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Get 2016 off to good start with a game

December is typically a long month for the bridge addicts - no tournaments, some cancelled games due to the Christmas break and the annoying distraction of a major holiday all combine for a frustrating time.

The Club is doing a little something to counter this by scheduling a game at 2pm on New Year’s Day, the midafternoon start catering for those who stay up a little later than the witching hour to bring in the New Year.

This week’s hand is one where the replay is a lot easier than the actual performance at the table. It came up the other night on Bridge Base Online and many declarers failed in the four-Spade contract.

Dealer North, None Vul

North

S J1042

H 1087

D K96

C Q105

West East

S K9 S 75

H Q64 H K32

D QJ108 D 5432

C 8732 C KJ94

South

S AQ863

H AJ95

D A7

C A6

At our table I passed as North and after LHO passed partner opened a Spade and RHO passed I bid a gentle two Spades, partner now jumped to four Hearts (in case I was three-four in Spades-Hearts when the four-four fit plays better) and I corrected to four Spades.

West led the Diamond Queen, partner won in dummy and ran the Spade Jack to West’s King and another Diamond came back. The hand was actually now doomed to a one trick defeat! Why? Partner had at trick two thoughtlessly played the Spade three from hand under the Jack.

Declarer won the Diamond and crossed to dummy with the Spade ten and ran the Heart seven to West’s Queen - a third Diamond came back and declarer still had a Heart and a Club to lose for down on.

See what happens if at trick two declarer plays the Spade six under the Jack - now declarer can enter dummy once with the Spade ten for the first Heart finesse and then enter dummy again with the Spade three being overtaken by the four and the second Heart finesse delivering the contract.

This is the sort of hand where the more experienced players prevail as they have usually seen this situation before and can plan for it - and isn’t it lovely when it works!