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Intermediate and newcomer players - sharpen your game with this series of tutorials. You can browse the index by topic, or read them in order. Learn even more at ACBL's Learn page.







                                                                                     Brian Gunnell




♠ QJ432



♣ AKQ52





In this game it sometimes pays to have a good sense of the ridiculous, witness this hand from a recent team game.  When recounting their story, N-S declined to admit how they reached 6NT, and given the utter awfulness of their final contract, who could possibly blame them?


♠ K86



♣ J4



West            East



♠ AT9



♣ 763


♠ 75



♣ T98



A Spade lead would have worked rather well for the defense but, not unreasonably, West started out with the Heart Ten.  Now let’s see how alert defense by East averted an overtrick!


That opening Heart lead was won by Declarer’s Ace.  Next came the Q and West probably now regrets that he covered this with the King.  Dummy’s Ace won the trick and the Clubs were rattled off.  West had discarding problems on the run of the Clubs and, with the benefit of hindsight we can see that it was ill-advised of West to pitch a couple of Hearts, but pitch them he did.  Next, the Diamond Nine was successfully finessed and, with the Hearts now good, Declarer was up to 12 tricks.


But could he make an overtrick?  No, East became the star of the show when, on the last Heart, he pitched away his ♠A!  Declarer’s last two cards were J6 but East had grimly held on to T8 and the battle for the thirteenth trick was won by East’s Diamond Ten.  So, only +1440 for N-S, thanks to East’s heads-up defense.


“For a moment there I thought you would make all the tricks”, mused Dummy.


“Wasn’t possible, East defended too well”.


“Well, let’s hope our team-mates aren’t -1470.  An IMP here, an IMP there, pretty soon it starts to add up”.

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