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JUST BRIDGE...


COMPLACENCY KILLED THIS CAT

 

by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish


  We've all seen it happen, perhaps to ourselves. A player doubles a contract because he expects to take a number of trump tricks but he soon discovers that his double has pointed declarer to a winning line of play. In a sea of potentially revolting developments this would be in everyone's top three.

 Today's deal is of this ilk. You may cover the East and West hands and try your hand at 4
, doubled by West.

North-South vulnerable, West deals

  10 8 4 3

A 10 6 5 4
A Q 5 4
   
  K 7 6 5 2
A 6 5
K 9 2
10 3
West North East South
1 1 3 3
4 4 Pass Pass
Double Pass Pass Pass


Opening Lead:
7

 If you don't much care for South's 3
bid neither do we, but in his opinion it was a least-of-evils choice in his system. There is, however, a modern convention - the "Fourth Suit Double" or the "Snapdragon Double" that deals well with this type of hand; after three suits have been bid in turn a double by fourth hand shows length in the unbid suit, usually with tolerance for overcaller's suit. 3 got South to game and West, seduced by his trump honours, made a greedy penalty double. First of all, the K might have been in dummy. Second, East had shown a weak hand and could not be counted on for a defensive trick. And finally, the double might well help declarer in the play.

 Indeed. West led a heart, which declarer ruffed in dummy to play a trump. He was gratified to see East follow but he was not yet out of the woods. Declarer followed low and West won the queen to continue hearts. Declarer ruffed in dummy, came to the
K, finessed the Q, cashed the A, and ruffed a club. Then he cashed the A, crossed to the A, ruffed dummy's last club, and exited with his losing diamond. West won the trick but was down to the ace-jack of trumps while declarer, who held the king-seven, flashed him both a wink and his remaining cards. 4 doubled, bid and made. Thank you dear West.

 Would declarer have made 4
without the double? We think that he would have, on a less complex line of play: ruff the heart lead and duck a trump, ruff a heart continuation and play a second trump. West cashes his third trump winner and exits safely with a heart but declarer wins the ace, finesses the Q, cashes the A, ruffs a club, and plays his last trump. West cannot keep both his club guard and all three diamonds and declarer scores his tenth trick in the minor that West releases in the end game.
 

The 4 hands were:

  10 8 4 3

A 10 6 5 4
A Q 5 4
A Q J
Q 8 7
Q 8 3
K 8 7 6
9
K J 10 9 4 3 2
J 7
J 9 2
  K 7 6 5 2
A 6 5
K 9 2
10 3