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Pastimes: Bridge.

Byline: DAVID JONES

The county heat for the Garden Cities Trophy was held at the West Midlands Bridge Club on Sunday April 21. Six teams from various clubs in the county played to find the sole representative to play in the area finals next week. This hand from the final session saw declarer make a most unlikely contract, using a piece of advice first advocated some 50 years ago.

West opened one club and North overcalled one heart. East doubled to show exactly four spades, a bid of one spade would show five spades, and when South passed West had a difficult choice of rebids. Three clubs would show the strength of the club suit and also the 15-16 point count. It could however have the adverse effect of possibly placing the no-trump contract in the 'wrong' hand. With that view in mind West elected to rebid two no-trumps showing 17-18pts and a heart stop. East was quick to raise to three and North started the defensive hostilities with the six of hearts. This went to the queen from South and West won the king.

Taking stock of his tricks West could only come up with eight, the heart already won, the ace of diamonds and the six club tricks. Two lines of play are possible, neither likely to succeed. You could try to sneak a spade trick at trick two but North would smartly take the ace and rattle off his four heart tricks for a one trick defeat.

Many years ago Harrison-Gray proposed that when you are one short of your contract and nothing else seems to be sensible then you should run your long suit. Note the effect here on North. He can afford three discards, two spades and one diamond but what does he discard when West plays the last club? A heart lets declarer establish a spade, the ace of spades give up the spade suit and the second diamond sets up the jack, and nine, as winners. Poor old North is squeezed in three suits and all you did was to take your winners!

The winners are West Midlands Bridge Club with 75vps and they now go on to represent the county in the Midland area finals.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:May 11, 2002
Words:373
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