Just Duck to Save Your Father by Nikola Tcholakov, Sofia (BUL)

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Recently I watched on BBO an interesting board involving some very good Bulgarian players. South was Mr. Christo Drumev (BBO Drumev) – World Senior Pairs Champion 2002 in Montreal

Nikola Tcholakov
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Sofia, August 30, 2016

Recently I watched on BBO an interesting board involving some very good Bulgarian players. South was Mr. Christo Drumev (BBO Drumev) – World Senior Pairs Champion 2002 in Montreal, well known in bridge circles in Europe, long time chairman of Bulgarian Bridge Federation, but quite new in BBO.

North was Mr. Liudmil Iliev (BBO LusiVid) from the town of Vidin, who is very active in bridge activities and teaches bridge to youngsters.

West was Mr. Tenyu Tenev (BBO Tenyu) from Haskovo, member of the Executive Board of Bulgarian Bridge Federation and coach of the Bulgarian Senior Team in Chennai for the World Championship last year.

Gergana Teneva

Gergana Teneva

And finally East – the cherry of the cake – was Ms Gergana Teneva (BBO Gerry1010) – his daughter, who at age 16 is the current National Mixed Pairs Champion partnered by her father.

The bidding was simple – 1 Heart by W (both in red), two passes and after some sophisticated bidding by North and South Mr. Drumev lands at 3 NT. West has no attractive lead and tries exploratory diamonds – winning trick one.

A second diamond – winning again. However the situation becomes very suspicious and Mr. Tenev switches to club Q – all other play low, declarer carefully throws club nine. West continues with club J and Gergana ducks again.

Now Mr. Drumev is helpless and soon gives up. He easily develops a club trick in dummy but it is not enough – one down.

 A J 8 5 4 3
 6 2
 3
 10 8 7 6
 Q 9
 K 10 8 4 3
 K Q J
 Q J 5
   10 7 6 2
 J 9 5
 9 7 6
 A 4 2
   K
 A Q 7
 A 10 8 5 4 2
 K 9 3

Consider what might happen if Gergana took her Ace without delay. If she continues hearts or clubs what seems quite natural, her father will be squeezed in three suits and finally end-played.

The only way for the defense to survive at this crucial moment is Gergana after the A to switch to spades to kill the only entry to dummy. Declarer might throw-in West at the end but this will produce the eight trick only. Not easy to see this spade switch after the A.

Suppose that Gergana ducks the first club but takes the second one. Now Mr. Drumev will jettison the king obtaining a new entry to dummy and easy nine tricks even if East plays a third club to leave spades blocked. West will be soon squeezed in majors.

You may say that West should have played small club at any time. This might help but the defense still must be on the alert. Let’s see what might happen if Mr. Tenev selects club five after the diamonds. East will take her ace and might continue clubs. Declarer will cash all diamonds arriving on this position:

 A J
 6

 10 8
 Q 9
 K 10

 Q
   10
 J 9 5

 4
   K
 A Q 7

 3

Now a club to West and declarer claims nine tricks squeezing West in majors.

Therefore after the A East should attack hearts to remove that vital reentry to declarer’s hand in the ending. A spade switch instead of hearts after the Ace of clubs is also fine, cutting at once declarer’s communications with dummy.

Now you see how simply Gergana managed the situation ducking clubs twice and avoiding any complications in defense. Watch her carefully on BBO.

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