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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

This interesting hand was played in the 2007 World Championships in Shianghai (reported by Andrew Robson). North-South were vulnerable and South dealt:

Imagine you are sitting South. You have a very nice playing hand and North’s bid at the three level shows about ten or more points. What do you bid now? Do you settle for a safe 3N or take a risk and go 6D? At Table One at the World Championships South took the risk. The ace of spades was led, followed by a switch to a club. South won with the club ace, pulled trumps in two rounds and ruffed a spade to get to board. Then threw his black suit losers on dummy’s good hearts. An opening club lead is no better, because declarer can win, pull trumps, cross to the board with a third round of trumps and again throw black suit losers on dummy’s top hearts. Either way, “risky” slam made.
So, did you choose the safe 3N bid, like the South at Table Two? West led the nine of clubs, hoping his partner could win and lead a spade through declarer’s king. Declarer beat East’s queen with his ace and played two top diamonds. But now what to do? Declarer could cash seven diamonds now to go with the ace of clubs, but would have no way to get to board. Alternatively, declarer could cross to board with a third round of diamonds and cash the four top hearts, but then had no way of getting back to hand to cash the diamonds. Either way, declarer is limited to eight tricks. So, the “safe” contract goes down. Which did you choose?
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