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Golden West

From Fiske Warren

One of many interesting hands from the Golden West Swiss Pairs occurred in Round 5.

West Deals
None Vul
Q J 7 6 5 4 2
A 6 2
A 2
K J 10 9 7 3
K Q 3
Q J 8
A 6 5 4 2
K 10
10 5 4
K 5 4
A 8 3
J 9 8 7
10 9 7 6 3

The majority of pairs played in 4S after a 1S opening by West. This contract should go one down after the lead of HQ by North. The defence simply needs to play passively and avoid cashing the Ace of diamonds. Eventually, declarer must lose 2 diamond tricks as well as HA and CA.

A few North-South pairs pressed on to 5H by North and this was a more interesting contract to play.

East cashed SA at trick one and then had to decide how to continue. Let's consider each suit in turn.

1. A second spade concedes a ruff and discard and an easy path for declarer to take 11 tricks.

2. If a club is led, declarer should win CA and must immediately play a second club. After a winning the club, the defence continues with a diamond but declarer wins DA, takes the heart finesse and ruffs a third round of clubs to establish two club winners in dummy for diamond discards.

3. If a diamond is led, declarer plays low from dummy and beats West's Queen with the Ace. Now declarer leads HQ and, if it is not covered with the King, declarer must be careful not to play a second trump. Instead, declarer must continue with a diamond to the 9 in dummy. The 3-3 diamond break allows a club to be discarded on dummy's 4th diamond.

So it looks as though 5H cannot be beaten but we all know that bridge can be a strange game. East needs to switch at trick 2 to the unlikeliest card in the hand... yes, HK! This removes dummy's entry prematurely and no matter how declarer continues, the defence will always take at least two further tricks. (Declarer needs draw the other trump and play Ace and another club to go only one down).


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