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Clever Play Wraps Doubled Bid

  by Richard Pavlicek

Freakish hands are difficult to bid accurately. When Thelma Carroll of Miami picked up the South hand in a local tournament, she was rather startled to hear her right-hand opponent open one diamond. But being a practical bidder, she immediately jumped to four spades — the most likely final contract for her side. When West competed to five hearts, South was not about to sell out and bid one more for the road. West ended the auction with a vicious double.

5 S× South
N-S Vul
S Q 3
H J 4 3 2
D 6 4
C 9 7 6 5 4

5 H

1 D
4 S
5 S
S 10 9 6
H K Q 10 9 8 7
D 3
C K J 10
TableS 8 2
H A 6 5
D K J 9 7
C A Q 8 3

Lead: D 3
S A K J 7 5 4
D A Q 10 8 5 2
C 2

West led his diamond to the king and ace. The bidding made it clear that West’s lead was a singleton, but it was still necessary to establish the long diamond suit. South considered her options.

One possibility was to lay down the diamond queen, conceding the ruff. No good — West could return a trump after ruffing and declarer would have to lose two more tricks. Another possibility was to cross to the spade queen and take the marked diamond finesse. Still no good — West surely held three or more trumps, and this would not succeed.

After a little thought, Thelma came up with the winning play. At trick two she led a small diamond from the South hand, giving East a cheap trick.

After that it was an easy matter to ruff one diamond in dummy (with the spade queen if necessary) to establish the suit and make her contract.

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© 1984 Richard Pavlicek