Unwanted Extra Baggage

David Bird
David Bird

The Teams began last night and I saw plenty of interesting deals while commentating on Bridge Base Online. We will start with a slam.
Board 12 Dealer W NS vul.


K Q J 6 5
8 6
K J 10 4 2

10 9 2
9 5 2
10 4
Q 9 8 7 3


A 8 4 3
10 7 4
K J 9 3 2


A K Q J 3
A 8 7 6 5
A 5


West North East South
Sveindal Pauly Malinowski Wrobel
  1 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 3
Pass 3 Pass 4NT
Pass 5 Pass 6
The End      

Norway’s Jon Sveindal led a club and dummy’s 10 drew the 6 from East. How would you play the slam?
Fred Wrobel, from Germany, saw immediately that he should overtake with the A, to preserve the entry to dummy (he could still finesse theJ if he needed an extra club trick). With this vital move behind him, he played a spade to the king and ace. He won the trump return, cashed the A and ruffed a diamond with dummy’s last trump. A spade ruff to his hand allowed him to draw trumps.
Three diamond discards were now required, so declarer must either finesse the J or play for spades to be 4-3. Both lines win and in fact Wrobel relied on the spade suit. +1430.

At the other table South stopped in 5. Again a club was led but this time declarer was led astray by the ‘extra baggage’ in the club suit. The 10 won the first trick and the K went to East’s ace. Declarer won the K return, ruffed a diamond and attempted to return to hand with a club. East struck with a trump and returned another trump to kill the dummy. The contract was two down for a swing of 17 IMPs. If the J10 of clubs had been low cards, it would be easy to see 11 tricks: five trumps, two spades, two clubs, the A and a diamond ruff.

In the lobby, while enjoying a beer after the session, I heard of a wonderful defence (to a less than wonderful contract). Look at this deal: Board 23 Dealer S NS vul.


K 10 2
K 10 9
A Q 10 9 6 3

8 4
K J 8 3
8 7 5 4 2
5 4


Q 7 6 5
10 6
A J 6 3
8 7 2


A J 9 3
A Q 9 5 4 2

West North East South
Pass 1* Pass 3
Pass 3NT Pass 4
Pass 4 The End  

In another match, Carlos Luiz and Nuno Paz (for the current leaders, the Dream Team) bid and made 6 on the NS cards. Here the winners of the Pairs ended in the unlikely contract of 4 by North. 1 had been explained as ‘could be three spades’.
Martin Shifko cashed the A and switched to a heart. Declarer won with the A and played a trump to the 10. Giving the matter no apparent thought, Shifko allowed this card to win!
Gromoeller continued with the king and ace of trumps, no doubt raising at least one eyebrow when West showed out. He could not avoid the subsequent loss of one trump and two hearts and went one down.
As you see, all would be easy if East won the first round of trumps with the queen. Declarer could ruff the next heart, draw trumps and enjoy the club suit. It was a brilliant defence.