42 English Bridge February 2020 www.ebu.co.uk
Hand 2 ´ K 10 7 2
™ K 6 3
® A Q J 10 7
´ Q 9 4 ´ 5
™ Q 10 8 ™ A J 9 4
t K Q 10 7 3 t J 9 6 4 2
® 9 2 ® 8 6 3
´ A J 8 6 3
™ 7 5 2
t A 8
® K 5 4
Hand 1 ´ A 6 5
™ 8 5 3
t Q 10 4
® A Q 9 2
´ 10 7 2 ´ J 9 4 3
™ K 9 6 4 ™ A J 10
t J 8 6 3 t 9 7 2
® 7 5 ® K 8 4
´ K Q 8
™ Q 7 2
t A K 5
® J 10 6 3
Is it possible to restrict yourself to just three
losers in hearts? Since you can see the ™2 and the
™3, West's ™4 lead is consistent with a four card
holding, so East will be able to play a third heart if
he wins the second trick.
If West started with ™K10x4, you will have four
heart losers whether you play the ™Q at trick two or
not, and you will then have to hope that West has
the ®K to succeed.
However, if East started with ™AJ10, it is possible
to block the heart suit and restrict the defence to
just three tricks in the suit. Covering the ™J with
the ™Q leaves West with a problem that has no
good solution. If he wins the ™K and returns a
heart, East will win the ™10, but West is stranded
from his fourth heart. If West ducks the ™Q then
clubs can be safely finessed. If East wins the ®K and
returns a heart the defenders can only win four
tricks before you regain the lead.
Should you plan to 'finesse or drop'?
In isolation, a 2-2 split is slightly more likely, so
you could plan to play the ´A and ´K on the first
two rounds. Is there any danger in playing this way?
If East discards on the second round of spades,
you can start playing clubs, but if West can trump
on one of the first three rounds of clubs, then he can
switch to hearts, and you will potentially lose three
tricks in the suit if East has the ™A.
However, you can afford to lose a spade trick as
long as you lose the lead to East, since he cannot
attack hearts without allowing the ™K to win a
trick. You should therefore cash the ´A, then lead
the ´3 and insert dummy's ´10 if West follows with
the ´9 on the second round.
If East wins the ´Q you can win any return and
run dummy's clubs. If East discards on the second
spade, you can now cash the ´K and run dummy's
clubs. Throwing two hearts, and later trumping t8
will allow you to make 12 tricks.
Heffalump Traps by David Bakhshi
4´. West leads the tK.
You have eight top tricks, and can easily win at
least two extra tricks in spades.
You have a decision to make when you tackle the
trumps and you also hope to avoid any danger of
losing four tricks in the process. You win the tA at
trick one and plan to start trumps immediately.
3NT. West leads the ™4. East wins the ™A, and
returns the ™J.
You have seven top tricks, and can expect to make
at least one extra in clubs, but there is a danger that
you will lose at least five tricks before you gain the
lead. Even if you lose only four tricks in hearts, your
contract will fail if you also lose a trick to the ®K.