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Never underestimate your opponent’s ability to make an error

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Success at bridge comes from a lot of hard work and practice – one does not need to have an overly fancy system, only the ability to concentrate, stay focused and use what you have to the maximum.

In the play of the hand much the same applies, but the expert declarers are always looking for an edge or a no-cost play that might give them a better chance of making the contract.

And what the better players do is they never underestimate the ability of the opponents to make the wrong play, so at every opportunity they give the opponents the chance to go wrong if it comes at no cost.

Which brings me to today’s hand (see Figure 1) which is a simple beauty! The bidding (see Figure 2) at the table was excellent and then the play was even better — follow the bidding carefully as it is simple but effective and then take a look at what happened in the play.

Figure 1
Figure 2

1, Game forcing , this hand is too good for just a jump to four spades and not quite good enough to force to slam opposite what could be 13 points.

2, This is a slam try – it tells partner that you have a great hand (as you didn’t jump to game earlier) but that he should pass with a minimum opener but try for slam with a better-than-minimum hand.

3, South has a great hand and goes looking for a slam.

4, North shows two Aces and the trump Queen! No, he does not have the trump Queen, but when you have five-card support opposite a known five-card or longer suit you answer as if you have the Queen. If partner has the Ace-King the Queen is odds on to drop, though not certain, but you play with the odds.

5, South’s eyes now light up – he is going to the small slam but decides to check for Kings along the way.

6, North-South were playing step responses and the six-heart bid showed two Kings.

7, This is now a no-brainer bid if partner has the AK of hearts and AK of clubs and also the spade Queen.

Superb bidding, but this was the full hand (see Figure 3).

Figure 3

Most of the field were in six spades and when West showed out on the first trump they had a trump loser and made the slam. Those in seven spades went down one.

Our declarer, however, was a wily veteran and always looked to gain an edge against non-expert defenders. He won the heart lead in dummy and immediately called for the Jack of spades! Looking at his tasty Q108, East immediately made the reflex play of covering with the Queen – curtains!

Declarer won the King, went back to dummy and finessed the ten and claim the grand slam — superb!

Of course East should know that declarer has every other spade in the pack and that partner had none and should play low, but covering the honour was reflex, and a play that would be made by many.

All credit to declarer for squeezing this out – if East plays low, declarer would certainly bang down the Ace-King as that is the percentage play, but the play he made allowed the defender to make an error, and he did!

David Ezekiel can be reached at davidezekiel999@gmail.com


Friday, December 1

1. Charles Hall-Erica Jones

2. Tony Saunders-Patricia Siddle

3. Judy King-Martha Ferguson

Monday, December 4


1. Jack Rhind-Jane Smith

2. Aida Bostelmann-Allyson Eadie (Tied 2nd)

3. Charles Hall-Stephanie Kyme (Tied 2nd)


1. Margaret Way-Rachael Gosling

2. Peter Donnellan-Lynanne Bolton

3. Barbara Cerra-Pat Cerra

Tuesday, December 5

1. Jean Schilling-John Thorne

2. Amanda Ingham-Heidi Dyson

Wednesday, December 6


1. Tony Saunders-Molly Taussig

2. Jane Smith-Margaret Way

3. William Pollett-Peter Donnellan


1. Tracy Nash-Desmond Nash

2. Aida Bostelmann-Charles Hall

3. Judith Bussell-Stephanie Kyme

Thursday, December 7

1. Charles Hall-Stephanie Kyme

2. William Pollett-Makiko Rogers

3. Desmond Nash-Molly Taussig

Non-Bridge Club Online Results for Bridge Club Members

November 26: Diana Diel and Judy Bussell – second out of 96 pairs

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Published December 09, 2023 at 7:57 am (Updated December 09, 2023 at 7:19 am)

Never underestimate your opponent’s ability to make an error

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