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Silk Purse

Dlr:
West
Vul:
None
North
♠ Q 4
A 9 6 5
A 5 4 3
♣ A 7 4
South
♠ K 8 6
Q
K Q J 8 6
♣ 9 6 3 2
West North East South
1 Pass Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 3♣
Pass 5 All Pass

Australia’s Barbara McDonald showed great technique on this deal from the World Bridge Olympiad in Istanbul. The result was a huge gain for her team in their match against Romania.

This looks like a hopeless contract, with two inevitable losers in clubs and another in spades. McDonald found a way home, however, after West gave her an opening by leading the J.

McDonald (sitting South) cleared the first hurdle by ducking and winning her singleton Q. Declarer drew trumps in two rounds, ending in dummy, cashed the A to pitch a club, ruffed a heart, played a spade to the queen (West gives up the contract if she hops up with the ace) then a spade to the king. We could win and play a heart, but McDonald was in control.

She ruffed dummy’s last heart, ruffed her last spade, then played the ♣A and another club. West was in with nothing left but a heart and a spade. Either one allowed McDonald to pitch the club from dummy as she ruffed in hand. A club ruff in dummy was her game-going trick.

Bravo, Barbara!

The full deal:

Dlr:
Vul:
North
♠ Q 4
A 9 6 5
A 5 4 3
♣ A 7 4
West
♠ A 10 9 7
K J 10 4 3
9 2
♣ K Q
East
♠ J 5 3 2
8 7 2
10 7
♣ J 10 8 5
South
♠ K 8 6
Q
K Q J 8 6
♣ 9 6 3 2