Article 7H73   Main

Greed Costs Slam

  by Richard Pavlicek

Every good bridge player has a touch of larceny in his soul. To be a winner, you not only have to take the tricks you are due but a few of your opponents’ tricks as well. The fine point is knowing when to draw the line; when to be discreet and resist temptation. On this deal declarer got too greedy.

North dealsS 3 2WestNorthEastSouth
None vulH K Q J 61 DPass2 C
D A Q J 7 4 3 2Pass2 HPass2 S
CPass3 DPass4 NT
S J 9 6 5TableS 10 8 7Pass5 DPass6 NT
H 9 8 2H 10 4 3All Pass
D K 10 9 5D 8
C J 9C Q 10 8 7 6 2
S A K Q 4
H A 7 5
D 6
6 NT SouthC A K 5 4 3

South correctly won the opening heart lead with the ace and led a diamond to the jack. When the finesse worked it seemed routine to cash the ace (West might have K-x) and then give up a diamond if necessary. Oops! East showed out, leaving declarer with exactly 11 tricks and no recourse.

Would a different play really matter? You better believe it! Instead of cashing the D A declarer should continue with a low diamond to West (discarding a club). The diamond suit, of course, cannot be established; but this technique corrects the count for a potential squeeze. The contract is now unbeatable.

Assume West leads another heart (nothing matters). Win in dummy, cross to the S A and cash both top clubs, throwing diamonds from dummy. Cash the remaining heart winners (throwing a club) and West is squeezed. He cannot hold on to his stopper in both diamonds and spades.

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© 1997 Richard Pavlicek