Bridge By The Lake

By Ken Masson

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When we are in Canada during the summer, Herself and I often play at the Aurora Bridge Club in the town of the same name just north of Toronto. The diagrammed hand came our way there in a duplicate game.

East passed in first seat and I had a decision to make: what should I open? 1, 3 or 4 spades were all options that crossed my mind but I finally settled on the one level as being the best description of my holding. My rationale was that as East had already passed I would be in danger of pre-empting my partner rather than the opposition if I opened 3 or 4 spades.

West made a takeout double (which would not be everyone’s cup of tea but the man had paid his entry fee and was entitled to bid as he pleased) and Herself raised me to 2 spades. East chimed in with 3 hearts and I closed proceedings with a jump to game. I felt this was a 2-way shot: the contract might make or it could be a good sacrifice against the enemy’s contract.

West led the diamond jack and I had another assessment to make, whether or not to take the finesse. As I couldn’t see any other way to get to rid of a diamond loser, I really had no choice but to play low and, not too surprisingly, East won with the king. East now continued with ace and king of hearts, which I ruffed. I had already lost 2 tricks and had at least one certain club loser to come so it was essential that I lose no trump tricks. A finesse for the spade king seemed the only possibility of salvation

With this in mind I crossed over to dummy’s diamond ace and played a spade to my queen but, alas, it lost to the king. I later guessed the location of the club jack so had to go down 1 trick.

Herself was not amused. “You could have made that” she said, “in fact you should have made it!” Now if you know Herself, you will know that even though she is not always right, she is never wrong! So, dear reader, before reading on, see if you can figure out why I should have dropped the singleton king of spades offside without having a little peek.

Did you work it out? If you look back at the bidding you will see that East passed in first seat yet played the diamond king, heart ace and heart king as her first three cards on defence. That adds up to 10 high card points – there wasn’t room in her hand for the spade king as well as that would have given her an opening bid! Therefore, my only hope was that his majesty must be in the west hand and must be the only spade that player holds.

So, here I am back in the doghouse. To make matters worse, Herself checked the results after the game and informed me that we would have won the event, instead of finishing second, if I had only used my brain, confirming my status as the Rodney Dangerfield of bridge.

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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.


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