Source: IBPA Column Service FEB. 2020

Tim Bourke
Tim Bourke

**Source: wikipedia. Tim Bourke “is an Australian bridge player and writer. His joint project with Justin Corfield “the Art of Declarer Play” won the International Bridge Press Book of the Year award in 2014.

IMPs Dealer South. Both Vul

J 10 9 5 2
A 2
A 9 7 4 3
A
A Q 6
K Q 4
K 8 2
K 7 6 5
West North East South
1NT
Pass 21 Pass 2
Pass 3 Pass 32
Pass 43 Pass 4
Pass 43 Pass 5
Pass 53 Pass 6
Pass Pass Pass

1. Transfer

2. Stronger than four spades 3-card support

3. Control bids

West led the J.

Declarer saw that the contract was a poor one, relying almost entirely on East holding the king of trumps no more than three times. Declarer won the first trick with dummy’s ace then led the J and ran it when East followed with a low trump.

Declarer continued with a low trump to his queen. Declarer was not particularly surprised when West discarded a heart. At that point, if he were to succeed, declarer would need East to have started with at least three hearts, one diamond and three clubs. Even so, he would have to guess East’s original distribution.

After cashing dummy’s ace of clubs, declarer played his king and queen of hearts and was pleased to see that East followed. Declarer continued with the king of clubs and a club ruff, noting the fall of East’s queen.

Next declarer cashed dummy’s ace of diamonds and led a diamond to his king. Declarer had made ten tricks and was reduced to the ace of trumps and a low card in each minor. He placed West with five hearts and noted he had begun with either 3=4 or 2=5 in the minors. In the former case, declarer saw that he could succeed by ruffing a club.

So, declarer led a club and his decision point came when West played the ten of clubs. Eventually, declarer threw a diamond from dummy – playing for the queen of clubs to have been a true card.

When East threw the queen of diamonds declarer knew that he had made the right choice. West continued with a heart, which was ruffed by dummy’s nine of trumps, and East’s king-eight in trumps was smothered. Declarer had to make the last two tricks no matter whether East ruffed high or low.

Brian Senior
Brian Senior

Brian SENIOR wrote about the Smother Play: “Though the name does not include the word Coup, a Smother Play clearly belongs to that category of play technique. It is another piece of bridge magic in which a defender’s ‘sure’ trump trick vanishes into thin air.

The Smother Play is a rare beast, but magic tricks have a fascination for us all and it can come as quite a shock to the defender on the receiving end.”

The complete deal:

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

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