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Magical hand takes game to a higher level

Today, the Junior Pairs Club Championship takes place at the Bermuda Bridge Club. I expect a good attendance from the growing Junior Group and there will be full results in the column next week.

Also, the Bridge Club AGM has been set for next Wednesday, March 11 at 6pm at the club, so put that in your diary.

Today's hand is about bridge magic — the game itself is magical, but every now and then one comes across a hand that takes it to an even greater level, and this week's hand is one of those.

Dealer West

E/W Vulnerable

North

S K8762

H 43

D 1054

C A76

East

S 43

H KQJ1098765

D 8

C 9

West

S 5

H None

D QJ9763

C KQJ1043

South

S AQJ109

H A2

D AK2

C 852

The bidding was over quickly. West opened four Hearts with his great nine-card suit and when this came around to South, he bid four Spades, which closed the auction and became the final contract.

The contract looks doomed to failure with a trick to lose in Hearts and Diamonds and two to lose in Clubs — but remember, this is a magic hand!

West led the Heart King, which was ruffed by East — this did not look like it made any difference because there was already a loser in this suit but South then made the strange play of throwing away the Ace of Hearts on the ruff! East switched to the Club King which South won, drew trumps noting with interest that West followed twice meaning he had 11 cards in the majors and only two in the minors.

Following on this, declarer cashed the two Diamonds and exited with a heart in this position:

North

S K87

H

D 10

C 76

East

S

H QJ10987

D

C

West

S

H

D QJ9

C QJ10

South

S J109

H

D 2

C 85

West now had to lead a Heart and provide a ruff and discard. But declarer refused it, throwing a Club from dummy and a Diamond from his hand to come to this position with the defence having won three tricks:

North

S K87

H

D 10

C 7

East

S

H QJ1098

D

C

West

S

H

D QJ9

C QJ

South

S J109

H

D

C 85

Now when West led another Heart, declarer accepted the ruff and discard throwing the other Club from dummy and ruffing in hand, contract made.

Stunning hand, is it not? And notice that declarer was blessed to be dealt the 2, 3 and 4 of Hearts between him and dummy — without that, when he tries to exit with a Heart, West could play his lowest Heart, leaving declarer with the trick and now there are still three minor tricks to lose.

Would West see that? He should after seeing the play at trick one and by following the maxim “beware of Greeks bearing gifts” — no one gives you something for free at the bridge table.

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Published March 07, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated March 06, 2020 at 10:47 pm)

Magical hand takes game to a higher level

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