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With bridge, things are not always simple

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Things are back in full swing at the Bermuda Bridge Club and in case you missed all the e-mails here is a summary of what is going on in October.

Friday, October 4, ACBL-wide Seniors:

Players must be age 60 or over. One ineligible pair allowed. Apply to me if you want the spot, first come first served. Normal game time is 12.30.

October 7-10, Robert Todd lessons:

Sign up sheets are on the (ACBL) notice board at the Club.

October 11-14, The Sectional — Silver points:

Schedule on the website and on the Club Notice Board.

Junior Players — if you want to play in games limited to 99 master points, sign up: we are ready to hold the games if numbers permit, but need a minimum for a game in any one of the pairs sessions.

October 21-25 STaC Week — Silver points.

As well as our normal Club games, we are scheduling an Intermediate game on Monday, October 21, and will also have a separate Intermediate section on Thursday evening if numbers allow.

Enough to keep you occupied, so sign up.

The Bath Coup in Bridge is probably one of the most frequently used declarer plays, and probably every reader of this column will have used it many times without knowing that the play had a name!

The play arises when the suit is distributed as shown in Figure 1.

Declarer is in 3NT and West leads the heart King — by winning the trick, declarer is hugely exposed the next time East gets the lead, so declarer ducks and West cannot continue the suit, without giving declarer two tricks, and all the danger is avoided.

As with all things in Bridge it is not just that simple.

How does West know that East doesn't have the Jack — or the Ace?

It's simple, right? Or perhaps not; but the rule is that, if partner leads the King of a suit against NT, East has to play the highest card in their hand.

If it is the jack, throw it under the King, so that partner knows it is safe to continue and, if East has the Ace, she must overtake the King and play the suit through declarer.

These plays are essential, or West will not know whether declarer is exposed, or is simply applying the Bath Coup.

So what does mean to the opening leader?

You have to follow this closely; if you are leading against NT and your suit is KQ10xx, you can lead the King as you can afford partner to throw the jack away, but, if you are on lead with KQxxx, without the 10, you must just lead 4th best, as you don't want partner to throw the jack.

I know you hate that, but trust me, it is the correct play!

One last thing: none of this means you switch off your brain.

If partner leads the King and dummy comes down with Jxx and you have Axx, you would not overtake as that would cost a trick.

Play smoothly low and let partner work it out, you have no option. Phew!

That was meant to be a short introduction to the hand and look what happened!

Anyway, the hand features the Bath Coup and one of the greatest declarer plays I have seen.

I have covered the hand before, and couldn't recall declarers name then and I can't do now.

All I remember is that he was an American living in the Bahamas, where the hand occurred

After opening 1 diamond South ended up as declarer in 3NT and West led the heart King, East playing the 8, and declarer had a real problem.

He could duck, employing the Bath Coup, but that would certainly lead to a spade switch, which would be terminal. So what did he do? As smooth as anything he threw the heart Jack under the King.

West, now ‘knowing' that declarer started with AJ doubleton, continued a heart and that was curtains for the defence; declarer won and now when East got in with a club, he had no hearts to return, and even if he did the contract was safe as hearts would be 4-3. That's absolute brilliance from declarer.

Could West have worked this out?

I think so. If he had noticed partners 8 of hearts which is either a doubleton or a singleton, and in either case, a heart continuation would not make sense.

In Bridge, it's about the details, details.


Monday afternoon


1. Katrina Van Pelt/Sheena Rayner

2. William Pollett/Molly Taussig

3. Patricia Colmet/Greta Marshall


1. Martha Ferguson/Judy King

2. Janice Trott/Michael Bickley

3. Patricia Siddle/Marilynn Simmons

Tuesday evening junior game

1. Nikki Boyce/Carol Eastham

2. Tim Mardon/Chris Harris

3. Sarah Bowers/Stuart Clare

Wednesday morning


1. Richard Gray/Stephanie Kyme

2. Peter Donnellan/Lynanne Bolton


1. Sheena Rayner/Julia Beach

2. Linda Pollett/William Pollett

There were no games on Thursday and Friday due to Hurricane Humberto.

Figure 1: Dealer South E/W Vulnerable
Figure 2: Declarer is in 3NT and West leads the heart King

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Published September 28, 2019 at 9:00 am (Updated September 27, 2019 at 8:00 pm)

With bridge, things are not always simple

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