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How would you play Morton’s Fork?

All the players are now back from the Sun, Sea and Slams Bridge event put on by the Barbados Bridge League and from all accounts they really enjoyed themselves.

As mentioned in last week’s column, Barbara Seagram, a born Bajan, played a big part in the event, including putting on three free guest lectures which were well received.

I didn’t get much in the way of results from the event, although I hear that Martha Ferguson and John Luebkemann had a couple of wins in two separate events. Sounds like this could become an annual event.

This week’s hand features one of my favourite bridge coups, the Morton’s Fork, where a defender is faced with two options — both of them losing ones.

With that as a hint, see how you would have played this hand.

N/S Vulnerable — Dealer South

South, as dealer, opened a 15-17 NT and West jumped to three Hearts presumably showing a good seven-card suit. North looked at the vulnerability and took the decision not to double (three Hearts would probably go four down for 800) but to go for the vulnerable slam, so South became declarer in 6NT.

West led the Spade Jack and declarer had to do some thinking — as do you, so get going.

Ready? Declarer had 11 tricks and was looking for a twelfth … if Diamonds break 3-3, it is all easy but after the pre-empt, that looks unlikely.

If declarer gives up a Diamond that still only leaves 11 tricks — two Spades, four Diamonds and five Clubs — and nowhere to go for a twelfth.

This declarer, however, found a neat solution based on the likelihood that East had either no Hearts or possibly one.

Let me show you the full hand:

Declarer won the Spade in his hand and led … the Heart 5. West was stuck in the Morton’s Fork. If he won the Ace, declarer had 12 tricks with two Spades, two Hearts, three Diamonds and five clubs, so he ducked. Declarer won the King and now played on Diamonds giving East the fourth Diamond — with no Hearts to return, declarer made the hand with two Spades, one Heart, four Diamonds and five Clubs.

A great piece of card reading by declarer followed by flawless execution.


Monday afternoon


1, Elysa Burland/Marilynn Simmons

2, Louise Rodger/Lyn O’Neill

3, Sheena Rayner/Magda Farag


1, Michael Bickley/Dorry Lusher

2, Jean Johnson/Tony Saunders

3, Judith Bussell/Peter Donnellan

Tuesday evening

1, Heather Farrugia/Michael Farrugia

2, Samantha Pickering/Nick Kempe

3, Alison Everard/Judith Law

Wednesday morning


1, Louise Rodger/Elizabeth McKee

2, Peter Donnellan/Molly Taussig

3, Marsha Fraser/Heather Woolf


1, Elysa Burland/Sancia Garrison

2, Diana Diel/Joseph Wakefield

3, John Burville/Mike Viotti

Thursday evening

1, Marilynn Simmons/Jane Smith

2, Wendy Gray/Richard Gray

3, Peter Donnellan/John Glynn

Friday afternoon


1, Elysa Burland/Magda Farag

2, Louise Rodger/Molly Taussig

3, Patricia Colmet/Sancia Garrison


1, Joseph Wakefield/Tony Saunders

2, Greta Marshall/Heather Woolf

3, Alan Douglas/Jane Smith