When a rubber bridge player moves to duplicate bridge, one of most difficult transitions is to fully understand the matchpoint scoring used in pairs events. Making or defeating the contract may no longer be your goal, rather you must strive to achieve the maximum result. See how you would have done with this hand.

Finding the Overtricks

East-West vulnerable at matchpoints.

Dlr N
Vul E-W
West North East South
--- 1 pass 3NT
The End

BIDDING: I was South and by partnership agreement, my bid of 3NT showed 16-18 high card points, three spades, and a balanced hand. North passed hoping there would be the same number of tricks available in the higher scoring no-trump game.

PLAY: West led the eight of clubs and using [ilink url=»»]the rule of eleven[/ilink] , I knew East had no higher card.

Analyzing the hand, I saw those in 4 would lose one heart, one diamond, and one or two clubs. So my goal was to ensure nine tricks and hope for ten.

I won with the ten in dummy and led the top two spades. Now that the spades were behaving, I led a diamond to my queen. I next led a heart to dummy’s queen losing to the ace.

I won the ten of hearts return with my king noting the fall of the jack on my left. I now ran the rest of the spades pitching two clubs from my hand. I was confidant East had come down to two hearts along with king and another diamond.

I led a club to my ace and after East pitched a heart, I threw him into the lead with my last heart. He had to return a diamond to dummy’s jack and I had eleven tricks.

Most pairs were in 4 making ten tricks so merely making my contract would have resulted in a poor score.

At matchpoints, always evaluate your contract before you play to the first trick.