07 July 2011

First lessons

From a very early age my father taught me that if things weren't looking so good I should cash my long suit and see what happens. That came across as pretty cryptic until years later when I learned to play bridge. With that learning came some understanding and more confusion but finally I think I know what he was on about.

J 8
A K T 8
K 7 3
Q J T 7
A Q T 5 4
Q J 9 3
J T 8
6 3 2
7 6 4 2
5 2
A 9 4 2
K 9 7
A Q 9 6 4
K 6 5 3

The auction goes how you'd expect. As South you open a diamond, West overcalls a spade, partner negative doubles. 2 seems the normal action over which partner continues 2, you fess-up to a spade stop and find yourself tendering for 9 tricks.

West leads her 4th best and whether you're awake enough to play the knave or not you'll win on the table. It seems on the surface that you're a trick short, 5 diamonds, 2 hearts and a spade is not enough. If West has the A then you can safely play on clubs but if it is with East, not so. Even looking at all four hands it might take a moment to see how to break the conundrum.

Whether it's possible to work out this hand as declarer I'll leave to you but when the diamonds are run West must discard twice. The first, a heart, is simple enough but another heart would be a concession, a spade leaves the defense without the firepower to defeat the contract and the club robs the critical entry to partners hand for a spade back.

Assuming the club gets marching orders cashing the A, K then exiting the T should be sufficient to earn you +400 and a icy stare from West.

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