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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

TSee if you can make 5H, with South dealing, E-W vulnerable, and this very competitive bidding:

West leads the king of diamonds, which holds, and follows it with a spade to dummy’s queen and East’s ace. East switches to a club, won by South’s ace. Imagine you are sitting South. What is your plan to make the contract from here? You have a lot of low cards in both hands to deal with. If you start by taking out two rounds of trumps, you will go down, because you will be left with only three trumps in each hand. To set up your hand, you need to ruff four rounds of diamonds on board, so you will end up losing a diamond trick. Alternatively, to set up board, you will need to ruff three rounds of clubs and one round of spades—again you need four trumps. If you try to set up your hand, you might get over ruffed in diamonds, since the bidding tells you that East is short and you do not know who has the missing ten of hearts. So, you are better off trying to set up board.
To do this, lead to dummy’s king of spades. Then lead a club from dummy and ruff it. Now cross back to dummy by ruffing a diamond low—all is well since East follows. Now ruff another club and lead another diamond. This time you ruff with the jack and lead dummy’s last club. You ruff this with the queen and lead a low trump to the ten (you are very pleased to see this fall!) and king. Now, you ruff dummy’s last spade with the ace of trumps in hand. Dummy is left with the two master trumps and takes the last two tricks, for a tricky doubled contract made. If this was your plan, take 650 points (duplicate scoring).
However, you should really thank your opponents for a poor defence. An opening trump lead, followed by East leading another trump when he gets in with the ace of spades, dooms you. You will not have enough trumps left to do the cross-ruff. Trump leads often work well when the other side is sacrificing.
I would like to hear from readers about their favourite hands—please do contact me at [email protected] Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For information on the Club go to the web site

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Bridge in Paradise