Goren Bridge: One Little Difference

September 28, 2023 02:16 pm | Updated 02:16 pm IST

Today’s deal is from a team competition recently in Cyprus. North’s three-heart bid, rather than a jump to four hearts, suggested a little extra and South pushed to slam. Six hearts would have been laydown after any lead but a spade, but both West players found a spade lead.

At the first table, South won the opening spade lead with his ace and immediately cashed three rounds of clubs to discard his remaining spade. All would have been well had the clubs split 3-3, or if East ruffed the third club in front of South, but West ruffed the third round and led the king of spades. South ruffed in hand and had to decide how to play the trump suit. He gave the problem due consideration and finally crossed to dummy with the ace of diamonds and took the heart finesse. Down one.

At this table, the play started the same way with one little difference. After winning the opening spade lead, South cashed his ace of hearts before starting on clubs. Again, West ruffed the third club, but with the king of hearts. South ruffed the king of spades continuation, drew the last trump, and claimed his slam. Our friends at the Advanced School of Bridge Mathematics tell us that cashing the ace first is the better line of play, but not by much. Very nicely done.

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