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Frequent hand that often induces mistakes

If I rattle on about certain bids or play in this column from time to time it is only because they come up at the table frequently – and players frequently go wrong on them!

Key to playing a suit well is recognising what your best outcome is even if the cards are lying well, and if the best outcome is at least one loser then your goal should be to avoid two losers!

With that in mind take a look at this hand (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

South opened one heart and when North raised to two hearts South had an easy jump to game with his shapely 18-point hand.

West led the King of diamonds.

I absolutely know what many (most!) declarers would do after winning the Ace – they would dash to dummy in clubs to take the heart finesse – a pointless, useless, no-win play as there is no distribution of the heart suit where that would work, as there is no distribution of the heart suit to avoid at least one heart loser.

Try it – distribute the remaining hearts any way you want in the East-West hands and see if you can avoid a loser – you can’t.

Declarer at one table was a veteran of the game and immediately saw the right play. He could count six tricks outside trumps and he saw that if he could keep his trump losers to one, he would make his contract.

Declarer observed that no matter how he played the trump suit he would always have at least one loser in the suit. If trumps were three-two, the Ace and another trump would carry the day. So, declarer turned his attention to dealing with a four-one trump break.

With that in mind, declarer led a low trump at trick two. West played the eight of trumps and dummy’s Jack won the trick. Declarer returned to hand with a low club to his King to lead a second low trump.

West rose with the King of trumps, dummy followed low and East discarded a diamond. Declarer ruffed West’s continuation of the Queen of diamonds, played a low trump to dummy’s Queen, led a spade to his Ace and drew West’s remaining trump with the Ace. This brought declarer’s trick total to seven and he claimed three more club tricks for his contract.

Note that declarer’s play in the trump suit would only lose a second trump trick if East had been dealt a singleton King or four trumps to the King and a singleton club (provided he does not take the King on the first round of trumps). Otherwise, declarer would have been able to pick up the trump suit for one loser.

To play the hands well you must develop some ability to assess the best play for different suit combinations and, with enough practice and experience, the right plays will soon become reflex.

• It is with great sadness, both personally and behalf of all the members of the Bridge Club, that I report the passing of Julia Beach after a long battle with illness, one she had beaten for a long time but which finally overcame her.

Julia was a longstanding and popular member of the club, and her smiling face and pleasant personality will be hugely missed by all who knew her, and her passing is a real loss for the club and its members.

Our thoughts are with Millard and the rest of her family and friends.

David Ezekiel can be reached at davidezekiel999@gmail.com


Friday, March 3

1. Molly Taussig – John Glynn

2. Charles Hall – Bill Pollett

3. Diana Diel – Stephanie Kyme

Monday, March 6


1. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

2. Elysa Burland – Greta Marshall

3. Lynanne Bolton – Peter Donnellan


1. Joe Wakefield – Ed Betteto

2. Caroline Svensen – Jane Clipper

3. Pat Siddle – Diana Diel

Tuesday, March 7


1. Malcolm Moseley – Mark Stevens

2. Ben Stone – James Fielding

3. Vivian Pereira – Karen Clare


1. Sharon Andrews – Dorea Grant

2. Catherine Kennedy – Rob Mulderig

3. Kathleen Senofonte – Jonathan Sanchez-Jaimes

Wednesday, March 8


1. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

2. Tony Saunders – Charles Hall

3. Magda Farag – Joe Wakefield


1. Linda Pollett – Bill Pollett

2. Martha Ferguson – Judy King

3. Pat Siddle – Diana Diel

Thursday, March 9

1. Rachael Gosling – John Glynn

2. Inger Mesna – John Rayner

3. Elizabeth McKee – Linda Pollett

Granaway Bridge Club

February 22


1. Tracy Nash – Des Nash

2. Wendy Gray – Richard Gray

3. Lisa Ferrari – John Glynn


1. Elizabeth McKee – Rachael Gosling

2. Stephanie Kyme – Diana Diel

3. Molly Taussig – Steve Cosham

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Published March 11, 2023 at 7:49 am (Updated March 11, 2023 at 7:49 am)

Frequent hand that often induces mistakes

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