This is not the most swashbuckling auction ever to appear in Bridge Bites, but the deal does provide a test for Declarer’s powers of deduction. Cover up the E-W hands if you would like to test your own powers.
West leads the J♣ won by East’s Ace, and it takes half a nanosecond for East to find the Q♥ shift. You could duck Hearts twice, hoping that West has the doubleton A♥, but that would give East five Hearts, and he would be unlikely to sell out to 1♠ in that case. So, you hopefully play the K♥, taken by West’s Ace. Two more Hearts are won by East’s JT♥, then a Club, which you win. The A♠ and K♠ are cashed, followed by the J♠ to East’s Queen (West following).
Back comes East’s last trump, and decision time has arrived! You’ve already lost five tricks, and must avoid the loss of two Diamonds if you are to make your contract. A Diamond to the Jack? Or a Diamond to the King? Do you have your guessing shoes on?
Guess? What guess? Let’s reflect upon East’s bidding. Oh, that’s right, he didn’t bid — which is the whole point of this hand. So far, East has shown up with A♣, QJ♥ and Q♠. That’s nine high-card points (HCP). Can East also have the A♦? Absolutely not! He passed originally; that A♦ would give him 13 HCP and too much for said pass. So, you lead a Diamond toward the board, West smoothly plays low, and you rise majestically with the K♦, making seven tricks thanks to a little deduction.
Post Script: Upon winning the A♥, West would have done better to shift fiendishly to a low Diamond, putting Declarer to the test in that suit before all the clues had been collected!
Visit www.acbl.org for more about the game of bridge or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Brian Howard, owner/director of the Bridge Center of Bradenton, at 795-8981.
Click here to view this week's bridge page.