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Triumph & Tragedy

Triumph & Tragedy

By In 16th World Bridge Series On 24th August 2022

When the last deal of the McConnell semifinal between Tripolar and Edmonds settled on the table in the Closed Room the situation was clear: Edmonds, who has started the session trailing by 30 IMPs, had, despite missing several opportunities closed to within a single IMP.

Play had finished in the Open Room where Tripolar had bid and made 5Picche so if Edmonds could make 12 tricks, they would level the scores and, by virtue of having won the match between the teams in the Round Robin, advance to the final.

East led the Cuori7.
How do you play?

The first issue is how to tackle the trump suit? The odds play is to take two finesses, giving you a 76% chance of losing only one trick. However, entries to dummy are in short supply. If you take the opening lead in hand, cash the FioriA, ruff a club and take a losing spade finesse there are various layouts where 11 tricks will be the maximum.
Suppose you win the lead with dummy’s queen and play a spade to the ten?
East discards a heart!
You overtake the CuoriK with dummy’s ace and play a second spade, ducking when West plays an honour. You win the club return, overtake the QuadriQ and play the top diamonds pitching clubs. When the suit divides you play another diamond and West is helpless. If she discards your last club goes away and you can then play a spade. If West ruffs you overruff, ruff a club, ruff a heart and draw the outstanding trump. That’s +680 and a place in the final!

Alas, declarer took the heart lead in hand and cashed the PiccheA. So near and yet so far.

About the Author

Mark Horton
Mark Horton

Mark Horton British journalist and expert player, was Editor of Bridge Magazine 1995-2017 and now edits the online publication Bridgerama+. At one time, his business cards were inscribed: Have Cards will Travel, but following the death of his most famous sponsor, the Rabbi Leonard Helman, he has tended to concentrate on his writing exploits (in 2018 he had five books published!). Anyone wanting to discover how to lose at bridge on a regular basis (and pay for the privilege) should feel free to contact him. He currently lives in Shrewsbury with his wife Liz.