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The following deal can easily win a brilliancy prize if there is a contest for the best played hand. It came up in the Chennai city league IMP match. Watch Ramkumar, an up and coming bridge player, in action.

Contract: 4S by south. West leads the DQ. Plan the play.

Bidding explanation: North's 2D showed 10+points and a three-card support for spades. South jumped to 3S to indicate an opening hand overcall. This is an ace more than the usual non-vulnerable lead-directing overcall made on 8+ points and a good suit. North had no hesitation in bidding the game.

Analysis: You should plan to take four trump tricks, two heart tricks, one diamond trick, and three club tricks for a total of ten tricks. You can be sure east has the major suit kings for his opening bid. You have to establish clubs, finesse the hearts, and tackle trumps.

How the hand was played: Ramkumar won the DA immediately and played a small spade from dummy. East won with the king, cashed DK, and played a third diamond which he ruffed. A club was played to dummy's jack which east ducked. Declarer finessed the HQ now and played the CK from hand. East ducked again and won the third club with the ace, the suit breaking 3-3. Ramkumar won the heart return and cashed SQ. When trumps broke 3-2, he claimed ten tricks.

The complete hands are:

Discussion: There were many interesting points in both bidding and play:

After north's 2D cue-bid, South rebids 2S and be done, if the overcall had been made on 8-11 points.

South bids 2NT with a stopper and opening hand, offerings a choice of games, 3NT or four of the major.

If north has four trumps and 10-11 points, he bids bid 3S, invitational.

As regards the play, you would have noticed that the sequence of plays adopted by the declarer cannot be bettered. For example, if you duck the opening lead, east can overtake with the king and shift to a heart to beat the contract. If you finesse the heart at trick two, the defence will be able to set up a heart trick.

If east plays a fourth diamond after winning the club ace, you should be careful to ruff high in hand, cash SJ, enter dummy by SA, to remove the adverse trumps.

Declarer had to leave the SA in dummy for cashing the thirteenth club. Absolutely brilliant!

Play out the deal using a deck of cards. You will be able to appreciate the beauty of the play.

E-mail: ls4bridge@gmail.com

Keywords: Bridge

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Sunday MagazineJune 28, 2012