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Some players finding success in large online tournaments

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Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3

With the boom in online bridge worldwide since the lockdown, a number of players are playing in larger non-bridge-club games and many are having considerable success in games that contain 400-600 pairs, and I’m trying to find a way of getting these results in the column without being overwhelmed .

I’ll sort out some criteria with the help of the three gurus who ran the Bermuda Online Tournament last week and see where we go from there. I know that a few players have already had overall wins in these events but for fear of acknowledging some and not others we will do this going forward.

So going forward for now, if you have a win in any game with 100 or more pairs please let me know the date , players and score and I’ll start trying to slot them in. Revised criteria will be forthcoming

The first hand this week is one you may have seen before here, but it is one that is worth looking at again to get you thinking about looking beyond the obvious plays on the hand (see Figure 1).

You are in a matchpoint game so overtricks matter, and you are in six spades on a trump lead. You win and now have to plan the hand. Try it before reading on .

If the diamond finesse is right and you can then guess the club queen you can make an overtrick - the diamond finesse is 50 per cent and once that works, or doesn’t, the club is another 50 per cent - so your chances of making an overtrick (both working) is 25 per cent, the chances of you going down one is 25 per cent (both failing) and the chances of making is 50 per cent ( one of them working).

Before you make this play , however, you must know that there is a 100 per cent way to make the contract with an almost zero chance of the overtrick - do you see it?

Quite simple – draw trump, cash your hearts and now play Ace and Queen of diamonds to get to this position (see Figure 2).

Now whoever wins the diamond has to solve the clubs for you or give you a ruff and discard, either one helping you make the contract.

This play is 100 per cent the right one at Teams and, unless I needed some huge scores at Pairs, I think also the right one at Pairs. A making slam will never give you a bad score and going down will not only give you a horror score but will affect team morale for the session.

The safe play on this hand will possibly make an overtrick once in a blue moon – if the King of Diamonds is singleton and you then guess the club – not likely!

The main takeaway from this hand is to look beyond the ‘obvious’ diamond finesse, and all other ‘obvious’ finesses and look for a better plan first.

The second hand is an interesting Declarer Play problem (Figure 3).

You go looking for slam but eventually settle on a contract of 5 spades and West leads the club 10 - you play low and so does East who plays an encouraging 8 and you win the King .

You now draw trump and play a diamond but East wins and leads another club – down one !

Take another try before reading on.

The nine of diamonds is a huge card in dummy once West leads to 10 – what is really important is that on the lead you know that East has the AJ of clubs, and once you know this, what you have to do is ‘freeze’ the club suit by playing the queen from dummy. East has to win this otherwise he is handing you two club tricks, with the king coming later.

Once he wins, however, he is dead - he cannot continue clubs as you will now make two club tricks - try it - and any switch cannot hurt you. You eventually knock out the diamond Ace , win the club return with the king and discard the losing club on the diamond – contract made!

Friday, February 5

1.Magda Farag - John Burville

2.Joyce Pearson - Lorna Anderson

3=Raymond McDaid - Inger Mesna

3=Charles Hall - Edward Betteto

Monday, February 8

1.Margaret Way - Charles Hall

2.Sue Hodge - John Hodge

3.Magda Farag - Sheena Rayner

Tuesday, February 9 <149

1.Duncan Silver - Marion Silver

2.Heidi Dyson - Amanda Ingham

3.Malcolm Moseley - Mark Stevens

Wednesday, February 10

1=Lynanne Bolton - Charles Hall

1=Margaret Way - Edward Betteto

3.Diana Diel - Patricia Siddle

Thursday, February 11

1.Joann Dawson - Mike Dawson

2.Charles Hall - William Pollett

3.Linda Pollett - Elizabeth McKee

Friday, February 12

1=Richard Gray - Wendy Gray

1=Charles Roraback - Molly Roraback

1= Linda Pollett - William Pollett

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Published February 13, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated February 12, 2021 at 7:58 pm)

Some players finding success in large online tournaments

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