On the horns of a dilemma
Sometimes declarer sees that the best chance for his contract lies in developing an end position where the opponents will be forced to yield a critical trick to him. In many of these situations, declarer should lay the groundwork early, long before the enemy realizes what is going on.
Consider this deal from a team match where at both tables South got to six hearts and West led a spade, taken by dummy’s king. Both declarers saw immediately that the outcome depended on avoiding two club losers.
At the first table, South led a club to the ace at trick two and then drew three rounds of trumps. He next cashed the K-A-Q of diamonds, discarding a club, led a spade to the ace and exited with a club.
This sequence of plays created an insoluble predicament for the defense. If West’s club queen held the trick, his forced diamond or spade return would permit South to discard his last club while ruffing in dummy. And if East instead overtook West’s queen with the king, dummy’s jack would become a trick. Either way, South was certain to make the slam.
At the second table, declarer adopted essentially the same method of play as his counterpart, but with one major difference: He first drew trumps, then cashed three diamonds and the spade ace before playing the ace of clubs. By this time, West knew a great deal about South’s hand and could clearly see the handwriting on the wall. But he also saw a way out. And so, when declarer cashed the club ace at trick nine, West dropped his queen on it!
East now could not be prevented from scoring two tricks with the king and ten of clubs, and South went down one. In the process, he learned that if you’re planning a surprise ending, it’s best not to reveal your intentions while developing the plot.
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 and 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 Feb. 5.
North-South, overall winners: Paul Bacon-John Sedgwick, 59.95; Roger Webb-Philippe Galaski, 56.94; Marilyn Schmidt-Sheila Ryan, 53.24; Marlene Myers-Maxine Cechvala, 52.31; Myrna Butler-Muriel Dane, 50.00; Strata B: Marilyn Schmidt-Sheila Ryan, 53.24; Strata C: Marlene Myers-Maxine Cechvala, 52.31;
East-West, overall winners: James Kaplan-Charles Jackson, 59.26; Eva Cashdan-Sheldon Cashdan, 59.26; Richard McClure-Barry LaFlam, 57.87; Susan McCoy-Lee Magee, 56.48; Strata B: Eva Cashdan-Sheldon Cashdan, 59.26; Strata C: Richard McClure-Barry LaFlam, 57.87