xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40"> Mountnessing Bridge Club

Mountnessing Bridge Club



Board 13: Who wants a "par result"?



Hand played on 

14th June 2007

Board number 13

Red Section





Submitted by

Alaric Cundy


































































I suspect the bidding on this hand may have taken a different course had East deployed a 2-suited overcall, such as the Michaels style.   As things transpired, South faced a minor bidding dilemma on the first round.  Purely based on high card points, 2 is the obvious call, but on 'loser count' this is superficially an 8-loser hand, which therefore warrants a 3 bid.   However, with most of the key features in this hand in the enemy suit, and with poor controls, South scaled back to 2, and was rather happy to hear the 3  bid from West!  North now has a difficult judgement.  On high card points, 3 looks right, but with super-excellent controls, on loser count the hand is worth 'extra values', which could have been shown via a competitive double.  South pushed on to 4, mainly in the hope that East / West would try 5 ...


It looks as though success in this contract depends on a defensive slip.  East chose to lead a club, and Declarer realised that the only real hope for this contract was to trump minor suit losers in Dummy.  The opening lead was won in Dummy, and a diamond was played to the Ace, followed by a diamond towards Dummy.  Perhaps hoping to make both of his trumps, East ruffed, and led another club.  Now Declarer made the key play of laying down the Ace of trumps, felling East's by now singleton King, but leaving the Jack outstanding.  Declarer was now able to ruff three times in Dummy, and though one of them was over-ruffed, the losers came down to two trumps and a residual club at trick 13, to give North / South a score of +620.  


In 4, Declarer can increase his / her chances of cajoling the defence into an error by a slightly different line of play, after a club lead.  Declarer wins in Dummy, and immediately plays a heart and ruffs in hand.  Now the play follows the previous line, with Ace and a small diamond, won by West, who leads the small trump, which Declarer wins with the Ace.  The Ace of clubs is played, followed by a club towards Dummy, which is ruffed in Dummy and over-ruffed by West's Jack.  By now West has only red cards left - two hearts and four diamonds, and East will hold three hearts, two clubs, and the master trump.  West should lead a diamond and East MUST resist the temptation to ruff in front of dummy and should instead discard a heart.  [If East does ruff, in effect Declarer is presented with a free 'loser on loser' play, and will eventually assemble the three top minor cards, the Ace of trumps, plus two ruffs in Dummy and four heart ruffs in hand - that's ten tricks in total!]  Assuming East allows Dummy to win, another heart is led and trumped in hand. By this stage Declarer has won three top minor cards, the Ace of Trumps, one ruff in Dummy, and two in hand - that is seven in total.  Declarer has two trumps left in hand and one in Dummy, and needs to make all three of them.  The last club is led towards Dummy and ruffed.  Another heart from Dummy is ruffed for the ninth trick.  By now it is trick 12, and Declarer is down to a trump and a losing diamond, East has the winning trump and a winning side-suit card, and West has two winning diamonds.  All East now has to do is to refrain from ruffing Declarer's diamond again, and the defenders will take the last two tricks for one off .


Wind the clock back to the point where West over-ruffed with the Jack of spades and faced the choice of a heart or diamond to lead back.  Supposing a heart is led instead of the diamond.  Such a play gives Declarer tempo.  Declarer ruffs in hand and plays the last club to table and ruffs.  Another heart is is ruffed (dropping West's Ace en route), and then a diamond is led to table.  As before, East must resist the temptation to ruff but rather discard a heart. Declarer ruffs yet another heart in hand, and can lead the last diamond and ruff it in Dummy.  If East discards the last heart, Dummy's queen will be good, with the trump entry to it; if East ruffs then the 'loser on loser' effect is generated again, if East discards the club then Declarer can ruff a fourth heart in hand without being over-ruffed.  


That's all very complicated - but what it adds up to saying is that the Defence needs to be fully alert to beat this unlikely looking contract, with chances for both East and West to make crucial errors.


Those North / Souths who subsided in the optimum contract of 3 - which with optimum Declarer play and optimum defence makes exactly for a score of +140 - may felt aggrieved to discover that their "par result" earned them just 5 match points out of 22.  In total, three Declarers got home in 4, but three other North / South pairs had an even more memorable experience as East / West stretched too far in hearts.  Twice 5 doubled failed by four tricks, and once 4 doubled also failed by 4 tricks, yielding three scores of 1400 to North / South.