A. Rama Rao is a veteran bridge player who does not miss a single pair event in Chennai. He was a keen golfer and an ardent cricketer in his younger days. He has made it his habit now to have his three hours of bridge at least twice a week at the Gymkhana club. Enjoy the deal below from a pair event, where he is at his best, both in bidding and play.

Bidding Comment: Rama Rao, sitting south, demonstrated that even when you have good support for partner, i.e honour-third, it is better sometimes to contract for a small slam in no-trump provided there is enough high card strength between the combined hands, as in the above real-life example.

Play: West led the spade six; to the seven, queen, and ace. A diamond to the jack in dummy won the second trick, east discarding a club.

Declarer played a club to his ace next, west showing out. The diamond queen from declarer's hand followed this. When west could not part with his ace, declarer overtook it in dummy with the king! and cashed dummy's clubs, discarding a spade and two hearts from hand.

The last six-card card ending was:

Declarer cashed the heart ace and king next, all following. When the heart queen was tabled, west was reduced to submission as he was forced to discard his diamond ten. Declarer stuck west in with the diamond ace, forcing west to lead from S J-9 into declarer's S K-10.

The complete hands were:

Discussion:

l There are two advantages to playing the contract in no-trump when the opponent's hands are freak.

You may have trump losers, if you play in a suit contract.

You will not incur a ruff on the opening lead.

l If Rama Rao had finally bid six diamonds, a club lead by east would have defeated the contract.

l It may appear that the declarer can make the contract by playing on hearts after west ducks the diamond ace twice, but he will be defeated whenever the hearts are 4-2. Therefore the play adopted by the declarer is the correct line and a fool-proof one at that!

E-mail: ls4bridge@gmail.com

Keywords: Bridgesport

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Sunday MagazineJune 28, 2012