bridge

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"Well," remarked South philosophically after going down in his game contract on this deal, "at least I spotted that there were two possible lines of play. Unluckily, I chose the wrong one." I leave you to judge whether he really was "unlucky".

West opened 1# and East chose the simple response of 2# rather than show his hearts with a hand that was (barely) worth only one bid. South bid a firm 4! and all passed, although both opponents gave the matter some consideration.

West led #A and, after ruffing, declarer played off !A to discover the bad heart break. He continued with !K and a heart to the jack. East switched to 4Q and declarer held off but won the spade continuation.

Now he had come to the crossroads. Should he rely on a 3-3 club break (when he could discard his losing spade) or give up another trump and hope that East had started with only two spades?

Eventually, South decided to pin his hopes on the club break and, as a result, went down when East ruffed the third round.

The alternative plan of giving up another trump would have worked for East would not have been able to lead another spade. Then South's remaining trumps would have left West with the choice of unguarding either spades or clubs.

Well, as I asked earlier, was South unlucky? The answer is: Not really. His line of play would only gain over the other when both black suits divide 3-3. And this would place West with seven diamonds and his partner with a 3-4-3-3 distribution - most unlikely on the bidding.

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