CHALLENGING CONTRACT

                      

 

The next hand provided a good opportunity to focus on the critical issues of a hand.

 

                         S  KQT9754

Dlr: East                H  A93

Vul: None                D  8

                         C  84

          S  AJ2                       S  8

          H  K                         H  JT8742

          D  AJT42                     D  Q76

          C  T763                      C  AK5

                         S  63

                         H  Q65

                         D  K953

                         C  QJ92

 

          WEST       NORTH       EAST       SOUTH

           -          -          Pass       Pass

          1D         3S          4H (1)     Pass

          5D         All Pass

 

         (1) Guarantees diamond fit.

 

The weak-two bid style we were playing just about guaranteed that partner would not have six hearts unless they were bad, and the diamond support figured to be at least three and probably four cards in the absence of a negative double. But enough attempts to justify my hand-hogging. 4H was easy, 5D more challenging.

On the lead of the SK you have to win and play the HK. You take the club return and ruff out the HQ. Then a spade ruff

to dummy and run the DQ covered all around. What now?

Well, South surely has only two spades. The best line is to cash the DJ now. When North shows out, simply play two more

rounds of diamonds, throwing South the lead with the last one. South must give dummy the rest of the tricks.

If trumps are 3-2, again you can succeed easily. When you cash the next-to-last trump, South with a 2-4-3-4 shape gets squeezed without the count.

 

                         S  QT97

                         H  --

                         D  --

                         C  4

              S  J                  S  --

              H  --                 H  T87

              D  T                  D  --

              C  T76                C  K5

                         S  --

                         H  96

                         D  --

                         C  QJ9

 

In this ending South must contribute a club when declarer cashes his last trump, coming down to the queen-jack alone. The king and another club puts South in, and he is forced to lead away from his hearts into East's tenace.

 

 

DOUBLE, DOUBLE -- TOIL AND TROUBLE

                      

You don't often get to head the qualifiers of a national event after one session -- and you don't get there without

a little luck.

 

Steve Grant and Kitty Munson were leading after one session of the Mixed Pairs and were in third place after the

second. On Board 11 they had an aggressive auction to a very delicate spot.

 

Bd: 11                   S  AT98642

Dlr: South               H  T75

Vul: None                D  Q

                         C  AK

          S  --                        S  J7

          H  KJ942                     H  Q8

          D  KT84                      D  J7652

          C  Q764                      C  J953

                         S  KQ53

                         H  A63

                         D  A93

                         C  T82

 

          WEST       NORTH       EAST       SOUTH

           -         Grant        -         Munson

           -          -           -         1C

          1H         1S          Pass       2S

          Pass       4D          Pass       4H

          Pass       4NT         Pass       5C (1)

          Pass       6S          All Pass

 

         (1) 0 or 3 key cards.

 

On the lead of the HQ Steve ducked, then won the heart return to run the spades. This was the ending:

 

                         S  4

                         H  T

                         D  Q

                         C  A K

             S  --                  S  --

             H  K                   H  --

             D  K T                 D  J 7

             C  Q 7                 C  J 9 5

                         S  --

                         H  --

                         D  A 9

                         C  T 8 2

 

When Steve led the last trump, East kept his clubs, allowing South and West to throw a club. But the top clubs simply squeezed West in the red suits and the slam came home.

However, there was no defense in the ending. Since had East thrown a club, that suit would run for three tricks. The

necessary defense was for West to bare his DK to keep three clubs and a heart in the five-card ending. When the last

trump is led, East throws a club and dummy gets squeezed before West.