a no-goer, it looked like the only place for the defence to take another trick, apart from possibly the Diamond-smallA was in clubs. So, despite West’s somewhat high club when the jack had been played, East continued with another club, Club-small10 to be followed by a third club, and the defence, as you would say, was over.

Declarer’s hand was not what East had imagined.


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

 

South had seen the writing on the wall at trick1 as he knew his opponents were playing 5-card majors. Had he followed low, he would suffer a couple of ruffs even if he could quickly discard his club loser on the run of the diamonds (he could not). So, the Spade-smallK put a stop to East playing any more spades either immediately or when in with the Heart-smallA.

Suicide…certainly but one down or two down did not matter a great deal. Could East have been suspicious? We said East-West were leading 4th highest or MUD (“middle up down") leads. If the Spade-smallK was a true card, then that left West with Spade-small1064. So, what would you lead from that holding in partner’s suit? Does the 10 constitute an honour or would you lead Spade-small6, the middle card? I tend to believe the latter. However, not unreasonably, East would have taken the Spade-smallK at face value without looking too closely at the lead.

Surely the Club-small9 was not West’s lowest (Club-smallKQ9 maybe?) but East was taken in by the clever drop of the honour. East had one more chance when Club-small10 won the second trick with West following low. A third round of clubs seemed obvious despite West's strange discouraging signal. Was it now just too hard to avoid playing the third round of clubs, playing declarer for one more small club?

All conjecture but give South full credit for his unusual false-card which was hard for East to see through. A game made not by East’s defence (though he just might have come out with the real answer eventually) but by South’s clever subterfuge.

skulduggery.jpg

Skulduggery, indeed!

Jan’s Day. Well or “not well”!


South Deals
None Vul
3 2
K J 5
Q 3
Q J 9 7 5 4
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
K Q 9 8
A 7 6
A K J 5
K 3
6 NT by South

 

Have you noticed there is something wrong with this contract? That’s right. You are missing both black aces! No need to show the bidding. It was not good!

West leads Heart-small2 with Heart-smallJ winning the first trick. A club to the king wins and is followed by a club to the jack, both opponents following but no ace appearing. What now?

Richard Solomon

 

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