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Embarrassment of riches leads to downfall

After weeks of announcing the start of the tournament season I’m glad to report that it is here!

Monday and Friday will see the Open Pairs being contested and it will be interesting to see whether any new line-ups enter the fray after the summer break!

Full results here the week after the event.

This week’s hand came up at the Regional some 15 years ago and is absolutely one of my favourites of all time — it came up in the Swiss Teams.

Board 1. Love All. Dealer East. Teams


S 652

H K3


C A862


S 84

H 10754

D 9752

C J104


S J103


D J10

C KQ75



H 982

D 864

C 93

The bidding was over quickly. East opened one Diamond, South overcalled one Spade and North raised to four Spades. West led the Jack of Clubs. Both declarers acted on reflex. They won the Club, crossed to hand with a trump and led a Heart towards the King. East won, and after cashing one Club led a trump and South was in trouble. He led another Heart but East won this to play the last trump and South slid to defeat losing three Hearts and a Club.

East’s bid should have alerted South to the folly of the Heart play, but even without it there is no excuse for the play.

At trick two declarer should lead a LOW Heart from dummy — the contract is now safe as declarer will always have a trump left in dummy to ruff the last Heart even if the opponents attack trumps. I would make the same play at Pairs, especially with East’s opening bid which almost certainly places him with the Heart Ace.

Interesting isn’t it that Declarer will always make the contract if dummy had two small Hearts instead of the King. Now the Heart play from dummy at trick two becomes automatic. An embarrassment of riches led to declarer’s downfall!