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A Disarming Gesture (Le Bridgeur Magazine No. 924)

2017 World Vice-Champion Jérôme Rombaut writes a column in the French magazine “Le Bridgeur” every two months.

In the article below, published in issue 924 of the magazine (November / December 2019), here is a very interesting deal from a Funbridge tournament.

Final of the Excellence Mixed Four

Playing pairs games doesn’t mean you should give up bridge! Sometimes you have to follow the same approach as in teams games even if the aim is different.

This month I have chosen a pairs tournament challenge. Will you manage to beat Funbridge Elite series players? You are sitting South:

♠️ R D
♥️ A R 7 5
♦️ D
♣️ D V 10 8 4 2

You decide to open 1♣ in the third seat and your partner bids 1♥. North doubles (negative double convention) and the bidding ends in 3NT.

You receive the lead of the ♥Q and the dummy spreads his cards:

S A 7 4 3
H 8 4
D K 10 9 3
C  A 9 6
orientation
S K Q
H A K 7 5
D Q
C  Q J 10 8 4 2

You can take many tricks but as always in a pairs tournament, you have to try to take as many as possible. You have big communication issues to establish your clubs, unblock your spades and establish a diamond trick.

The most obvious line of play is to start by establishing clubs. That is what nearly all players did here.

However, there is another option. It may seem unnatural but you can begin by playing the ♦Q straight away. Once the dangerous opponent West no longer holds the Ace, it is likely that he will continue in hearts. If the ♣K is onside, you will take the exact same number of tricks (eleven if Kxx, otherwise twelve). But if it is in East, you have a chance to take eleven tricks instead of ten as East will have no hearts left after his ♣K. Only two players out of forty found this line of play.

The full deal was:

S A 7 4 3
H 8 4
D K 10 9 3
C  A 9 6
S  10 6
H  Q J 10 9 3
D  A J 6 4
C  7 3
orientationS J 9 8 5 2
H 6 2
D 8 7 5 2
C K 5
S K Q
H A K 7 5
D Q
C  Q J 10 8 4 2

As you may have noticed, a virtual currency called “Diamonds” has been introduced on Funbridge since last November. Purchasing federation and special tournaments is now easier. Come and join us!

Visit our “Let’s talk about bridge” section if you want to read more deals analysis.