bridge 7-28

Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.”

Some bridge players are like that. They don’t know how they are going to make or break a contract, so they just pull cards and hope that they get home. But more often than not, they will run out of fuel first.

On other deals, partner suddenly steers down a road that looks closed. But if you trust him, follow him — with luck, he knows something that hasn’t crossed your mind.

This deal occurred during the 1975 European Championships, in the open match between Belgium and Greece. How did East-West defeat four hearts?

North’s hand looks good for a single raise, and advocates of the Losing Trick Count will note that the hand has only seven losers, which is the normal number for a game-forcing raise! North should have invited game. But when South, with a six-loser hand, made a help-suit game-try in diamonds, North happily jumped to game.

West, George Roussos, led the diamond queen; East, Hercules Matrangas, overtook with his king and returned the spade jack. Thinking his partner had switched to a singleton, West won with the ace and played back a spade.

When East didn’t ruff, declarer probably felt happy, but that joy didn’t last. When he played a trump to his jack, West won with the ace and led another spade. East’s ruff with the heart nine effected an uppercut, promoting West’s heart 10 as the setting trick.

West could have also defeated the game with an unlikely opening club lead. The curious may work it out.

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