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Bridge Club getting slowly back to normal

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David Ezekiel, Bridge

The Bridge Club is slowly trying to get back to normal and here is a recent announcement from tournament director Peter Donnellan.

Following the success of the Wednesday morning games played under our Club Covid Protocols, we are now ready to move cautiously to reopening the club on other days.

From Monday, October 5, the Monday afternoon game will be held at the club, starting at the traditional time of 12.30pm.

From Tuesday, October 6, the Tuesday 149er game will be held at the club, starting at the new time of 7pm. Bill's instructed newcomer game will take place at the club at the same time.

Wednesday morning games will continue at the club, starting at 9.30am.

On Thursday, October 8, the evening open game will be scheduled, but we will have an (online) sign-up sheet for this game — there has been little support recently for the online Thursday game and with a currently reduced pool of directors (for various reasons) it will only be set up if we can be sure of enough players for a game. A message will be sent for sign-up purposes early next week.

Next week, while we are settling back in to our face-to-face games, online club games will not be set up between Monday and Thursday. We will however be considering how to complement our games at the club with online games and events as we work through the process of bringing the club back to life. Members are invited to send in their thoughts on this matter (by e-mail).

For the immediate future, the Friday afternoon game and Saturday afternoon game will stay online. The Saturday game will be open to all players (ie, no masterpoint limit) — there has been insufficient interest in the junior/intermediate group in recent weeks to maintain a viable restricted game.

There you have it — so sign up and attend!

Hot on the heels of announcing three new 2020 Life Masters in last week's column, I'm pleased to report another success as Martha Ferguson finally secured the last 0.13 Gold Points she needed to secure that coveted milestone. Last week Lorna Ferguson had shared just how long it took her to get the last 0.54 she needed!

Many congratulations to Martha, who over the last few years has dedicated herself to the game which has led to results, and has become a regular player as well as a great supporter of the Bridge Club.

Martha once commented that she enjoyed reading about declarer play coups at the table such as the Bath Coup, the Morton's Fork Coup, the Grand Coup and the Scissors Coup. So with that in mind, here is a Morton's Fork Coup that forces an opponent to choose between letting declarer establish extra tricks in the suit led, or losing the opportunity to win any tricks in the suit led.

It takes its name from the expression Morton's Fork, where one has the choice between two losing options

On the hand below where South is in six Spades it appears that South has both a Heart and a Club loser. Although South can establish another winner in Diamonds, just one discard on a Diamond honour doesn't help.

South is in six Spades

Opening lead: Diamond Jack

South receives the lead of the Diamond Jack against six Spades. However, there are two ways that the contract can be made. South might manage to avoid any Heart loser. Or, South might take two Heart tricks; in that case, South could discard one Club on the Heart King and another Club on a Diamond honour.

Judging from the opening lead that East must hold the Diamond Ace, South plays the 9 Diamond from dummy at the first trick (important play), ruffs in hand, and draws trumps. Hoping that West holds the Hearts Ace, South leads the 7 Heart, executing the Morton's Fork:

• If West takes the Hearts Ace, declarer can win any return, unblock Hearts, take a ruffing finesse against the Ace of Diamonds, then discard two Clubs on dummy's winning Diamond and Hearts King. In this case South loses only a Heart.

• If West ducks South's lead of the 7 Hearts, declarer wins dummy's Hearts King, takes a ruffing finesse against the Ace of Diamonds, and throws the Hearts Queen on the established Diamond winner. In this case South loses only a Club.

Note the KEY play at trick one — declarer must be careful not to play a high Diamond on the opening lead, as East could then withhold the Ace.

That would force the declarer to choose a discard prematurely. South must get a discard on a Diamond honour eventually, but not before West has been forced to decide whether to take the Hearts Ace or duck it. Only then will South know whether to discard a Heart or a Club on the Diamond winner.

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Published October 03, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated October 03, 2020 at 5:13 am)

Bridge Club getting slowly back to normal

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