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David Hodge in Loughborough
a 'Choose Your Own Declarer Play' adventure

Here is my favourite hand from a bridge weekend in Loughborough in late September.

I shall guide you through the bidding and the play of the cards, then leave you in the lurch at the critical moment, to work things out for yourself. You are sitting South and hold:
S A K Q J T 5 3
H J 9 8 4
D 7
C 5

The player on your right is dealer and no-one is vulnerable. They begin with a pass. Understandably you open 1S, not eager to pre-empt partner and miss a slam. West overcalls 2C, and partner makes a negative double. Then East bids 2S (showing values and club support).

Now you're wishing you'd just opened 4S really as you're not too hopeful that they're not going to bid 5C as a good sacrifice. Your partner has four-card heart support for you, but with all the points flying around you decide it best to try 4S.

West doubles. And you all pass. Maybe slam wasn't the thing to worry about...

West leads the CA and your partner tables the following not too unsurprising dummy:
S  —
H K Q 6 5
D Q T 9 6 5 4 3
C Q 9 6

You play the six from table, East follows with the three, and you follow with your five. After a little thought, West now switches to the D8. You put the ten up from dummy and East goes into a long think, after a little time he emerges and plays the DK; you follow and then he places the D2 on the table.

What now?
[Choose your card before you read on to the end]

Another of my favourite hands, for the sheer comedy value, was this one, which followed soon after the fallout from the above hand. A superb illustration of the power of Lucas Twos...

At most tables West chose to pass at green and after a weak 2D from North and partner's 2S overcall probably ended up declaring 4S, if not even more when South's super diamond support showed East that his partner must be void. Spades, however, is not the best denomination on this hand.

At our table the auction progressed as follows:



all pass


¹ Lucas Two: at least 5–4 in hearts and a minor, 7–11 points
² asking for partner's minor

Our opponents had successfully found their best fit, and indeed the suit they could make the most tricks in.
West deals  S K 5 
 H Q 8 5 
 D Q J T 9 7 5 
 C Q 2 
 S 7 4 3 
 H K J 9 6 2 
 D  — 
 C K 9 8 7 3 
NS vul  S A Q T 6 2 
 D 8 6 3 
 C A J 6 4 
 S J 9 8 
 H T 7 4 3 
 D A K 4 2 
 C T 5 

Now we can return to the first hand. Which spade did you play on the diamond return from S A K Q J T 5 3, H J 9 8 4,D —,C —?

Turn to paragraph 41.