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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jun. 6, 2012 5 years ago

Bridge Bites: Fishing for clues

by: Brian Gunnell

As the play-of-the-hand develops, Declarer is constantly on the lookout for the clues, which will point to the right line of play. But, these clues don’t always come gift-wrapped; sometimes, Declarer must go fishing.

Against 6♥, West tries a Heart lead and Declarer draws trumps in two rounds. It’s a fine slam but not quite iron-clad. There’s a Spade to be lost, and the key to success is not to lose a Diamond. How would you play the hand, looking only at the N-S cards?

If Diamonds are 2-1, then Declarer is home free, but suppose that the suit is 3-0. Now, Declarer has a guess. If he thinks that West is more likely to hold three Diamonds, then he’ll play his K♦ on the first round, later finessing against West’s Queen if East does indeed show out. Conversely, he’ll play Dummy’s A♦ first if he suspects that East might have the three Diamonds. Which do you choose?

At this point, it’s a complete guess, so, before playing on Diamonds, Declarer goes fishing. He concedes a trick to the A♠, and let’s say that West returns a Club. Declarer ruffs that, then cashes Spades and reels in a whopper of a clue when East shows out on the third round! Ha! Now Declarer knows that East started with four cards in the majors and West with eight. The odds have changed dramatically. If one of the defenders has three Diamonds, it’s surely East. So, Declarer plays Dummy’s A♦ on the first round and says a silent “yippee!” when West shows out. That’s 12 tricks if Declarer delays the Diamond play and first looks for clues in the other suits.

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Contact Brian Howard, owner/director of the Bridge Center of Bradenton, at 795-8981.

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