October 2019 English Bridge
Love All. Dealer South.
´ Q J 9 6 3
t 10 7 5
® 6 5 4 2
´ 10 7 5 ´ 8 4 2
™ Q 8 5 2 ™ K J 7 4
t Q 6 3 t 9 8 4
® K Q 9 ® 10 7 3
´ A K
™ 10 9 6 3
t A K J 2
® A J 8
West North East South
Neil Percy John Bertie
Phillips Cutforth Hutson Bellis
Pass 3™1 Pass 3´
Pass 3NT All Pass
1 Transfer to spades
Phillips led his fourth-best heart, and Bertie Bellis
paused to assess his prospects. Hearts were probably
4-4 after a lead of the 2, but the ensuing spade
blockage might cause a problem. 'Ace, please,' said
the maths master.
A finesse of the jack of diamonds lost to the
queen and the defenders took three tricks in the
heart suit. Bellis won the ®K switch, unblocked the
´AK and crossed to dummy's t10 to make three
more spade tricks. Two top diamonds in his hand
gave him the contract.
Neil Phillips blinked. 'What a strange deal,' he
said. 'If Hutson held three diamonds to the queen,
you would have gone down. You would make four
diamonds, two spades and two more aces, but that's
only eight tricks.'
John Hutson was unimpressed by this
assessment. 'Just the same eight tricks that declarer
would have made if you'd allowed the jack of
diamonds to win,' he observed.
Bertie Bellis unscrewed his fountain pen and
inscribed a neat 400 in his plus column. 'Ducking
the first diamond wasn't an easy defence to find,' he
said. 'Suppose you'd been West, Hutson? Do you
think you would have ducked?'
Hutson considered the matter for a few moments.
'I'm not sure, Sir,' he replied. r