Book a Course

View all the latest courses going on at the bridge club and book yours now...
View Courses View Playing Schedule

Monte Carlo or bust?

After qualifying for the knockout stages [of the last World Championships for the Bermuda Bowl] by finishing 6th (out of 22) in the round-robin, the English Open Team drew the powerful Monaco squad in the quarterfinals. Sad to report, we lost. I certainly won’t blame bad luck, for we made too many costly mistakes. However there were a few moments where Lady Luck deserted us – take this marginal slam.

Board Teams
South Deals
None Vul
K 10 9 7
A Q 6 5 3
A Q 4
K Q 10 9
6 5 4 3
J 9 2
10 6
W   E
A 8 6 5
K 10 8 4
J 9 8 2
7 4 3 2
A Q J 8
K 7 5 3
West North East South
  Forrester Andrew  
Pass 1  Pass 1 
Pass 3 1 Pass 4 N2
5 3 Pass 6  Pass
Pass Pass    
  1. Splinter bid, showing a raise to 4with a singleton (void) spade.
  2. Four small cards is almost the best holding to have facing a splinter: just one loser and three ruffing tricks. South launches into Roman Key Card Blackwood.
  3. Zero or three “aces” (K counts as an ace).

West (irritatingly) led a trump and the tall declarer surveyed his chances. Say I crossed to the ace of diamonds, ruffed a diamond, crossed to the queen of clubs and ruffed a third diamond. Probably no king of diamonds would have appeared (in the longer length). If I then crossed to the ace of clubs and ruffed the fourth diamond with my last trump, how would I cross to dummy to draw trumps and enjoy the long diamond? I couldn’t – the player without the king of diamonds would throw a club on the fourth diamond, his partner would then win the spade and give a club ruff.

So perhaps I should take the diamond finesse. But I was loath to go down at trick two (by seeing a diamond to the queen lose to the king).

I reverted to the first plan and sought an improvement. Aha! The penny dropped. Cross to the ace of diamonds, ruff a diamond, cross to the queen of clubs and ruff a diamond. If both opponents have followed to three diamonds but no king appeared, I now make the small change to my original plan of cashing the king of clubs before leading to dummy’s ace (key play).

If clubs split 3-3, I can now ruff a fourth diamond (with my last trump) and lead the long club throwing dummy’s spade. I succeed even on 4-1 trumps, as I must score the last four tricks in dummy withthe three trumps and the fifth diamond). I’ll make my slam if either the king of diamonds is trebleton or clubs are 3-3. (And experts love either-or lines of play).

Very disappointingly, though, after cashing the king of clubs and leading a third club to dummy, West ruffed. He led a second trump and I was soon conceding down two. There had been no way to win.

ARBC: 31 Parsons Green Lane, London SW6 4HH
Call NOW: 0207 471 4626