Source: www.qldbridge.com

Paul Marston
Paul Marston

Paul Marston has been one of Australia’s leading bridge identities for close to thirty years. Apart from his ownership of the exceptionally successful Grand Slam Bridge Club and the time which this involves, Paul also manages to edit Australian Bridge Magazine which he acquired in the 1990s. As a national magazine, Australian Bridge has an excellent selection of bridge articles, interviews and match reports.

To make your contract on this hand, you have to keep the bidding in mind.

IMPs Dealer North, N/S Vul.

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

The Auction:

West North East South
1 Pass 1
3 3 Pass 4
Pass Pass Pass

You are in 4, as South, on the king of diamonds lead. You ask about West’s 3 bid and you hear that it shows a six card suit and 11-15 HCP. You win A and your first decision is how to tackle trumps. Do you start with the king or the ace?

The normal play is the king because if East shows out you can pick up the suit without loss, but do you think West could have all four spades? Not really. That would give East a void in spades along with three card diamond support. With that, East would surely have raised diamonds. So you start by playing a spade to the ace because West could easily be void. Just as you feared, West throws a diamond on this trick. You play a trump from dummy and when East plays the ten you let it hold. East plays a diamond to West. West plays A and another one to your king.

To make your contract, you have to avoid losing a club. How do you do this? West seems to have six diamonds and no spades. Of his remaining seven cards, he is unlikely to have five hearts which means he must hold at least three clubs. This gives you a choice. You could play the ace-king to drop the doubleton queen with East or you could play West to hold the queen – lead the jack in the hope of pinning the ten. Which do you choose?

A J 6 3
Q 7 2
7 6
A K 7 2

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

West’s intermediate jump overcall might tip you off about the location of the Q, so make him regret his bid and run the jack of clubs. West cannot gain by covering with the queen, because East’s ten will drop on the second round, establishing your nine.