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An Opportunity for Defense


One of my themes in these articles is that duplicate bridge allows you to attain good results without having good cards, and the story of this hand will illustrate that truism. When you inspect the diagram, you can see that north-south have a minority of the high-card points and would certainly be defeated in any contract they chose to bid, but the opening call by west of two no-trump showed a hand with half the deck, and the other side would be either very brave or foolhardy (are they the same thing?) to venture a bid.

North led a small diamond against this contract, and declarer took the first trick with the king and then led out the club ace, king and nine. When north showed out on the third round, declarer took the queen and for some reason led the club 10, taken by south with his jack. I do not know why declarer played this way, but in so doing so he gave the defense a huge opening. The story of the hand now hinges on whether the defenders can take advantage of this opening, and south made the excellent lead of the spade four. Declarer played his jack, and north took the trick with the king of spades and shifted to the king of hearts. Now the advantage shifts back to the declaring side, because north's play of the spade king under these circumstances denies holding the queen, otherwise the queen would be high enough to take the trick. In the subsequent play, south discarded two of his spades, having no idea that north held the queen, and the queen and ace fell together on the same trick!

Declarer finished the hand with a total of eight tricks, making his contract. The defenders had a chance to take a club (by declarer's charity), four spade tricks and either a diamond and heart or two heart tricks, depending on his discard on the last spade trick. They went from a clear top to a clear bottom, but the opportunity was there.

Local players are gearing up for the tournament scheduled for September 7, 8 and 9 at the Elks Club in Caldwell. There will be events for new players, so if you want to participate, call the Boise Bridge Club, 208-327-0166.