David Bird

Wikipedia: David Lyster Bird (born 29 March 1946) is a British bridge writer from Eastleigh, with more than 130 bridge books to his name. He was born in London and is bridge correspondent for the Mail on Sunday and the London Evening Standard. He contributes regularly to many magazines, including Bridge PlusEnglish BridgeBridge Magazine and the ACBL Bridge Bulletin.

IMPs Dealer South. N/S Vul

Q 8 5
J 5
10 4
K Q 10 5 3 2
K 10 6
A K 6 2
A K 8
J 9 4
West North East South
1NT
Pass 3NT Pass Pass
Pass

With only 8 points it is natural for North to head for the notrump game rather than 5.

West leads the4, East playing the9. You can count two certain tricks in each suit; a total of eight. If the A is singleton or doubleton you will be able to enjoy the long clubs in dummy too.

Can you see how to make the game when defenders holds the Axx and hold up the ace twice?

Suppose you win the spade lead with the 10 and play two rounds of clubs, East holding up the ace twice. No good will come from clearing the clubs now. East will win with the ace and return his last spade. I you put up the king West will duck (to stop you reaching dummy with the queen); if instead you play low, West will rise with the ace. In neither case will you be able to reach dummy, and you will go one down.

Instead of playing a third club after this start, you would be better advised lo lead a heart towards the jack, aiming for a minth trick in that suit. If West held theQ you would still make the contract. No today, though.

The key play on this hand occurs on the very first trick. Once East produces9, the Rule of Eleven marks West with theA. If you win the first round of spades with an unnecessarily high card, theK, you can be sure to reach dummy with theQ later. Eleven tricks are guaranteed.

The complete deal:

Q 8 5
J 5
10 4
K Q 10 5 3 2
A J 7 4 3
8 7 4
Q 5 3 2
6
9 2
Q 10 9 3
J 9 7 6
A 8 4
K 10 6
A K 6 2
A K 8
J 9 4

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