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Snooze you lose in this demanding game

Not a lot is happening at the club other than another STAC week, but with a difference as it is Charity Week. All the table monies last week went to The Salvation Army, who do such a wonderful job in sheltering the poor, hungry and homeless - and the odd bridge player who has been tossed out of the marital home for forgetting a convention or not leading partner’s suit!

Since records have been kept the male-female ratio of these bridge refugees is 4-1 in favour of the males. Hmmmm, not sure what that says about anything.

Bridge is often a game of reflex and that is not a bad thing ... most of the time. It is a complicated and demanding game, so if there is an opportunity every once in a while to play a hand without needing to think really hard, that does help.

Some players, however, take that all too far and just never think outside the box and thus occasionally end up in the homeless shelter. As usual, I have a hand that supports that preamble.

Dealer North N/S Vul

North

S ? KJ102

H ? Q4

D ? K743

C ? A52

East

S ? 8643

H ? A865

D ? Q1062

C ? 6

South

S ? AQ975

H ? K3

D ? A8

C ? KQ103

West

S ? None

H ? J10972

D ? J95

C ? J9874

The bidding

North

1D

2S

4S

5H

South

1S

3C

4NT

6S

This is a really good slam. West led the Heart Jack and East won the Ace and returned a Heart. It all looked too easy for declarer until he played a Spade and West showed out.

It now became dangerous and declarer decided to plump for something good happening in Clubs, not realising that the bad Spade break probably meant that other stuff was not breaking well.

Declarer thus drew trump, effectively turning this into a 6NT contract, and when the clubs did not break, sidled to a one-trick defeat.

Do you see where declarer went on remote? Having played hundreds of hands where the ruffing is done in the hand with the short trumps, declarer could not see beyond that.

The winning play? Ruff two Diamonds in hand.

Win the Heart, play one trump discovering the bad break and now play Ace King of Diamonds and ruff a Diamond. A trump to dummy’s ten leads to another Diamond ruff and this position:

North

S ? KJ

H ?

D ?

C ? A52

East

S ? 86

H ? 86

D ?

C ? 6

South

S ? Q

H ?

D ?

C ? KQ103

West

S ? None

H ? 10

D ?

C ? J987

Now the Queen of Spades overtaken with the King, draw the last trump throwing a Club from hand and claim. A perfect dummy reversal.

Never an easy play to find but one that comes up often ... funny thing is that declarer would have a better chance of finding it if the South hand was dummy.

Players are just used to doing all the ruffing in dummy and it needs some training and thought to recognise these situations. Which you will do, of course, next time you sit at the table!