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Bridge Puzzle

2.7.2015

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 June, 2015, 3:20pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 02 July, 2015, 9:37am

Opening lead: jack of clubs

In nearly all hands, a good defensive player starts out by assuming that the contract can somehow be defeated. This assumption often turns out to be untrue, but that doesn’t prove the approach was wrong. All it means is that what the defender hoped for didn’t pan out — which is entirely different from giving up at the start on the erroneous assumption that the contract is unbeatable.

Consider this case where East is defending against four spades and wins the opening club lead with the ace. From East’s viewpoint, it seems highly unlikely that the defence can score four tricks. However, he does not allow this to colour his thinking.

Instead, East tries to picture what kind of hand his partner must have for the contract to be defeated. Eventually, it becomes clear that he must credit West with the ace of diamonds, as well as either the ace or king of spades. Both of these holdings are possible on the bidding, and East tailors his defence accordingly.

At trick two, he shifts to the nine of diamonds, and from then on, declarer is a dead duck. West wins with the ace and returns a diamond, hoping East’s nine was a singleton, which would quickly put an end to South’s chances.

This hope does not materialise when East follows suit with the deuce, but declarer is doomed anyway. Whether South elects to take a trump finesse or forgo it, as soon as West gains the lead with the king of trumps, he returns another diamond, and East’s ruff sinks the contract.

For details about local bridge events, go to the HK Contract Bridge Association website www.hkcba.org

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