bridge 7-1

George Eliot said, “A difference of tastes in jokes is a great strain on the affections.” I guess she (Mary Ann Evans) was speaking from personal experience. Interestingly, she was married legally only once, at the age of 60, seven months before she died. Her husband tried to commit suicide during their honeymoon in Venice by diving into the Grand Canal, but he was rescued.

Bridge features a difference in scoring systems. In a duplicate pairs event, overtricks are very important. You receive one matchpoint for each pair sitting in your direction (North-South or East-West) that you outscore, whether by 10 points or 1000. In teams matches and Chicago, you just concentrate on making your contract. Overtricks are small fry when compared to a game bonus.

In today’s three-no-trump contract, how should South play in each form of the game after West leads his fourth-highest spade?

South starts with eight top tricks: three spades (given trick one), four hearts and one club. To score a ninth trick without risk, declarer should lead a diamond from his hand at trick two; that is the right play in a teams match or at Chicago, with money on the line.

In a pairs event, though, South should try to collect an overtrick or two. In clubs, by intending on taking two finesses, declarer has a 92% chance for two tricks and a 67% chance for three tricks. Here, though, disaster strikes. With every minor-suit honor offside, three no-trump will now go down. But South will have a lot of company.

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