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Condensing Loosers


South Deals
Both Vul
K Q 10 9 7
10 9 6
A K 5 4
K Q J 4 3
A Q 8 7 6 5 4
W   E
8 6 3
8 2
K J 10 2
J 10 9 8
A J 5 4 2
A 7 5
Q 6 3 2
Table One's auction
West North East South
2 1 4 2 Pass 4 
5 3 Pass4 Pass Dbl5
Pass Pass Pass  
  1. Michaels, showing five hearts and five (+) cards in an unspecified minor.
  2. Splinter bid, showing a singleton/void diamond and a game+ raise in spades.
  3. Can hardly sell out with his 5-7 shape.
  4. Wants to bid 5S, but, having described his hand can leave the dcision to partner.
  5. A singleton facing a singleton is bad news for declaring - no diamond ruffs. Whether 5D goes down is another matter, but southdoes have two aces facing a parthner who has advertised strength

The most common score on our featured board from an ARBC Duplicate was E-W +750 (as at Table One): 5  doubled making 11 tricks. There is no defence. North can cash the  A and (say) switch to  K. Declarer (West) ruffs, draws trumps and forces out the  A. 

Table Two's Auction

West North East South
2  4  Pass 4 
5  5 1 6  Pass
Pass 6 2 Pass Pass
Dbl3 Pass Pass Pass
  1. Despite "Five is for the other side"
  2. All North's high cards are black, (almost) all West's cards are red.
  3. North-South clearly don't think they can make 6S - or they'd have bid it earlier.

North misjudged by going onto 6  over 6  (down one), his side would still earn a near-top score if his partner could escape for down two. With mirror shapes and a slow club loser, it looks as though declarer has four losers: two hearts, a diamond and a club. Or does he?

Declarer ducked West's  K lead and won the  J continuation with the  A. He drew trumps in three rounds (West with a void), then tested clubs, cashing three rounds (West with a singleton) leaving East with a fourth-round master. He played a fourth trump to pass the time of day (and also to reach the irresistible and unusual position of holding one card in each suit in both his hand and dummy's).

At trick 10 declarer exited with a diamond. If West won, he could cash the  J, but his then forced red-suit lead would enable declarer to ruff in one hand and discard the club loser from the other. Whilst if East won the diamond, he could cash a club, but his then forced diamond would enable declarer to ruff in one hand and discard a heart from the other. Declarer had condensed four losers into three, escaped for -500 and emerged with a near top.


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