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Becker Bridge Give and take

Today’s hand features brilliant play by Billy Eisenberg, for many years one of America’s top players. He set himself a very difficult task when he bid six clubs with virtually no encouragement from North.

West led the king of hearts followed by the queen, East playing high-low to show a doubleton. This verified the evidence from the bidding that West began with seven hearts. Eisenberg ruffed the second heart and drew trumps, noting that West started with three clubs.

Since West could hold no more than three cards in spades and diamonds, it was very likely that East had four or five spades, which in turn made him a favorite to hold both the king and ten. Eisenberg therefore decided to finesse against East for both of those cards, but it was not quite as easy as that.

The problem was insufficient entries to dummy. If, for example, declarer cashed the A-Q-K-J of diamonds, discarding a spade on the last diamond, only one spade finesse could be taken. Alternatively, if he overtook the queen of diamonds with the king in order to take two spade finesses, dummy’s last diamond would not be good, saddling South with a spade loser at the end.

Eisenberg found a neat solution to this dilemma. After drawing trumps, he led the queen of diamonds to the king. The jack of spades was covered by the king and ace, whereupon declarer cashed his last trump.

The trick that Eisenberg had given away by overtaking the queen of diamonds now returned. On the trump lead, East had to discard from the [S] 10 5 4 and [D] 10 8 5. A diamond discard would set up dummy’s last diamond, after which just one more spade finesse would suffice. And if East discarded a spade instead, Eisenberg’s fourth spade would be good after the spade finesse was repeated. Either way, the slam was home.

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 12 tables in play Jan. 15.

North-South, overall winners: James Hastings-John Sedgwick, 67.92; Roger Webb-Leo Sartori, 61.49; Evalyn Glickman-Roger Miller, 52.62; Paul Bacon-Muriel Dane, 52.57; Strata B: Marlene Myers-Maxine Cechvala, 47.18; Strata C: Marlene Myers-Maxine Cechvala, 47.18;

East-West, overall winners: Evelyn Chesky-George Griffin, 60.66; Eva Cashdan-Sheldon Cashdan, 57.46; Timothy Joder-Markus Wagner, 55.33; Barry LaFlam-Richard McClure, 53.31; Don Weld-Paul Laliberte, 51.27; Strata B: Evelyn Chesky-George Griffin, 60.66; Strata C: Barry LaFlam-Richard McClure, 53.31

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