Almost Bridge 7F60 by Richard Pavlicek
And now, folks, it is my great pleasure to introduce this evenings guest speaker. Lets all give a warm welcome to Miss Emily Litella! [Thunderous applause from 300 spectators.]
Thank you, Richard. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am honored to have been asked to speak to you tonight about the first round duck, and I have done extensive research to prepare. Let me begin:
According to ornithology experts, fossils formed during the Paleocene Epoch depict a bird species with a curved underside. This is the earliest documented existence, and its genealogy has been traced to the present-day mallard. Over a span of 20 million years the curvature evolved into webbed feet
Whoa, Emily! This is supposed to be about the first-round duck in bridge.
Oh Never mind.
Thanks, Emily. My fault for omitting the hyphen. Punctuation counts and can cost lives, as by the editor who forget the comma in Lets eat, Grandma.
Have a seat, Emily, and enjoy a glass of wine. Ill take it from here. Consider this deal:
| 3 2|
A K Q 10
K 9 8 7
A K 3
| K 9 8 7 6|
9 8 7 6
| 10 5|
J 10 6 5
10 9 8 7 6 5
| A Q J 4|
J 4 3 2
A 3 2
Norths raise to 4 showed at least 19 points, so South tried for slam by bidding 4 (ace showing). North then used Blackwood to ask for aces and kings, and placed the final contract. Six hearts is a decent contract, basically needing the spade finesse, and there are additional chances if it fails.
West led a trump, won in dummy, and a second top trump was led to discover the 4-1 break (East pitched a club). A spade was led to the jack and West made a clever play, ducking the first round. Declarer crossed to dummy in hearts to repeat the spade finesse, but this time it lost and a trump return eliminated any chance declarer might have had. Down two.
Great defense! Wests first-round duck was more devastating than it might seem. Had he won the king, declarer could get home by ruffing his fourth spade in dummy, and eventually squeezing East in the minors. Even if declarer knew where every card was, he could not succeed after West ducked the first spade.
Can the contract be made? Yes, but Ill bet you cant figure out how.
You might wish to try before reading any further. Give up yet?
Looking at all four hands (but not in real life) South can succeed with the same remarkable tactic: a first-round duck. On the first spade lead from dummy South must play the four. West wins cheaply and returns a trump (nothing matters) won in dummy. Next lead a spade to the ace, then the Q for a ruffing finesse. Assume West covers and dummy ruffs, leaving North on lead in this ending:
|win 7|| |
K 9 8 7
A K 3
| 9 8|
J 10 6 5
10 9 8
|North leads|| J|
A 3 2
Win the K (key play) then cross to the ace. Draw Wests last trump and cash the J, discarding diamonds from dummy. East is caught in a squeeze. Either Souths 3 or Norths 3 will be good, and declarer wins the rest.
Got that, Emily?
In fond remembrance of Gilda Radner (1946-89),
creator of the Emily Litella character.
© 1999 Richard Pavlicek