Thursday, 1 September 2016

Double Trouble

I've not played much competitive bridge lately, but the school year has began so here's a hand from my school bridge club, where I got schooled.

♠ x x x x
♥ A K x x x
♦ x x
♣ x x
♠ K J x
♥ Q J T x x x
♦ K Q J 9
♣ -

Put yourself in South's seat. You deal and open 1♥, which partner raises to 2♥. That's good news, and is all you need to hear. East now comes in with 3♣ so you show your second suit with 3♦. By the time it comes back it's at the five level, but with a big trump fit and void in Clubs you have no problem bidding 5♥. This gets doubled.

The defence begins by trying to cash a Club, which you ruff. You draw trumps in two rounds (West had a void), then start on Diamonds. West wins the Ace and switches to Spades, East taking the ♠A. You have now lost two tricks and need the rest. East returns a Spade into your ♠KJ but you don't dare finesse, so play the ♠K.

At this point declarer played another round of trumps, then looked at his losing Spade and announced "I think I might be down one." He could see no way to get rid of the Spade loser in each hand. Then his friendly bridge teacher (sitting East and having made a very poor double) suggested he play a couple of Diamonds. Sure enough the ♦J won, away went one Spade in dummy, then the final Diamond was also by this stage a winner, so away went the last Spade in dummy. Declarer ruffed his losing Spade and claimed 5♥x. West couldn't understand why he wasn't getting a trick with his ♠Q.

It was a great teaching moment. The idea of making losers disappear is sophisticated and I think you need to see it happen to believe it.

I didn't mind that I'd doubled another making contract.