Bridge By The Lake
By Ken Masson
The advent of dealing machines and computerized scoring have added enormously to the enjoyment of bridge players, as they allow us to check our results against all others holding the same cards in any given event. This is usually available only in pairs games but Mike Roney and his team of directors at the Lake Chapala Duplicate Bridge Club in Riberas have found a way to replicate the hands for Swiss teams events which levels the playing field, so to speak. With all the teams in the event playing the same hands the luck factor that can occur with different people-dealt hands in each match is largely eliminated.
The illustrated deal was played at one of these team games and those who went down in their contract were able to find the folly of their ways by examining the hand at leisure in the comfort of their homes later!
I’m sure that a bid of 2 no trump was the choice of the majority of Souths holding these cards and they all likely got to play it there. Those declarers who received the lead of a spade would have found themselves outgunned and would have had no chance to make their contract but a low diamond was the more likely lead from most Wests and then it was up to South to find a way home.
Declarer could see that if the opponents’ clubs were 2-2, 9 tricks were likely: 2 spades, 2 diamonds (if West had, as expected, underled the diamond ace) and 5 clubs. After winning the diamond king declarer laid down the ace and king of clubs to discover that East had a winner in that suit which had to be dislodged before more could be cashed. When East won the club trick he returned the spade queen which caused declarer much discomfort as he could no longer score all the tricks he needed to make his contract. If he attempted to score a second diamond trick he would have no way back to his hand to cash a second spade and get to the dummy to run more clubs. The result: down one.
The great lesson on this hand is understanding the difference between matchpoints (the normal duplicate pairs game) and IMPs (the method used for scoring Swiss Teams). In pairs your score is compared to every other partnership holding the same cards as you, and overtricks are prized to such an extent that players often jeopardize their contract in their quest for them.
In teams, on the other hand, making your contract is of prime importance. Declarers who concentrated on making just eight tricks were duly rewarded when they approached the deal in this fashion: win the opening diamond lead in hand with the king. Next, cash one high club and when both opponents follow play a small club from both hands. When West shows out you are rewarded for your thoughtfulness by keeping control of the hand. If East switches to a spade you can win in hand and lead a diamond towards the dummy. Whether West rises with the ace or not you can’t be prevented from winning 2 spades, 2 diamonds and 4 clubs and, more importantly, making your contract.
Column: Bridge by the Lake
Ken Masson has been playing, teaching and writing about bridge for more than 40 years. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Ken has been living in the Toronto area since 1967. He and his wife and bridge partner Rosemarie have been wintering in Lakeside since 2006. Even after all these years of playing they find bridge to be a constant challenge and enjoy sharing some of their triumphs and mishaps with Ojo readers in each column.