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   Dec. 13/99

 

JUST BRIDGE...

 

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

 

by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 

 Whether you are playing the stock market or the game of bridge, timing is everything. Cover the East-West hands and play 4 on the lead of the Q.

Neither side vulnerable East deals

  A K 7
6 3
9 8 7 4 2

8 6 5

   
  Q J 10 9 2
K 9 4
A K

K Q J

West North East South
    Pass 1
Pass 2 Pass 4
End      


Opening Lead:
Q

 You can count nine tricks after the
A is deposed. Unless diamonds are three-three (with three-two trumps) the tenth must come from hearts. If the A is onside the king will provide the game-going trick and a heart ruff will secure an overtrick. That's straightforward enough; to follow this line you would cross to dummy in trumps to lead a heart towards the king. Is there any real danger in this plan?

 Yes, there is. This is what will transpire: West takes the
K with the ace and leads a second trump. When you play a second heart East will win and lead a third trump. You will be left with a third losing heart (and a sure club loser) and will take only nine tricks.

 When the form of scoring does not place much emphasis on small total-point differences it is of primary importance to ensure your contract before thinking about overtricks. In order to stay a tempo ahead of the defence you cannot afford to play a round of trumps yourself. At trick two lead a heart from hand. If the defence switches to trumps, win the king in dummy and lead a heart towards your king. If the ace is on your right you won't need a heart ruff in dummy, but on a layout like the one in the diagram West will win and lead a second trump. Win in hand, ruff a heart with the
A, and go about your business, drawing the last trump when you reach your hand. You will lose only two hearts and the A. Regardless of the location of the A your opponents will not have the timing to deprive you of the vital heart ruff.

 There are some other dangers on the deal (possible ruffs in clubs or diamonds or a four-one trump break in combination with a poor minor-suit lie) but depriving yourself of the "sure" heart ruff would be too painful to bear.

 

The four hands were:

  A K 7
6 3
9 8 7 4 2

8 6 5

6 5
A 10 7 5
Q J 10 3

A 7 3 

8 4 3
Q J 8 2
6 5

10 9 4 2 

  Q J 10 9 2
K 9 4
A K

K Q J