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Benefits of hindsight

Some years ago in the prestigious Sunday Times-Macallan Invitational event, all dressed up in our DJs and watched by a thronging mass, Zia Mahmood and I went down seven in 1 NT doubled [yes, that’s no tricks!]. So I was most interested to hear of an identical scenario from reader Allan Luckin (his luck was definitely in – sitting West).


South Deals
None Vul
8 6 3
Q 7 4
J 10 9 3
9 6 4
A K Q 9
K 5 3
A Q 10 3 2
W   E
5 4 2
A J 10 8
7 4 2
8 7 5
J 10 7
9 6 2
A K Q 6 5
West North East South
      1 NT1
Dbl2 Pass3 Pass Pass4
  1. One of the best 12-14 point Weak Notrumps you’ll see, with its trick source in diamonds. The hand was not to live up its promise...
  2. Penalties: 16+ points any shape.
  3. Nowhere to go.
  4. Should South take this gamble – wide open in both majors? Retiring gracefully to 2would seem a sager (certainly safer) ploy but, as Allan says, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Had West begun with the fourth from the top of his longest suit v 1 NT doubled, a small club, a grateful declarer would scoop up the trick and promptly cash five diamonds to escape with a mere down one. A club lead would be major folly, however, as West can cash a top spade, have a look and keep all his options open.

After cashing the ace of spades West followed with the king-queen and, when all followed (honest suit), he tabled the lucky thirteenth. East discarded a throwlow-means-no club (retaining all his hearts) and West, realising from dummy’s relatively strong diamonds that hearts was what partner desired, switched brightly to the king of hearts.

The king of hearts won the trick and West followed with the five, East beating the queen with the ace then cashing the jack-ten. Away went West’s diamond, admittedly the eight but East realised that if West did not want a club, he would have thrown a low club away.

At trick nine East correctly led the eight of clubs and West could beat declarer’s jack with the queen, cash the ace felling a forlorn declarer’s king and follow with the ten and the two long cards. All 13 tricks for the defence and the hapless declarer had lost 1700 points [at least he wasn’t vulnerable – unlike Zia and I who lost 2000 points for our pains].

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