Safety First by Eric Kokish

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At teams competitions using IMP scoring there is a high premium for making or defeating a contract. At duplicate bridge using MP…

Eric Kokish
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These series of article were written by Eric Kokish and his wife Beverly Kraft

Beverly Kraft

Beverly Kraft

At rubber bridge or teams competitions using International Match Point (IMP) scoring (a scale is used to convert total point differences on each deal) there is a high premium for making or defeating a contract. At duplicate bridge using matchpoint or point-a-board scoring there is a much greater emphasis on overtricks, undertricks, and small total-point differences.
 
  Today’s deal was played in a head-on teams match. Cover the East-West hands before continuing.
 
 Neither side vulnerable South dealsNadie vulnerable Sur dador

K Q 10 4
9
A J 6
Q 10 8 6 3
 
A J 5 3 2
A J 5 4 3 2
3
J
       
Oeste Norte Este Sur
      1
Pass 2 3 3
Pass 4 Pass 4
Pass 5 The End  
   

 Opening Lead: K
 
After North moved toward slam both Souths played in 5
on the lead of the K, followed by a trump switch. At one table, declarer won the K, played the A, then cross-ruffed hearts and clubs until the hearts were established. He would have made his contract with an overtrick if either of the major suits had divided evenly. Unfortunately, he was stranded in dummy with four trumps left in play – the ace-jack in his hand and the 86 in West. He ruffed himself in and cashed the A, but with trumps three-one, he could score only the A in addition and so failed in his contract. Was South simply unlucky?
 
 Take the South seat at the other table and see if you can do better.
 
The best line is to win the trump switch in dummy and play the
A, heart ruff. Cross back to hand with a trump. When East discards on the second trump, you can still try for twelve tricks by ruffing a second heart. If hearts are three-three, ruff yourself in, draw the last trump and claim. When someone (here East) shows out on the third round of hearts, the overtrick is beyond your reach but you will still make your contract. Return to your hand by ruffing a club, and draw the last trump. Now concede a heart to West. You still have a trump left to reach the two established hearts.
 
The key to success on this deal is to realise that you need eleven tricks and not twelve. By refusing to shorten your trumps prematurely and by conceding a heart trick, you keep control and ensure your contract.

 

K Q 10 4
9
A J 6
Q 10 8 6 3

 

9 8 6
K Q 10 6
9
A K 7 5 2

 

7
8 7
K Q 10 8 7 5 4 2
9 4

  A J 5 3 2
A J 5 4 3 2
3
J
 

 

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