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   Nov. 08/99






by Beverly Kraft -Eric Kokish

 The Bridge World, which last month celebrated its seventieth anniversary as a monthly magazine, has provided a chronicle of the evolution of contract bridge almost from the game's beginnings. During the past year, it has made major adjustments in format, increasing page and font size and adding content, mostly in a new section, Bridgeworks, aimed at players who wish to improve their technique and understanding of the game.

 This popular tutorial section disdains fancy plays and obscure coups in favour of an emphasis on fundamental ideas. Today's deal, from a recent issue, is a declarer-play exercise that stresses the importance of looking ahead, a principle that merits our constant attention.

North-South vulnerable South deals

  10 9 8
K 3
K Q J 2

7 6 5 4

A J 6 5
J 9 4 2
8 6

10 8 2

K 7 4 3 2
10 7
10 9 3

Q J 3

A Q 8 6 5
A 7 5 4

A K 9

West North East South
Pass 1NT Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 4
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 6 End  

 Opening Lead:

 How should declarer play his excellent slam (when South showed black-suit controls, North placed proper value on his excellent red cards) after the lead of the
6? Two spade ruffs in hand will bring declarer's total to 11 tricks: the ruffs, three hearts, four diamonds in dummy and two clubs. Then, assuming trumps break three-two, South can overcome a four-two heart break by setting up a long card with a ruff. If diamonds break four-one, however, the contract will depend on a three-three heart break, so the second spade ruff should then be avoided.

 To preserve entries for ruffing spades, declarer must make the key play at trick one by winning the trump lead in hand with the
A. Then play the Q, win the trump return in dummy (no alternative defence is better) and ruff a spade. Play the heart ace and cross to the king to ruff dummy's last spade. At this point declarer knows the diamonds are three-two and the hearts are no worse than four-two. Ruff a heart high, draw the last trump discarding the 9 and claim the rest.

 The important point is to picture the play before calling a card from dummy at trick one; "after that" may be too late.