Ross Taylor

Not so fast – part II

I take my hat off to players who routinely win matchpoint tournaments – such a difficult game to excel in repeatedly. Imp play is preferred, and the objectives are often much simpler. Just make your contract if you are declarer, and if you are defending, go all out in search of the layout required to beat the contract. Pretty simple stuff.

Today’s hand’s outcome may have been justified in a pairs tournaments, but at imps, the contract was there for the taking.


Dealer: south

Vul: both

West East
KJ9xx Ax
void Qxxx
Q108xxx 9
Jx 10xxxxx


South opened the bidding one heart, west overcalled 1 spade. North cuebid 2 hearts, and south jumped to 3NT. West was done bidding, and north converted the final contract to 4 hearts.

The opening lead was a diamond, won in south’s hand with the jack. The heart ace revealed the bad trump split, as west pitched a sneaky spade.

Given this hand as a problem, a majority of capable players would routinely chalk up ten tricks now. But at the table, there is no warning there is danger afoot – it’s your job to anticipate bad breaks, and make your contract regardless.

South cashed the club king at trick 3, and travelled to the diamond king in order to run the trump ten through east. However, the hand quickly collapsed when east ruffed the diamond king, and underled his spade ace (in case declarer had KJx(x) of spades).

West won the first spade, led back another diamond for yet another ruff, and the rot was well and truly set for south – down 1.

Of course, south should have taken an easy route to ten tricks simply by overtaking the club king with the dummy’s ace, and then running the heart ten. However, the presence of the club king was illusory and distracting, and the price was a vulnerable game bonus out the window.


Chuck ArthurApril 8th, 2010 at 12:29 am

There is a big difference between playing bridge and playing matchpoints.

Daniel KorbelApril 8th, 2010 at 12:29 am

Without the club king, declarer doesn’t have 10 certain tricks.

lewis richardsonApril 8th, 2010 at 8:25 am

what is remarkable is that the identical play was made at both tables by two exceptionally fine players in the finals of a knockout. pressure & fatigue often take their toll.

Leave a comment

Your comment