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Bridge Hands
  Double cross

The following hand was played in a Wednesday pairs session at the club. Having diagnosed an awkward trump distribution, declarer plans a repeated throw-in to make his contract.

Game all

♠ 5

 A 8 4

 Q J 9 2

♣ A 9 8 5 2

Board 7

♠ A Q 10 6 4 3


 K 8 3

♣ J 4 3

After a competitive auction in which North bid diamonds and South bid hearts, as East you arrive in a contract of 3 Spades. South lead's a diamond on North's Ace and ruffs the diamond return on which you play low. South continues with a low club. Fearing another diamond ruff should North get the lead, you play the Ace and successfully finesse the ♠ Q, South following with the ♠ J.

The position is

♠ -

 A 8 4

 Q J

♣ 9 8 5 2

♠ A 10 6 4 3



♣ J 4

Placing North with ♠ K 9 8 and 3 more diamonds you plan an elegant double endplay. You unblock the  K, cross to the  A, cash the  Q discarding a club then ruff a heart to leave


♠ K 9 8





♣ 9 8 5 2

♠ A 10 6 4



♣ J

After exiting with a club you will regain the lead with a ruff and endplay North with a low trump to lead into your ♠ A 10 and a total of nine tricks.

Sadly for declarer, South had false carded in trumps and was able to ruff the diamond king and cash the ♣ K Q. Unable to pick up the king of trumps you finish two down.

The full hand:


♠ K 8 7

 K 6 3

 A 10 6 5 4

♣ 10 7


♠ 5

 A 8 4

 Q J 9 2

♣ A 9 8 5 2

♠ A Q 10 6 4 3


 K 8 3

♣ J 4 3


♠ J 9 2

 Q J 10 9 7 2


♣ K Q 6



  Not-so-good Friday...

A hand reported in the Daily Telegraph (21st April 2017) from the EBU's Easter Congress.

Declarer Sue Parkins

  Underdogs nearly defeat the 'Pros'... Round 3, 2014 Gold Cup (48 boards)

by Steve Burton

In our recent match v. Mossop (+ Simpson, Price, J & J Hackett, Rees 6th. seed) our Squad was Graham Clay, Tony Clark, Michael Fletcher, Roger New and myself (Steve Burton).

The following was one of many excitements.  

  Board 16
EW Vul
Dlr West

♠ Q x
 Q 9 x x x x
♣ Q 10 9 x x

  ♠ x x
 K 9 8 x x
♣ A K x x x
  ♠ A K 10 x x x
10 x
A Q J x
♣ x
    ♠ J 9 x
 K J x x
 10 x x x
♣ J x


(Mike Fletcher)
(David Mossop)
(Tim Rees)
  1  2 (1) 3♠ (2) 4   
  4♠  Pass 4NT(3) Pass  
  5 (4) 6 (5) 7  Pass  
  Pass 7  Pass(6) Pass  
  dbl(7) Pass Pass Pass  

Result 7H X - 5 = + 1100 to 'Underdogs' - probably -8imps, I opined.

(1) WJO, why not 2NT;
(2) Fit Jump, F1
(3) RKCB
(4) two keys, Spades agreed, hence no SQ
(5) Diamond Void
(6) Forcing pass, I am asking West to consider 7NT
(7) NO!!


Absolutely right!

In the replay, Tony Clark, playing with Graham Clay overcalled 1D with the more obvious 2NT [two lowest unbid suits] and the Hackett twins bid their way to 6S : -1430 when TC did not Lightner X, giving the defence (what defence?) a chance, after a fast auction, and fearing 7D, maybe.

However 7H X is cheaper than small slams, and 7D is 'chuck it at a wall', so X of 6S stands to gain 1300 or flatten the board, 'sacking' in 7D IF....... the opponents bid 7H ! If not we gain 1240.

And the it says in the books, in big hands at teams, always bid one more if not sure, particularly at favourable vulnerability.

  A murky tale of revenge from Steve B...

...playing with Phil Williams in the London League

The play is in three scenes from the second act ; In the first act we were -17 imps mainly due to an over exuberant grand slam and despite psyching the oppo. out of a vul. game [I did mention murky].

I sat South in all three scenes.

SCENE 1 : A dubious line.

E/W vul. dealer North.

West played 4S with A9xx/Q10x/AKJx/Jx and East(dummy) put down KJxx/KJx/Q/Q109xx.after P P P 1S*-3S-4S, all pass. * E/W were playing 12-14 NT.

North(Phil W.) lead 8D from :- Q/9xxx/98xxx/Axx. and South(me) held a [typical !] 1087x/A87/87x/Kxx.

Our declarer also playing 4S from West, same lead played to draw trumps intending to finesse JS (c.34% ?) and ended down one when AS dropped the Q, leaving South with a trump winner. Their West played off KS intending to cash AS,probably, he thought, leaving QS at large; thence to discarding dummy's Hearts on AKJ Diamonds. However on most layouts the defence can probably take a high Club in the hand with QS, draw two trumps for one and force dummy in Hearts, not necessarily in that order. This restricts declarer to 4 Spades,4 Diamonds and 1 Heart : down one.

Of course, in practice he felled QS, then forced out AH and took the marked Spade finesse to land +620: +13 imps to the men in black hats.

Can YOU, reader, calculate the success %age of his line ? It is quite tricky and depends on the positions of A Hearts and A,K Clubs. Also note that if South held all the key honours he would have opened third in hand.

The opposition line has upsides, notably when South holds Qx Spades or North single Q Spades - about 16.3%.

Any analysis will be welcome on

SCENE 2 A little Knowledge is a dangerous.........!

Game All, Dealer South. The Auction was the same in both rooms : !NT P 3NT all pass.

I was South and held KQ109/Ax/K102/7xxx, the 8 Clubs was lead in both rooms, and North tabled AJx/xxx/A8653K10.

Phew, at least we have avoided a Heart lead. So up with K Clubs, dropping the Q from East : it looks like the lead is from AJ98xx [as indeed it was]. I played a Diamond to the K and once again the Q fell. With 11 'vacant places' in East + 6 spaces in West's hand, it seems right to return to dummy with a Spade and lead up to 10 Diamonds. If you play off the A Diamonds and East has J974, the defence will restrict you to 8 tricks :- 4 spades,1 Heart,2Diamonds,1 Club before getting to cash Heart and Club winners.Unfortunately West produced J Diamonds and cashed his Clubs for down two : -200.

Meanwhile, back at the funny farm, the Club K felled the Q and their declarer took A then K of Diamonds, emerging with +660 for a gain of 13 imps. Note that, as before, if East has Jack to four Diamonds, South is booked for two off. An infuriating 26 imps swing against the practitioners of 'restricted choice'.

And so to SCENE 3 : the Empire strikes back!
Of course we were now down in the 24 board match, chasing points when the following arose with your correspondent sitting South, as before.
N/S were vul. and North opened 4 Spades, pass from East [I sensed reluctantly] and, holding Qx/Qxxx/AK109xxx/void, I decided to cue......5 Hearts, pass, 6 Spades, Double.
East lead K Clubs and North who held AKJ98xxx/xx/void/xxx quickly wrapped up 1660. A trump or Heart lead restricts declarer to 11 tricks. Amongst other goodies, East held A,K,Q Clubs and one top Heart honour.
Best wishes to all my bridge friends, Steve Burton.

  I only had an eight count

7th July 2012

I only had an eight count crying

by Phil Jones

At the club, I often hear ‘I only had 8 points there was nothing I could do’, or something similar.

Well, playing in the Portland Pairs a few years ago, my partner held an 8 count and held the key card to beat the opponents 4H contract. Would you believe she held 7 3 doubleton?


Dealer South
Love All
  NS Vul
Dlr East

♠ K 9
J 10 9 6
A K 8 7
♣ Q 10 6

  ♠ 10 6 5 2
 7 3
 J 9 6 5
♣ A K 3
  ♠ 7 4 3
 A Q 8
 10 2
♣ J 9 8 5 2
    ♠ A Q J 8
 K 5 4 2
 Q 4 3
♣ 7 4

The auction:



(Phil Jones)



(Christine Kempton)


  Pass 1NT Pass 2♣   
  Pass 2  Pass 4   
  All Pass        

My partner started well by cashing the ace & king of clubs and finding nothing else attractive continued a third. Whilst declarer was considering her next move I was also thinking about the heart position. I had a nice holding over dummy with AQ8 over J1096. If partner had the H7 then just maybe…….

Declarer eventually led the HJ and I jumped up with the ace and promptly continued another club: Yes I know that’s a ruff & discard but see what happens. Declarer cannot ruff high otherwise I get the HQ so she discards. This permits partner to ruff with the H7 and dummy has to over-ruff with the H9. This leaves me with the HQ8 sitting over the H106 in dummy and we’ve beaten the contract.

Well held partner! What a fantastic 8 HCP.smiley

  Another Criss Cross

2nd July 2011

Playing at Ardingley (Sussex) in July last year the following hand presented a genuine chance for an unusual squeeze play: the criss-cross.

Ardingly, 18th July 2010
Swiss Teams - Session 1 - Board 18
  NS Vul
Dlr East

♠ Q 8 7 6 4 3 2
 K 10 2
 Q 10
♣ 8

  ♠ 9
 A Q 6 3
 K 4 3
♣ K Q J 9 5
  ♠ A 5
 9 7
 J 8 7 6 2
♣ 10 7 6 2
    ♠ K J 10
 J 8 5 4
 A 9 5
♣ A 4 3


The auction:





(Michael Prior)



(Phil Jones)
  Pass 1NT 2♣ (Asptro) 2♠   
  3♣  Pass Pass 3♠   
  All Pass        


The opening lead was the 9 to the ace, then ♣J switch to dummy’s ace.

♠J to East’s ace and a club return, ruffed by declarer.

A trump to dummy and a club ruff, followed by a trump to dummy and a hook of the heart 10 left:


    ♠ Q 8
 Q 10

 Q 6
 K 4
♣ K
 J 8 7 6
♣ 10
 J 8
 A 9 5


So we have a heart winner opposite the menace of the J, the diamond winner opposite the menace of the Q and west holds both the Q & K. Two more trumps discarding diamonds from dummy gets you to this position with West still to play:

 Q 10

 Q 6
 K 4
[W - E] ♠  
 J 8 7
 J 8


If he parts with the 4 I will cash the A return to the K and cash Q. If he parts with the 6 I can cash the K, cross to the A and take the J for the last trick.

There is a warning on this hand. I claimed on the criss-cross with 6 cards still to play and my opponent was good enough to see the squeeze coming and conceded. BUT, a criss-cross requires declarer to ‘know’ where the cards are and to ‘know’ that the squeezee has unguarded a particular card, so if declarer isn’t watching very carefully he may go wrong. I would suggest never conceding a criss-cross claim.