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JUST BRIDGE...

 

TEN THE HARD WAY

 

by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 

 Finishing just short of qualification for the knockout phase of the 1999 Canadian National Teams Championship was the PHILLIPS team (Duncan Phillips-Bill Solomon, Joy Phillips-Sigis Keras, all Toronto area, Rick Delogu, Waterloo-Paul Thurston, St Catharines.

Both vulnerable South deals

  A K 8 7
Q 7 3
J 10 2

Q 9 5

J 6 5
A J 6 5
A 9 7 6
J 2
2
9 8 4 2
8 5 3

K 10 7 4 3

  Q 10 9 4 3
K 10
K Q 4

A 8 6

West North East South
  RD Pass PT
      1
Pass 2NT (1) Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass  


(1) Artificial spade raise, game-forcing


Opening Lead:
5

 Paul Thurston declared 4
, his jump to game describing a minimum-range hand with no short suit. West found a safe lead in the 5.

 To come to ten tricks, declarer had to take either two heart tricks or two club tricks. A low heart to the ten wins when the jack is in the East hand or when East flies with the ace, unlikely after South's revealing bidding.

 Declarer drew two rounds of trumps, East discarding the deuce of hearts to warn West not to break that suit and led the
J, 3,K.

 

 West returned the passive 9. Declarer won the queen, drew the last trump (3 from East), and led a heart to the king and ace. West exited in hearts and declarer won the queen, cashed the 10, ruffed a heart (jack from West, trying to help declarer miscount the suit) and led the 6 towards dummy.

 If declarer held king-third of clubs, putting in the
J would turn two defensive tricks into one. If declarer held ace-third, playing the jack might convince declarer to play low from dummy (essential if West had jack-ten-small and East the king). West would have to lead a club, allowing declarer to put in the nine, or concede a fatal ruff-and-discard. West felt that declarer would not play him for jack-ten-small in clubs because he might have led a club rather than a trump, and so followed low.

 Declarer, who had already seen two aces and two jacks on his left, thought West might have doubled 1
for takeout with the king of clubs in addition. It also seemed from the carding that East had more clubs than West; declarer called for dummy's nine. East won the ten and returned a club, but declarer ran it to dummy's queen and made 4 in elegant fashion.

 That was a lot of work to halve the board; West found the unfortunate lead of the
J at the other table, allowing declarer to cover to secure a second natural club winner with the nine-eight equals against the ten.