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Really good, thoughtful play from declarer

Dealer South, Both Vul: South opened a strong 2 Clubs and after hearing a 2 Diamond negative from North bid – a disciplined 2NT with his 23 points

Congratulations to Richard Gray who won the Ernie Owen Memorial Individual tournament at the Club last week.

Ernie was my long time bridge partner for a number of years and the event always brings memories of some great times as we travelled the world as partners and played regularly at the Club, before his untimely death.

He was a wonderful bidding theorist and a great partner and will always be part of Bermuda bridge history.

Individual Tournaments are difficult, as you face a new partner each round and winning has as much to do with gelling with your partner as it has with technical skill – well done also to Wenda Krupp and Tim Mardon who finished in 2nd and 3rd.

As you all know live games are once again suspended at the Club so we are all back online.

Please remember to send me any top 5 finishes in the online games with the date and number of pairs so that we can include it in the results section.

Well done to Diana and Pat for their win on Wednesday on BBO, which is included in this week’s results.

This week’s hand needed a bit of thought as declarer had to play on the basis that the defence were good enough to punish any second- best play.

South opened a strong 2 Clubs and after hearing a 2 Diamond negative from North bid – a disciplined 2NT with his 23 points.

Some will be tempted to jump to 3NT, but that may miss out on 4 Spades being the best contract if North has a four card spade suit and could Stayman. Anyway, North had a comfortable raise to 3NT.

West led the jack of spades. Declarer counted seven top tricks. If diamonds were three-two, he would only need one club trick.

So he won the first trick with the king of spades and cashed the ace and king of diamonds.

When West discarded a low club on the second diamond, declarer had to make two club tricks.

If West held the ace of clubs then he could lead the queen of clubs and it would not matter what the defence did.

If the queen of clubs held, he could play a second club and rise with dummy’s king to make his ninth trick.

Also, if either defender took the queen of clubs it would be a simple matter to make a second club trick by leading a club to dummy’s nine.

However, that play would not succeed on this layout against the best defence. As on this hand East would duck the queen of clubs, limiting declarer to one trick in clubs.

Declarer, however, found the counter to East’s holding the ace-jack of clubs by leading the eight of clubs at trick four and running it!

It would have done East no good to let the eight of clubs win, for then declarer could have guaranteed a second club by leading the queen of clubs to the next trick.

So East won the trick with the jack of clubs, cashed two diamonds, and shifted to the ten of hearts.

Now it was easy for declarer who won the heart and played the Club queen, overtaking with the King, East was helpless and declarer racked up nine tricks adding two clubs to the 7 tricks he started with. Really good, thoughtful play.

I’ll close, by once, again wishing you all a happy holiday season amid this enduring nightmare with Covid-19.

Hopefully 2022 will bring us all some sort of permanent return to normalcy. In the meantime enjoy your family, friends and bridge.

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Published December 24, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated December 31, 2021 at 7:34 am)

Really good, thoughtful play from declarer

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