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Vil Returns …

No matter how often I write about it, things don’t change much when players encounter competitive hands. This one should have been bid to 4H one way and at least 4S the other but, at the Hutt club, only about half the field bid to 4S when NS bid to 4H. Some Souths then soldiered on to 5H which was down one, but one brave East pushed on to 5S, which was duly doubled. Alas for our Braveheart (should I say Bravespade?) he somehow lost the way and down four was the result! It is the declarer play that I want to talk about, but to bid 5S was to ignore the well known teaching that “the five level belongs to opponents”.

Board 16 from Thursday 9/08/2018
Dealer W EW Vul

Board#16 09/08/2018

Let me suggest how the bidding should go. West opens 1D and East bids 1S. 2H from South (perhaps 3H might be the ‘value bid’), pass from West, having said enough, 3H from North (anyone for 4H?), 3S from East and 4H from South. 4S now from West and 5H from North. Yes, this five level probably belongs to NS because North has no defence against 4S other than an unlikely club ruff at trick one.

East should double 5H and West should lead the diamond ace and switch to a spade, down one. But one West didn’t switch and paid the price when a diamond continuation allowed declarer to make six! Now for the declarer play in 4S, or 5S if East does bid that far. The crucial suit is clubs, so after two rounds of spades declarer should run the jack of clubs for a finesse, and with the queen of clubs ‘in the pocket’ all declarer should lose is one club to the ace. Just how our declarer went astray for down four is somewhat difficult to work out. Even if clubs are led while North can ruff, that ruff will be with a natural trump trick anyway.

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