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The Red Zone

By In 46th World Bridge Teams Championships On 29th August 2023

Aggressive bidding, especially in the vulnerable game zone, is often rewarded, because the inherent danger of the opening lead and the difficulty of defending can combine to give declarer a significant advantage – given that one has the necessary skills to take advantage of the opportunities that might arise.
Here is an eye catching example from the second session of the Bermuda Bowl match between Poland and Italy:

In the Closed Room East had managed only 7 tricks in 2Picche for -100.

East’s 2Cuori was limited by his failure to introduce Gazzilli. Perhaps seduced by the lure of a vulnerable game the combination of his 2NT and West’s acceptance resulted in a contract that appeared to have little chance.
However, there was the small matter of the opening lead.
If you consider that the auction suggests that EW may be struggling for tricks then a passive lead may be in order. You must balance that against the possibility that you might be able to cash five diamond tricks ‘on the go’. Here a passive lead would have left declarer with too much to do, but North led the Quadri8 (you must judge if he was misguided or merely unlucky) and declarer won with dummy’s Quadri10 and played a club for the five, ten and king, South switching to the Picche5. Declarer won with dummy’s king, played a club to the ace and a spade. South went up with the ace, denying declarer access to dummy’s winning clubs, and exited with a diamond. Declarer won perforce with the ace, cashed three spades discarding a club and two diamonds from dummy. Now a low heart left South helpless – he could not prevent declarer from scoring two heart tricks, +600 and 12 IMPs.

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