12th World Bridge Championships Page 5 Bulletin 11 - Tuesday 20 June  2006


Countermeasures

By Ron Klinger

Test your defence on this deal:

  ♠ K Q 10 9
8 7 3 2
K 6
♣ 8 4 3

♠ J 6 3
J 5
9 3 2
♣ K 10 9 7 6
Bridge deal  

South opens a strong club and ends in 6. You lead the ♠3, king, ace, ruffed. Declarer crosses to the K and returns the 6 to the jack. Then comes the A, dropping East's Q. Declarer continues with the A, K, Q, East playing the 6, 4, 10 (reverse count) and you discard a club.

South now plays the ♣2. How would you defend? The complete deal, reported previously in Daily Bulletin #8, looked like this (hands rotated for convenience):

Round 11: Board 4 Dealer South. Both Vul.
 ♠ K Q 10 9
8 7 3 2
K 6
♣ 8 4 3

♠ J 6 3
J 5
9 3 2
♣ K 10 9 7 6
Bridge deal
♠ A 8 7 5 4 2
10 6 4
Q 10 7
♣ J
 
A K Q 9
A J 8 5 4
♣ A Q 5 2

Via a sequence that need not be preserved for posterity, Bob Hamman had opened a strong club as South and finished in 6. West started with the ♠3 and Bob played dummy's king. He ruffed East's ace, drew trumps thanks to the favourable layout and cashed the hearts. This was the position:

 ♠ Q 10 9
8

♣ 8 4

♠ J 6


♣ K 10 9 7
Bridge deal
♠ 8 7 5 4 2


♣ J
 
9
8
♣ A Q 5 2

Bob exited with the ♣2. Had West been a good counter, he would have known that declarer had started with no spades, four hearts and five diamonds. Therefore South had to have four clubs and hence East had a singleton. It was therefore vital to rise with the ♣K (a 'crocodile') and return the ♣10, leaving South with another club loser.

To rise with the ♣K was safe whether East had the ♣J or ♣Q. South would not have started with the ♣A-Q-J-x, as he would have discarded the low club on the ♠Q when in dummy with the K. In practice West played an automatic second-hand-low on the ♣2, East won but had only spades left and away went South's two club losers.

"It is very close whether to play the ♠9 at trick one," said Bob later, "but I was concerned that East might have the ♠A and the ♠J. It was lucky that I did not play a low spade. If I had, I would ruff East's ace, play A, diamond to the king and discard two clubs on the ♠K, ♠Q. That would rely on the club finesse and diamonds behaving, but then the slam would have been one down."



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