• eBulletins

Minor mayhem

Posted by Rakesh Kumar on Saturday, 1 November 2014 at 09:42

As usual, the last round served up some swingy and interesting hands (how can the computer tell?) which on this occasion included two involving minor suits. Well, the first hand (board 15) could have involved a minor suit contract, but mostly it didn't.

By far the most common contract played (at 26 tables) was 3NT, making 10 or 11 tricks. However, several Easts played in 1 or 2 doubled, which mostly turned out to be a cheap sacrifice against the glacially cold game. However, there was a slam lurking in there. Playing a strong club system, we reached 6 after I opened 2 (either just hearts or hearts + minor) and partner inquired. This turned out to be an exciting contract -- on a spade lead by West, taken with the Ace, the play went A, spade ruff, K, ouch! The last losing spade can't be ruffed as South's remaining trump is needed to take the club finesse, so the only remaining hope is to discard a losing spade on the K, which will work if the ace is onside -- it was! Only 5 pairs succeeded in this contract -- that included 2 among the 8 teams finishing at the top of the ladder.

There was a whole lot more action around a minor suit contract on the other hand (board 19) which is cold for 4 but was only played in that contract once!

East of course backed in with 5. Sometimes NS continued on to 5, which can't make, but in the light of what happened a lot of the time, bidding on may have been good insurance. Frequently, the 5 contract got doubled, and this was when the fun started! My defence began K, K asking for count, and then I played another heart. George Bilski ruffed and played off a whole lot of trumps. With 4 cards left in each hand, the position was:

The last diamond is deadly. South has to keep the K, so pitches a club. Dummy's Q has done its job, so it can be discarded. North has to keep the J, so must also discard a club. Declarer's 11th trick is the 7, which doesn't quite qualify as a beer card. It's very difficult for South not to transfer the guard for declarer: in fact if I could work out to unguard the QJ2 and hang on to a high heart, partner can throw his hearts and guard the clubs. Squeeze-destroying defences include leading and continuing hearts, then playing a third round when in with the A, or switching to a club at trick 3. A lot of defenders didn't manage to find either of those, so 17 declarers made 5, 12 doubled and one with an overtrick (?), while exactly as many went down in diamond contracts.