A hand most players will get wrong

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Today at the crack of dawn — OK 9.30am – the Bridge Club will host the 2018 Mixed Pairs Championship, which will be held all day with the second session taking place immediately after a lunch break. I expect to see a strong field for this one and full post the results in next week’s column.

This week’s hand is a declarer play problem that should be easy at teams play, although most players will get it wrong. When the same deal turns up in a Pairs Game, the correct line is a lot more difficult to decide upon.

Dealer North, both vulnerable

SA82

H64

D6543

C10753

SKQJ1073

HK98

DAK

CAJ

After two passes South opened a strong 2 clubs, North bid a “waiting” 2 diamonds and when South bid 2 spades. North jumped to 4 spades to show a bad hand (bad hand fast arrival, good hand slow arrival) — with a “goodish” hand North would bid 3 spades to encourage South to look for a slam.

East led the diamond queen and the play at seven tables out of eight went the same way – declarer won, crossed to the ace of spades and led a heart towards the king, which lost to the ace. West now fired a second trump back and declarer started shifting uneasily in his chair when West showed out. Declarer tried another heart but West won to play a third trump taking out dummy’s last trump and declarer was dead, losing three hearts and a club.

At the eighth table, declarer was a hardened veteran of the game whose skills may have diminished a bit but whose memory bank kicked in often enough to help out. He had seen this situation many time before and after winning the diamond he immediately played a low heart from his hand! This made it impossible for the defence to play enough trumps and declarer was able to ruff the third heart and make his contract.

The full hand

North

SA82

H64

D6543

C10753

West East

S964 S5

HAQ72 HJ1053

DQJ109 D872

C96 CKQ842

South

SKQJ1073

HK98

DAK

CAJ

Notice that if declarer’s heart holding had been 987, every South who avoided an opening trump lead would make the hand as the heart play from hand at trick two becomes automatic — the king was a seductive embarrassment of riches .

So that is the play at teams — what is the correct play at pairs? It is a tough question — if things are going well, declarer wants to play with the field in order to protect an average score but if declarer needs to score some points he would make the teams play of a heart from hand at trick two in order to guarantee the contract.

Going over to the spade ace in order to play a heart at pairs is probably just about favoured in my opinion, as even if the king loses to the ace, West may not lead a trump, or if he does, trumps could be 2-2 and the ruff is still available.

What would I do? I’d play Teams.

BRIDGE RESULTS (Week of April 18)

Monday afternoon

North/South

1. Stephanie Kyme/

Jean Johnson

2. Gertie Barker/Julia Beach

3. Geoff Bell/ Kathleen Bell

East/West

1. Charles Hall/ Margaret Way

2. George Correia/

Caroline Svensen

3. Michael Bickley/

Dorry Lusher

Monday evening

1. Gertie Barker/John Glynn

2. Charles Griffiths/

Tim Mardon

Tuesday Evening

North/South

1. Carol Eastham/Nicky Boyce

2. Sally Irvine/Marion Ezedima

East/West

1. Barbara Elkin/Elma Anfossi

2. Mark Stevens/

Malcolm Moseley

Wednesday morning

North/South

1. Peter Donnellan/

Lynanne Bolton

2. Kathleen Keene/

Margaret Way

East/West

1. Greta Marshall/Heather Wolf

2. Gertie Barker/Jane Smith

Thursday Evening

1. Peter Donnellan/

Lynanne Bolton

2. Lorna Anderson/

Marsha Fraser

3. Elizabeth McKee/

Mike Viotti

4. Gertie Barker/Jane Smith

Friday Afternoon

North/South

1. John Glynn/Mollie Taussig

2. Alan Douglas/Jane Smith

East/West

1 Heather Wolf/Jeanette Shaw

2. Elizabeth McKee/Diana Diel

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Published Apr 21, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 10:09 pm)

A hand most players will get wrong

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