Many contracts fail because of an unlucky lie of the cards, but some of them can be salvaged by careful play. Assume you’re declarer at four hearts and West leads a diamond.
You should feel confident of making the contract, since the only thing that can beat you is the highly unlikely possibility that West has all three missing trumps and that East has the ace of spades. The odds against both occurring in the same deal are about 15-to-1. However, when you win the diamond lead with the queen and play a trump to the ace, East shows out, and your 15-to-1 odds drop enormously.
In fact, it now seems certain you will go down one if West has the ace of spades. But when you consider the matter more carefully, you realize there’s a good chance of making the contract even if East has the spade ace.
So you continue with the king of trumps, then cash the A-K of clubs and ruff a club. Next you overtake the king of diamonds with dummy’s ace and lead the nine of clubs. When East produces the queen, you heave a huge sigh of relief as well as a spade.
This is the first trick for the defense, and you are now sure to make the contract. East has to return either a spade or a diamond. In the former case, dummy’s king becomes a trick; in the latter, you’ll discard another spade from your hand as you ruff in dummy.
The outcome demonstrates how good play can sometimes overcome bad luck — provided you keep a cool head when things go wrong.
Bridge club results
The Northampton Bridge Club welcomes anyone who wishes to play duplicate bridge. Open pairs game: 7 p.m. every Tuesday at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, 1 Atwood Drive, Northampton. The club manager is available at 253-3508 to assist players in need of partners. The club’s website is www.northamptonbridgeclub.com.
There were 11 tables in play Sept. 17.
North-South, overall winners: Leo Sartori-Timothy Joder, 68.06; Evalyn Glickman-Roger Miller, 55.79; Muriel Dane-Paul Bacon, 54.17; Barbara Jackson-Liz Hildebrandt, 51.85; Arthur Franz-Richard Gauthier, 50.46; Strata B: Barbara Jackson-Liz Hildebrandt, 51.85; Strata C: Fran Becker-Mike Becker, 44.91;
East-West, overall winners: Sheila Ryan-Marilyn Schmidt, 60.88; Robert Sagor-James Osofsky, 60.88; George Griffin-Evelyn Chesky, 58.80; Sonja Smith-David Rock, 57.87; James Hastings-John Sedgwick, 56.48; Eva Cashdan-Sheldon Cashdan, 51.62; Strata B: Sheila Ryan-Marilyn Schmidt, 60.88; Strata C: Michael Ramella-Sharon Strassfeld, 45.60;