2017-09-07 / Arts & Entertainment News

The disappearing trick

CONTRACT BRIDGE
BY STEVE BECKER

Tricks that can be made to disappear are usually a source of great interest to bridge players. This deal from a rubber bridge game would surely attract almost any player’s attention.

If you examine all four hands, it appears declarer is destined to lose three trump tricks and a diamond. But South, warned by the double to expect a bad trump division, not only made the contract but made it with an overtrick.

Declarer won the diamond lead with the king and began a campaign to score as many of his small trumps by ruffing as he could. First he cashed the K-A of clubs and trumped a club, then crossed to dummy with a diamond and ruffed dummy’s last club. Next, South played the A-K of spades and ruffed a spade.

By this time nine tricks had been played, and South had won them all. His last four cards were the Q-8-7 of hearts and a losing diamond. East, in the meantime, had done nothing but follow suit and still held the A-J-10-9 of hearts.

With the contract already assured, South set out to make an overtrick by leading the nine of diamonds. West played the ten, but East was forced to trump it.

East had to return a trump, and no matter which one he led, declarer was sure to score both the queen and king and so wind up with 11 tricks.

It is doubtful that South would have adopted this line of play had East not doubled. It would have been more normal to tackle trumps immediately in the hope of finding a 3-2 division. He still might have made the contract, but certainly not the overtrick.

East’s questionable double put South on the right track. It underscored once again the most important word in the contract-bridge vocabulary: Pass. ¦

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