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Think Twice Before Conceding

  by Richard Pavlicek

Today’s deal occurred in the Plymouth Rock Swiss Team event at the recent North American Bridge Championships in Boston. Declarer victimized himself by conceding too soon.

6 H South
N-S Vul
S A 10 5 4
D A K 3
C K 10 7 6 5 2

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

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

East’s weak jump overcall of two diamonds was a meager attempt to disrupt the North-South bidding and had little effect. After checking for aces with Blackwood, South signed off the bidding in six hearts — certainly a reasonable contract.

West led the diamond four. Declarer won the diamond king in dummy, crossed to his spade king, and cashed two high trumps. When East showed out on the second round, declarer tabled his hand and reluctantly conceded down one. His beautiful slam contract had fallen victim to a terrible trump break.

Our South player (who shall go nameless) did not heed the proverb, “Never say die,” as his concession of defeat was premature. Despite the unlucky heart division declarer could, and should, have succeeded in his six-heart contract; all it takes is the proper execution.

When East shows out on the second trump lead, declarer should abandon leading trumps. Instead he crosses to dummy with a spade, cashes the diamond ace (discarding a spade) and ruffs a diamond. The ace and king of clubs are now cashed, followed by a spade ruff. In the meantime, West of course is helplessly following suit.

At this point South is left with Q-8-7 in hearts, and West, J-10-6. It is a simple matter for South to exit with a low heart. West is forced to win and must return the suit into South’s tenace. In this manner South loses only one heart trick and makes his contract.

The moral here is to think twice before conceding defeat. Don’t let the trees block your view of the forest.

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© 1981 Richard Pavlicek