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Winning a game with Andrew

Winner of my Club’s thrice annual Top Ten Trophy (average of the best 10 duplicate percentages) has a game with your columnist (second place has two games...). Recently it was the turn of Denis Bennett – Denis played a blinder – take this deal.  

East Deals
Both Vul
♠ J 9 6 3
Q 9 5
♣ 10 9 5 4 2
♠ A Q 10 8 5 4
10 7 6 2
4 3
♣ Q
West   East
♠ 7 2
A Q J 9 4
K J 10 8 2
♣ A
  ♠ K
8 5 3
A 7 6
♣ K J 8 7 6 3

West North East South
  Andrew   Denis
    1 2 ♣
4 1 5 ♣2 Pass3 Pass
Dbl4 All pas

(1) Seven Losing Tricks.

(2) My friend Michael Rosenberg, New Yorker originally from Scotland and one of the finest players in the world, has simple advice on the subject of sacrificing at Matchpoint Pairs. “Don’t”. The reasons: a sacrifice will only be profitable when both you are cheap against the opposing game and the opposing game is making; even then , you will not score well unless other pairs holding the opposing cards are bidding the game. Your tall columnist dubiously contravened Michael’s sage words in the hope of pushing E-W to 5 . [Not that this would have achieved anything – E-W can make 6 with the aid of a couple of finesses].

(3) Might (probably should) bid on to 5 (with the good five-loser hand), but the dreaded Five-over-Five is not often winning bridge. Second choice would be double, pass being rather supine.

(4) Does well to double, given the skimpy values for the earlier jump to 4 .

The Play:

West led a high-for-hate seven of hearts v 5 ♣ doubled. Denis politely thanked me for my meagre assets (half my points being the useless king of the opposing hearts). He whispered to himself “nine”, the number of tricks he needed to render 5 ♣ doubled a good sacrifice (-500) v the opposing vulnerable game. East won the ace of hearts and at trick two switched to the seven of spades, declarer’s king losing to West’s ace. At trick three West found the best switch to the four of diamonds, but declarer showed excellent technique to escape for down two. He played low from dummy, beating East’s eight with the ace. He ruffed a heart, ruffed a second spade (removing East’s other spade), ruffed his last heart (eliminating the suit), and only then led a trump from dummy.

East won the bare ace of trumps but was endplayed. A heart would enable declarer to discard a diamond from hand and ruff in dummy. East’s actual choice was to cash the king of diamonds – promoting dummy’s queen. Down two and +500. East was left wishing that the singleton ace of trumps had left the hand at trick two, rendering the endplay impossible..

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