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   Dec. 6/99

 

JUST BRIDGE...

 

MAINTAINING TRUMP CONTROL
IS KEY TO FOUR-THREE FITS

 

by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 

 Cover the East-West cards but give the North and South hands a long look. What is their best game contract? With 29 points and two balanced hands 3NT would normally be a serious contender, but here spades are a problem, particularly if the opponents bid and support them. 5 is respectable, needing only the heart finesse. Is there anything better?

 It is not particularly desirable to declare a game contract with only seven trumps, less so when they are divided four-three in the partnership hands and there is a weak side suit for the opponents to pound at you. Nonetheless, such contracts can, under certain circumstances, offer the best chance for game.

North-South vulnerable North deals

  4 2
A 9 2
A Q J

A K 10 5 3

   
  Q 3
Q J 10 6
K 10 7

Q J 4 2

West North East South
  1 Pass 1
1 Dbl(1) 2 3
Pass 3 Pass 3(2)
Pass 4 End  



(1) Non-minimum, 3 hearts
(2) Can you bid notrump?


Opening Lead:
K

 On today's deal, North-South used a popular modern convention to locate their four-three heart fit. North's double of the 1
overcall was a "Support Double," showing three-card heart support and at least a sound opening bid. South supported clubs (denying a fifth heart), then probed for notrump with 3 when North showed values in diamonds. The partnership scrambled back into hearts when it seemed that there would be two spades to lose off the top and strong potential for another loser.

 In 4
declarer is not dependent on the heart finesse but he has other concerns. How would you play 4 on three rounds of spades?

 The best plan is to ruff the third spade with dummy's two and lead the
9 from dummy. If someone wins the king and trumps are no worse than four-two, you are safe. Ruff a fourth spade with the ace, come to hand and draw trumps. If the 9 holds, you need a three-three trump break or king-fourth of trumps with only three spades. Cash the A, cross to hand and drive out the K.

 If the defence switches to clubs after one high spade, seeking a ruff, you need the trump finesse or perhaps a bit of luck.

 The four-three fit is known as a "Moysian," honouring Sonny Moyse, legendary Editor of "The Bridge World," a staunch supporter of such contracts in print and at the table.

 

  4 2
A 9 2
A Q J

A K 10 5 3

A K J 9 5
7 5 4 3
9 2

9 6

10 8 7 6
K 8
8 6 5 4 3

8 7

  Q 3
Q J 10 6
K 10 7

Q J 4 2