Too Difficult by Half

Some deals are very tough – and you can be sure that determined opponents will do their best to make sure you can’t reach the optimum spot.5_b15_b2

Facing what might be a three-card suit East was not in a position to raise the ante, but NS never found their diamond fit -and the twelve tricks that would have gone with it.


Here East was able to take away a whole round of bidding – and that left South with no real alternative to 4Cuori – it would have been quite something to have tried 5Fiori.


If South had bid 3Quadri would North be worth a jump to 4Cuori?
You will observe that if you do play a slam on the NS cards you should be in spades as opposed to diamonds. Do you see why?It’s because a spade lead (easier from the West hand) threatening a ruff is too difficult to cope with.


Could North have bid 5Cuori? Would it have been enough to persuade South to bid 6Picche? I doubt it.


West cashed the ace of diamonds and switched to the six of spades, East winning with the ace and returning the queen of diamonds, on which West pitched a club (strictly speaking West has to ruff and switch to a club, setting up the defensive cross ruff). Declarer won with dummy’s king and played the king of hearts. When that held she played a club to the queen and West won with the king and returned a club, the defensive cross ruff plus the ace of hearts meaning the contract was one down, -100.


East led the ten of spades and declarer won with dummy’s queen and played a heart to the king. When that held he took a club finesse; West won and made the fine (but not strictly necessary) play of cashing the ace of diamonds before returning a spade. East won with the ace and it should have been clear to play the queen of diamonds, establishing a seventh trick for the defence. However, East played a third spade and that put declarer in control as there was no longer diamond trick to be had.