While it is true that some hands pretty much play themselves and require relatively little effort, others demand painstaking care for the best result to be attained.
Take this deal where West leads the king of clubs against six hearts. The first thing South does is to count his losing tricks. He sees that the only conceivable losers are a club and a diamond. The club loser is inevitable, so the only remaining problem is the potential diamond loser, which is a threat only if the missing diamonds are divided 4-1 or 5-0. He therefore focuses all his efforts on dealing with that possibility should it exist.
Careful thought provides the answer. After winning the opening trick, South draws three rounds of trumps, cashes the K-A of spades and ruffs dummy’s third spade. He then cashes the ace of diamonds and exits with a club, content that this play will make the slam, no matter how the diamonds are divided.
As the cards lie, if East wins the club, he is forced to return a spade or a club, thereby yielding a ruff-and-discard and the contract. If West wins the club, he is similarly hamstrung. He must either yield a ruff-and-discard or return a diamond, and whichever diamond he leads, declarer plays low from dummy and easily scores the rest of the tricks.
The outcome is the same if East wins the club and started with four diamonds. He must also yield the slam, regardless of what he does next.
The early preparation to cover all contingencies pays off in the end.
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 14 tables in play June 4.
North-South, overall winners: Myrna Butler-Muriel Dane, 57.67; Timothy Joder-Philippe Galaski, 57.25; Elinor Crandall-Michael Starr, 56.49; Edward Hougen-Arthur Franz, 55.96; Paul Bacon-John Sedgwick, 55.66; Steve Peck-Earl Waterman, 53.45; Fran Becker-Mike Becker, 50.39; Strata B: Myrna Butler-Muriel Dane, 57.67; Strata C: Fran Becker-Mike Becker, 50.39;
East-West, overall winners: Leo Sartori-James Osofsky, 65.24; Markus Wagner-Robert Sagor, 61.89; Sonja Smith-David Rock, 57.86; Esther Bean-Donald Abel, 54.98; Strata B: Markus Wagner-Robert Sagor, 61.89; Strata C: Sharon Strassfeld-Michael Ramella, 49.03