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Nine out of ten declarers will miss best play on this hand

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The Bermuda Bridge Club continues the successful Social Bridge Afternoons on the third Sunday each month between 3pm and 5pm at the Club on Pomander Road.

These sessions are open to all levels of players, no sign-up required, just show up, meet some new people and have an enjoyable afternoon in the company of others who would like to enjoy this great game of ours. You can come with or without a partner.

It makes for a good day for the newer players, but also for the more experienced players who can talk about the game they love and impart some thoughts and advice to the others. Put it in the diary for one Sunday each month!

Often in declarer play you need to be a bit brave, within reason, to succeed. You also need to judge the next move by the defence in any given situation, and quite often that is not that hard.

I love today’s hand (see Figure 1) and it is one where 90 per cent of declarers will simply not look beyond the obvious play and will miss the best chance of making the hand.

Figure 1

With that as a hint, give it a go!

South opened the hand 1NT and North had an easy raise to 3NT – West led the club six.

I can guarantee what would happen at nearly every table. Declarer will win, run five diamonds hoping to get something from the opposing discards and will then take the spade finesse — if it wins, the contract makes and if it loses, the contract will go down – pure 50-50.

If you are a regular reader of this column, however, you will know that 50-50 is just not good enough for me! You have to rack your brains to make it better, even if just by a little.

On this hand I can get you to something like 75-25.

Spades are not your only choice for a ninth trick – if East holds the Ace of hearts, the King of hearts will provide the ninth trick. Yes, you are right, it is another 50-50 chance on its own, but there is a huge difference between the two plays.

If you play the spade finesse and it loses you are going down, no question about it. The defence will clear the clubs and then the minute you play the heart, no matter who has the Ace, they will grab the Ace and cash clubs to beat you.

Now look what happens if you try the heart first and it loses – in the real world you cannot worry about them suddenly running four more hearts, it just won’t happen. They will clear the clubs and now you have a second chance as you can now try the spade finesse. See the full hand in Figure 2.

Figure 2

So playing the heart first combines two 50-50 chances which ends up at giving you a 75 per cent chance of making the hand – way better than the 50-50 shot when you play spades first.

Yes, it looks dangerous playing towards that unsupported King , but it really is not.

And, you should do that at trick two when the opponents are not on high alert and also have not had a chance to signal to each other via discards on the diamonds.

David Ezekiel can be reached at davidezekiel999@gmail.com


Friday, April 26


1. Rachael Gosling-Helena Gosling

2. Elysa Burland-Magda Farag


1. Judith Bussell-Ruby Douglas

2. Sancia Garrison-Jane Smith

Monday, April 29


1. Gertrude Barker-Jane Smith

2. Elysa Burland-Greta Marshall

3. Geoff Bell-Kathleen Bell


1. Judith Bussell-Heather Woolf

2. Gil Butterfield-Judy Kitson

3. Patricia Siddle-Diana Diel

Tuesday, April 30


1. Jamie Sapsford-Jane Dowling

2. Carol Eastham-Nikki Boyce


1. Stuart Clare-Sarah Bowers

2= Keri McKittrick-Wilena White

2=Tracy Pitt-Desiree Woods

Wednesday, May 1

1. Gertrude Barker-Jane Smith

2. Betsy Baillie-Sharon Shanahan

3. Sheena Rayner-Molly Taussig

Thursday, May 2

1. Gertrude Barker-Caitlin Conyers

2. Claude Guay-Sharon Shanahan

3. Molly Taussig-Margaret Way

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Published May 04, 2024 at 7:56 am (Updated May 04, 2024 at 7:23 am)

Nine out of ten declarers will miss best play on this hand

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