Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

An Interesting Deal From the Swiss

I was commenting today on the European Open Teams, At the moment they are playing a Swiss to qualify for a knockout phase. Ten fast and furious boards. This deal was particularly interesting in the match between Lara and Texan Aces. FIrst sit in the West set for the Aces. You hold:

West: Sunderram


Everyone is white and there are two passes to you. You start the excitement with a modest 1 . North bids 2 which shows the majors and your partner bids 3 . On your right you hear 3 . Your call? You decide reasonably to take a shot at 3NT. But North-South are not done yet. North bids 4 and this is passed back to you. Your choice?

Sudderam bid 4NT meant as natural and played there.  There was some discussion about whether or not you can make four spades North-South and as it turns out they are down a trick.  But I like 4NT.  It is insurance and some times it makes.

Let’s switch seats.  You are sitting South and after this auction your partner leads the J.  This is what you see

East: Sridharan


South: Lara





Partner leads the diamond jack and declarer plays low.  What is your plan?

Now, we commentators are nice sorts.  We know how hard it is to be out there giving it your all. So when Lara South played low what I said was that overtaking with the J was a play that I would expect to make if I was “at the table”. Yes, I can slop it up some times and play low but if I am concentrating I won’t make that mistake. It does seem obvious now doesn’t it. (Sorry, Lara). She ducked. Declarer ducked this diamond and won the second diamond. 4NT is now cold. Here is the whole hand:

On a spade lead there are ten tricks so North did well to lead a diamond. After declarer and Lara ducked the first diamond and declarer won the second. Declarer finesses hearts twice the second one covered and plays clubs. Capucho (North) has to make three pitches to start. The best approach is to throw spades. We arrive at this point:



West East
K10 6
void Q6
105 9
105 87

South continues clubs ending in dummy.  If at any time North throws a heart then South throws North in on the last heart to play a spade to West for the tenth trick.  If North stiff the spade ace instead  declarer plays the spade six from dummy ducking as North wins.North perforce returns a heart won in dummy.  Now declarer can force a hand entry by leading a diamond off dummy.  If South wins she has to give West her hand with a diamond or a spade.  If South ducks then the diamond nine is declarer’s tenth trick.  A rather pretty ending and easier to read (from the bidding and play) then most.  At the table declarer threw hearts early on which made the end play quite easy.

So South was punished big time for ducking that first diamond.

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