Sep 1999

MP's.     A lowly 1NT contract

S- K Q 8 2
H- Q 10 6 4
D- K 6
C- A 9 3
S- A 9 5
H- 9 8 2
D- A 7 4
C- J 10 8 7

Contract: 1NT.
Lead: H-3.

H-3 was led. East wins the knave, cashes the king, and exits with the D-5. You are at the cross-roads already....

Do you win, and simply give up a heart ensuring 7 tricks or is there more in it? Remember, if you give up a heart now, a diamond will be returned, giving you no time to get an extra winner in the club suit.

And maybe, just maybe, spades are 3-3 giving you the overtrick.

This is MP's.

(hand repeated for convenience)
S- K Q 8 2
H- Q 10 6 4
D- K 6
C- A 9 3
S- A 9 5
H- 9 8 2
D- A 7 4
C- J 10 8 7

The presence of the C-9 in dummy settled the issue for me. I won the D-5 in hand with the ace, West following with the deuce, and I then advanced the C-J. West pondered over this and finally covered with the C-Q.

I won, and returned the C-9, ducked, and another club which West won. On this trick, East discards the D-3. Looks like East started with 5 diamonds......

West returns the D-9. I win this on the table with the king, I cashed S-K, and I then play a small spade to my ace. West followed with S-3, S-J; East played S-4, S-6.

I now play the C-10. West follows, of course, and East pitches the D-10.

Who has what at this stage??   What now?   3 cards left - dummy has S-Q8 and the H-Q. I have a spade, a heart, and a diamond in my hand.

 

Have you thought it through?

 

A n a l y s i s

West has shown up with 4 hearts (from the lead, and from East's play of cashing the knave and king) and has followed to 4 rounds of clubs, and has played with the deuce and nine of diamonds. Also, we have seen the three and knave of spades - one card is unknown. Are the spades breaking 3-3, or has West got a diamond?

Since East would have switched to the diamond queen at trick 3 holding D-QJ10xx, we can thus place an honour in West's hand.

Furthermore, if West had D-Q92, West would have unblocked the queen the second time diamonds were played. This would have retained communication with partner, and avoided giving away a trick to the last heart, if unable to get out of her hand. West is none other than Petra Mansell, many times representative of South Africa, and rated highly internationally.

We can therefore place West with H-A7, and D-J. East therefore has D-107 and D-Q. East can be thrown in with the diamond then, and has to give the last 2 tricks to dummy's spades?

Yes?     No?

Well, it depends.......

What ending did you come down to? A or B?

A

  S- Q 8
H- Q
D- - -
C- - -
 
S- - -
H- A 7
D- J
C- - -
S- 10 7
H- - -
D- Q
C- - -
  S- 9
H- 9
D- 7
C- - -
 

B

  S- Q 8
H- Q
D- - -
C- - -
 
S- - -
H- A 7
D- J
C- - -
S- 10 7
H- - -
D- Q
C- - -
  S- 5
H- 9
D- 7
C- - -
 

In each case, you would play a diamond, pitching the worthless heart lady from the table. East will exit a small spade.

If you forgot to get rid of the S-9 on the first spade play of the king (ending A) then I am afraid you are making +120: 3 spades only, 0 hearts, 2 diamonds, and 3 clubs. Ending B yields +150.

 

This hand came up in the first session (out of 3) at the annual Margate Open, run by the KwaZulu Bridge Union during the first week-end of September 1999, and I am pleased to report that the writers pipped this pair (Petra Mansell and Arthur Hughes) at the finish by only a quarter-of-a-top!

Making +150 here (95% of the MPs) certainly helped...


 

The full hands were:

  S- K Q 8 2
H- Q 10 6 4
D- K 6
C- A 9 3
 
S- J 3
H- A 7 5 3
D- J 9 2
C- K Q 6 4
S- 10 7 6 4
H- K J
D- Q 10 8 5 3
C- 5 2
  S- A 9 5
H- 9 8 2
D- A 7 4
C- J 10 8 7
 


 

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