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Two for the price of One

Two for the price of One

By In 46th World Bridge Teams Championships On 27th August 2023

The eagle eyed Barnet Shenkin has drawn my attention to two interesting possibilities that were missed at least once:

The popular contract on the EW cards was 3NT. If North is on lead a diamond lead will be a killer. If South is first to play it looks normal to start with a top diamond (the ace, asking for attitude for instance). When partner discourages South needs to find partner’s entry. Clearly a heart is a killer, but at one table South switched to the Picche7. When declarer let that run to her hand there were only eight tricks.
Suppose declarer takes the spade switch in dummy and cashes the clubs. This will be the position as the last one is played:

Declarer discards a red card and South is in trouble. She must hold on to three spades, and discarding a heart allows declarer to play three rounds of spades. However, discarding a diamond allows declarer to cross to hand with a spade and exit with a red card – South eventually having to give declarer two spades, or North having to surrender two hearts to dummy. A strip squeeze with a stepping stone variation!

As you might imagine, this deal was frequently accompanied by a hotly contested auction. For example:

5Cuori is making so bidding 5Picche is a good move.
North led the FioriA, cashed the CuoriA and switched to the Quadri6. Declarer won with dummy’s ace, played a spade for the jack king and ace and North exited with the Quadri9, endplaying dummy. With no route to hand declarer had to lose a trick to the Picche10, two down, -300 (as in the other room).

Do you see how declarer could have saved a trick?

After taking the QuadriA, if declarer cashes a second trick in the suit, extracting North’s diamond and then plays a spade North will be forced to exit with a heart, allowing declarer to take the spade finesse and escape for one down.
A veritable Dentist’s Coup!

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.