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A hand instructive in avoiding the ‘reflex’ play

Figure 1

With the return to some sort of normality we can look forward to the first couple of spring tournaments at the Bermuda Bridge Club with the Novice Pairs on Tuesday evening, March 29, quickly followed by the Open Pairs on the evenings of Thursday March 31 and April 7. The club is looking for a good turnout so sign up in time.

This week’s hand requires a bit of forethought and planning and is instructive in avoiding what looks like an “obvious” or “reflex” play (see Figure 1).

South opened 1 spade, North raised to 2 spades (I play the immediate raise as always showing at least four-card support – with three-card support and values for a raise, I would start with a forcing no trump) and North had a reasonable shot at game and bid 4 spades.

The lead was the heart 9 and three different declarers handled it very differently, the first one succeeding with help from the defence, the second one failing on the same line of play against better defence, and the third one succeeding because she did a bit of planning and just played the hand better!

At one table, the heart was covered by the Queen, King, and Ace. Declarer drew trumps with his King and dummy’s Ace then led a club from dummy. The defenders took two clubs and had to make a diamond trick, with declarer’s other losing diamond going on a heart – four spades making.

At a second table, the nine of hearts was again covered by the Queen but, here, East was cannier, playing the two of hearts. Now no matter what declarer did, the lack of entries to dummy meant he had to lose two clubs and two diamonds for a one-trick defeat.

The correct play was found at a third table, where declarer played the 4 of hearts from dummy at trick one. After taking her Ace of hearts, declarer drew trumps with the King and Queen then played her remaining heart to dummy’s ten and East’s King.

East’s continuation of the Queen of clubs was covered by the King and Ace. After winning the club continuation with the 10, East shifted to the 10 of diamonds. Declarer won with the Ace and crossed to dummy with a trump to the Ace to throw her losing diamonds on the Queen and Jack of hearts – contract made!

Really well played and not that easy to see as it is so “normal” to trap the heart King at trick one.


Friday, March 18


1. Gertie Barker – Lynanne Bolton

2. Elysa Burland – Magda Farag

3. Molly Taussig – John Burville


1. Joe Wakefield – Tony Saunders

2. Wenda Krupp – Jane Gregory

3. Martha Ferguson – Judy King

Monday, March 21


1. Lynanne Bolton – Peter Donnellan

2. Molly Taussig – Jack Rhind

3. Judy Bussell – Magda Farag


1. Martha Ferguson – Judy King

2. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

3. Aida Bostelmann – Julia Beach

Tuesday 22 March

1. Malcolm Moseley – Mark Stevens

2/3Neil Gilbertson – Barbara Elkin

2/3Tracey Pitt – Desiree Ogen

Wednesday, March 23

1. Judy Bussell – Dorry Lusher

2. Joyce Pearson – Heather Woolf

3. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

Thursday, March 24

1. Marge Way – Lisa Ferrari

2. Gertie Barker – John Glynn

3. Sharon Shanahan – ClaudeGuay

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Published March 26, 2022 at 7:19 am (Updated March 26, 2022 at 7:19 am)

A hand instructive in avoiding the ‘reflex’ play

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