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A hand for newborn Woody!

Some 36 years ago I wrote a column in the now defunct Mid-Ocean News dedicating a hand to my newly born son Daniel, and then almost exactly a year later followed with a hand for my daughter Rebecca. Today’s hand is dedicated to Woodrow (“Woody”) who arrived, with immaculate timing by Becky, bang in the middle of Christmas Day!

No manger, no three wise men, no frankincense and myrrh, just a lot of celebrating to welcome the little fellow into the world. All with the help of the expert and caring staff at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital maternity department, to whom I should dedicate a hand one day with the theme “patience”!

Mother, daughter and dad, George, are all doing well and I have already been on a few GD (we don’t use the full word in this house….) missions and I’m sure there are many more to come!

So I had to think of a theme for the Woody hand which he can pick up in his later years and I’ve decided on “think before you leap”, a concept he will become familiar with pretty soon in life and at the bridge table when those little hands can hold 13 cards. Neither Becky, nor George play bridge at the moment, so some intervention might be required!

The hand to illustrate the Woody tip looks easy, but it isn’t – a bit like the boy himself! And too many declarers who played the hand made that discovery at trick 8! See Figure 1.

Figure 1

North South arrive in the excellent four spade game with a total of 19 HCP and on the face of it ten tricks look easy with five spades and five diamonds. But, the theme of the hand is “look before you leap”, so do that and try it yourself before reading on – one tip, diamonds are 3-1.

The opening lead from West is a low heart to East’s King.

Done? Most declarers blithely ruffed the spade, drew three rounds of trumps and started running the diamonds – and then came bang up against the problem! Take a look at those diamond spots – the suit is irretrievably blocked!

OK, you get a second chance – go back to the opening lead, look before you leap, and try and figure out the right declarer play.

Not easy, is it? The answer is really elegant – don’t ruff the first heart, just throw a diamond! The defence is now powerless to stop you making 10 tricks – try it. The most the defence can now collect is a further two club tricks.

I’ll let you know how Woody gets on when he gets to tackle the hand!

I’ll close by wishing you all a Happy New Year, and may 2023 bring you all good things – health, happiness, working finesses when you have overbid and, perhaps most of all from a bridge point of view, a thoughtful and caring partner at the table. Trust me, there are one or two of those around – I think …….

At the suggestion of a couple of readers my e-mail address will appear at the end of all future columns – it is davidezekiel999@gmail.com – feel free to use it for advice, to suggest an interesting hand for the column, or just to gain assurance that it was your partner’s fault and not yours!


Friday, December 23

1. Tony Saunders – Charles Hall

2. Lynanne Bolton – Peter Donnellan

3. Kath Bell – Geoff Bell

Wednesday, December 28

1. Charles Hall – Tony Saunders

2. Linda Pollett – Bill Pollett

3. Magda Farag – Joe Wakefield

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Published December 31, 2022 at 8:00 am (Updated December 30, 2022 at 2:22 pm)

A hand for newborn Woody!

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