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 West. E/W Vul

A Q J 4

A K Q 9 7 2
A 7 4
K 9 7 2
10 5
8 6 5 3
10 6 3
West North East South
4 Dbl Pass 4
Pass 6 Pass Pass
Pass

Opening Lead: A

North double of 4is “optional“. It shows plenty of points and nearly always tolerance for a spade contract. Some players would have left in the double on the South cards. You can see, however, that West would score seven or eight hearts and some tricks in clubs too.

South’s decision to bid spades seems to have worked out well.

How will you play the contract after West has led the A ?

The complete deal:

A Q J 4

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

Supose you ruff the opening lead with dummy’s 4 and cash the A and Q, West showing out on the second round.

What will you do next?

The answer is that you will go one down! If you draw a third round of trumps with the jack, there will be no entry to the South hand to draw East’s last trump; when you play on diamonds East will ruff and the defenders will then be able to cash aheart trick. Nor will you fare any better if you leave the J in dummy and start to run the diamonds. East will ruff the second diamond and return either a heart or a trump, again leaving you a trick short.

It is not too difficult to avoid a blockage in the trump suit, provided you spot the danger in good time. You must ruff the first trick high, with the J. You then cash the A and Q and lead the 4 for a finesse of the 9. Dummy’s trump honours were in the way. By ruffing the first trick with one of the troublesome honours it was easy to cash the first twelve tricks.

Look back at the hand diagram one more time. Just as well South pulled the double, wasn’t it? West would actually have made 4 doubled

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