July 1999

What makes an Expert?

The scene: Johannesburg Bridge Club
Event: Mixed Pairs
When: 28th June, 1999

We are in the middle of the first of the 2-session event and we running around 55% when we meet a husband-wife pair, Joe and Linda Michelow. They play Acol, strong NT, and 4-card majors.

    Joe
S- AJ84
H- KJ76
D- K4
C- Q52

    Linda
S- K1096
H- 942
D- 85
C- AKJ10

WEST
Sid
Pass
Pass
Pass
NORTH
Joe
1 H-
2 S-
Pass
EAST
Abby
Pass
Pass
Pass
SOUTH
Linda
1 S-
4 S-

The D-Q was led and Linda covered. Abby won, returned the D-10, and then switched to the C-9.

Linda made her contract. And there was nothing we could do about it!

How do you think the play went?

 

See   solution   only after you are exhausted.

 

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This is how Linda described her actions after the hand (when asked):

"You took 2 diamond tricks and I have an inevitable loser in the heart suit. However, to restrict my heart losers to one, I have to assume that the AQ is on my left - there is no other holding to play for.

"With the D-10 return at trick 2, and not 4th highest, it seems that there is a diamond stack on my left. Place the ace and queen of hearts in the same hand, and, since there was no opening bid, nor an overcall, there cannot be any further pictures in your hand.

The trump queen must therefore be on my right."

Linda won the club return at trick 3 in dummy, and played the trump ace, the knave and a third trump to her hand. She then advanced a heart, and played according to her wishful assumption.

An assumption she had to make - real Expert style - in order to fulfil her contract.

The other two hands were:

  Sid
S- 32
H- AQ8
D- QJ7632
C- 63
  Abby
S- Q75
H- 1083
D- A109
C- 9874

 

If you want to read an excellent book on this method and style of thinking, go and get a copy of

"Cards on the Table" by Eric Jannersten - a classic!

 

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