Ross Taylor

Not so fast – part I

Expert players make contracts that lesser players go down in. Often the available information, or task at hand, is not beyond the reach of the average player – but a moment’s haste, a lifetime’s regret, as they say. Today’s south reached a very normal 4 hearts at imps, and ten tricks were well within her grasp.


Dealer: north

Vul: north south

West East
K6 Q9xxx
x AQx
KQxx 9xxx
9xxxxx 8


North opened the bidding 1NT, and south found herself in 4 hearts in short order. The lead was a club spot, won in dummy with the ace.

South played the diamond ace, and ruffed a diamond. Then she ran the heart jack around to east’s queen. East placed the spade queen on the table.

South continued on in auto pilot fashion. She won the spade ace in dummy, and played the heart king. East placed a low spade on the table, and her partner quickly won the king and played another club back for east to ruff. Down 1, and a shocked reaction from south.

To be sure, east made a nice play, creating the entry to her partner’s hand, but south simply self destructed on this hand. At trick one she could see she could afford to lose two trump tricks and a spade.

The only way she could go down is if another trump trick was lost. So play the hand on that basis, and maximize your chances. Even the play at trick one and two was not necessary, but not fatal. Failing to duck the spade – a trick she was destined to lose anyway, is what caused the cold contract to go down.


Bobby WolffApril 8th, 2010 at 8:54 am

Hi Ross,

Your whole premise concerning the difference between just good players and very good players is well worth mentioning and even exploring.

In my younger days, when I was itching to move up in the respect level of our difficult high-level game, the above was often described as, there are a very few players who never go down in a contract which can be made by more careful, but not necessarily brilliant play. Your example is a perfect role model for that description. But first, the want to must be there and furthermore, one must possess the intellectual honesty to admit to failure, whether or not because of it, he went set.

In your analysis of performance you seem to always fit the mold in being self-critical, for all to see, which is more than half the battle of succeeding. Again many congratulations for your recent performance.



Dave Memphis MOJOApril 8th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Cute hand.

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