Source: 1st European Open Bridge Championships. Bulletin 4 – Wednesday, 18 June 2003
Eric Kokish
Eric Kokish
Adversity lurks at every turn. Even an optimist like you knows that there are deals that go badly from the start and get progressively worse. On the best of your bad days you can still recover, but only if you maintain your focus. When the heat is beating you down and even your spectacles are perspiring this can be a daunting assignment, but let’s see whether you can rise to the occasion on this deal from the second match of the first Mixed Teams qualifying round. With only your side vulnerable, you are South. The Auction:
West North East South
2 (1)
2 2 (2) 4 All Pass
(1) Precision-style (2) Non-forcing but constructive North leads the ace of clubs and this is what you see:
A 7 6 K 8 6 5 Q J 10 4 10 8
8 2 7 A K 8 7 Q J 9 7 3 2
If you were Italian you could suggest a diamond switch by following by the 2,even cards discouraging and sending a suit preference message. Alas, you are from a country that does not support the Euro and you are limited to encouraging or discouraging. Which club do you play to the first trick? The main issue is what will happen if you discourage a club continuation. Looking at this dummy North is more likely to play a spade than a club, so if you want to prevent that from happening, perhaps you should suggest that a club continuation would be best, now that the damage has already been done in that suit. You are thinking impure thoughts, however, and you follow low, declarer contributing the six. It doesn’t take long for you to regret this decision for North switches briskly to the 3, lowest from an odd number of cards. Declarer runs the spade to his nine, draws three rounds of trumps (North following four-nine-two), cashes dummy’s A crosses to the K (five from North) and leads the 5. North follows with the nine and you take dummy’s ten with the king. It’s been a nightmare for your side so far and it looks as if declarer is about to make a contract that was due to fail by at three tricks. Or can you still recover? If you haven’t succumbed to the heat and your own special miseries, you can redeem yourself at this, the eleventh hour. Return one of your “low” diamonds. This leaves you with a major tenace and declarer will have to lose a diamond and a spade for one down. If you lose your cool and cash the A or exit with a club declarer’s spade loser disappears and he makes his pushy game. This is the full deal:
K J 10 4 3 9 4 2 9 2 A 5 4
Q 9 5 A Q J 10 3 6 5 3 K 6 A 7 6 K 8 6 5 Q J 10 4 10 8
8 2 7 A K 8 7 Q J 9 7 3 2
Cool is your middle name.