BRIDGE Magazine: Sharpen Your Bridge Technique
The below is an excerpt from the article ‘Sharpen Your Bridge Technique’ by Mark Horton from BRIDGE Magazine’s September 2016 Issue.
In a major championship thousands of boards are played – in Wrocław the total was 95,001. It is inevitable that many of them will contain and instructive point.
God moves in a Mestiri(ous) way
In a situation where you are a trick short of the required number it can be a sound strategy to play off your long suit before committing yourself. Take a look at this deal from the match between Poland and Tunisia from Round 1 of the Open Teams.
Board 6. Dealer East. E/W Vul.
In the other room Jassem & Mazurkiewicz had stopped in 4♠, so there was plenty riding on the result.
South led the eight of diamonds (would you have found a heart lead?) and declarer won in hand with the ace and drew trumps. With time in hand he continued with four more rounds of spades, South pitching the ♦5, ♦2, ♦6 & ♦9 while North parted with the ♦7, ♦3, ♣3 & ♦J.
When declarer cashed the ♦K everyone threw a heart to leave this position:
When declarer cashed the last spade South had to part with a heart – pitching a club would allow declarer to play ace and another club. Reading the position perfectly declarer discarded dummy’s queen of hearts, played a heart to the ace and a club, covering North’s six with the eight to force South to lead into the ♣AQ.
What a wonderful feeling it must have been for Anas Mestiri – and against the reigning Bermuda Bowl champions.
Listen to Gabriel
In Round 4 of the Open & Women’s Teams this deal was the most exciting of the set:
Board 22. Dealer East. E/W Vul.
Many E/W pairs reached 6♣ or 6♥ and that quite often persuaded N/S to sacrifice in 6♠.
The problem is that the slam usually failed, as declarer tackled hearts by cashing the ace and leading low to the queen.
In the Australia v. Russia match, this was the bidding in the Open Room:
South led a spade to dummy’s ace, declarer shedding his diamond loser. Kholomeev tnen drew trumps in three rounds ending in dummy and continued the ♥5, inserting the eight from his hand. South won his ten and returned a diamond to declarer’s ace. Kholomeev’s next move was to advance the ♥Q which held the trick. When the jack appeared in North, he thus had managed to
bring off a genuine intra finesse for an overtrick. Not that it mattered at all as the Aussies were in 6♣ at the other table and went one off.
The all-important question on this deal thus had become: did anyone play for this intra finesse in a situation in which it really mattered? The answer is YES.
For Denmark, Clemmensen-Graversen were E/W against Canada and they too ended up in 6♣.
The play went exactly as described above but the big diff erence was that in 6♣, the intra finesse did really matter. So full credit to H.C. Graversen, the only declarer in the Hala Stulecia to record +1370.
More often than not, and if time etc. allows, it’s a good idea to try to speak to the players involved. This time, it was the way to find out that the E/W names had been interchanged. As Poul Clemmensen smilingly said: ‘It has happened to us before. Usually, the wrong player (my partner!?) then gets credited with the -800’s’.
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