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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

This bridge hand is another from Eddie Kantar, the well-known bridge author. He confessed that, many years ago, he played it in 6C and is ashamed to say that he went down. This is your chance to show him up. South dealt and NS were vulnerable. This was the bidding:3

North’s 2S bid is minor suit Stayman, just like regular Stayman except that you are asking for the no trump opener’s four card minor, rather than asking about a four card major. East’s double asks for a spade lead. West obediently led the ten of spades. Imagine you are sitting South. Even after looking at the diagram below you do not know the location of the queen of diamonds. What is your plan to make the contract no matter who has this queen?

From the bidding East must have the king of spades, so you go up with the ace. You start by eliminating hearts from hand and also pulling trumps. First lead a club to the king, dropping the queen. Cash the ace of hearts, throwing the two of spades from board. Now lead a low heart and ruff on board. A club to the ace draws the last of the opponents’ trumps. Lead another low heart and ruff. Lead a low diamond to get back to hand with the diamond king. Now lead your last heart and ruff it on board. This is how the hands look after four rounds of hearts, two rounds of trumps and one round each of spades and diamonds:

Finally, lead the queen of spades. East is forced to win and then has a choice of ways to give you the contract. A diamond lead into the ace jack gives you the two more diamond tricks you need, whoever has the queen. Any other lead allows you to sluff a diamond from hand and ruff on board. Twelve tricks bid and made. The key card is North’s queen of spades, which might appear useless being under the king, but which allows you to put East on lead at the end. Would your plan have made the contract?
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 website

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Bridge in Paradise