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Onside vs. Offside (Le Bridgeur Magazine No. 917)

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 917 of the magazine (May/June 2018), Jérôme gives us a commented deal from the 2018 World Youth Bridge Team Championships, held in Shanghai, China.

Deal commented by Jérôme Rombaut

Commented deal

A favourably or unfavourably located honour is a very relative concept as your goals and the context play an important role.

Funbridge now offers a free introductory bridge module allowing neophytes to learn the basics of bridge and play their first deals. This module includes lessons explaining the fundamentals you will discover in each chapter (there are 11 chapters in total). Then you play 8 deals step by step (bidding, lead, declarer’s and defence’s plans of play).

Returning to the main point of this article, here is a deal from the World Youth Bridge Team Championships held near Shanghai, China, last summer.

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

You play 3NT. The lead is the ♥6 to East’s Queen.

You have seven top tricks. Eight with the indispensable diamond finesse. Start by ducking the Queen to cut opponents’ communications (the King of Spades is not threatened).

East plays the 3. Now you know that the suit splits 5-2 (later confirmed when West plays the 4) and you play the Ace. Play the King, Queen and Jack of Clubs. Cross to dummy in Diamonds, cash the Ace of Clubs, finesse in Diamonds and play the Ace. Unfortunately, West discards a second spade.

Will you now play a spade hoping that the Ace is ‘onside’? Certainly not! West is known to have five hearts. If you play a spade and he has the Ace, the defence will take four heart tricks and one spade trick. At this stage, your only chance is to find the Ace of Spades ‘offside’ in East! Simply play a diamond. Left with spades only, East will be obliged to underplay his Ace, offering you dummy’s King.

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

Visit our “Let’s talk about bridge” section if you want to read another commented deal.