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  Nov. 04/99

 

JUST BRIDGE...

 

SLOW DRAW

 

BY Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 

 When each partner has a substantial share of the combined assets the partnership bidding tends to flow smoothly back and forth. Bidding is usually more difficult when one partner has a very strong hand and the other a very weak one. Then, one partner has much to say and insufficient time to say it while the other has nothing to say and is forced to say something. Today's auction is an example; 6 is an excellent contract (cold if trumps are 3-2; declarer plays ace-king of trumps, runs clubs to pitch a heart from dummy, then ruffs a heart) but difficult to reach even playing natural strong two-bids. Imagine the problems after an artificial 2 opening: 2-2; 3-?.

 Cover the East-West hands. How should South play to give his modest 5
contract the best chance on the lead of the K? How should declarer use his one entry to dummy?


 

 

South dealer Both vulnerable

  10 6 4 2
K 6 4
8 7 6

8 4 2

   
 
A J 7
A K J 10 5

A K Q J 10

West North East South
      2
Pass 2NT Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 4 Pass 5
fin      


Opening Lead:
K

 South ruffs the opening lead, and cashes the
AK, East discarding the 3. How does declarer "know" that the diamond finesse will not succeed? The short answer is that he doesn't, but he recognises that the diamond finesse would be the right play only when East holds precisely queen-third of the suit. The heart finesse would gain anytime East held the queen, no matter the length.

 The 4-1 trump break is a complication. Declarer dares not lead a third round of trumps because West would win his queen and continue spades, forcing out declarer's last trump while West still has one. When West ruffs a club, he would be able to cash enough spades to beat the contract.

 Instead, declarer must revert to an indirect method of drawing trumps by leading clubs. West ruffs the third club, cashes the
Q to stop a heart ruff in dummy and plays a spade. Declarer ruffs, runs the rest of the clubs, and then must avoid a heart loser. With the K still in dummy, he is able to lead a heart to the king and then finesse the jack to make his contract. The heart finesse was necessary after all.



 The four hands were:

  10 6 4 2
K 6 4
8 7 6

8 4 2

A K J 9
10 8 5
Q 4 3 2

7 6

Q 8 7 5 3
Q 9 3 2
9

9 5 3

 
A J 7
A K J 10 5

A K Q J 10