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Play trumps fluidly

Derek Rimington  

BOLS liqueurs are liquids, albeit very famous ones. Fluidity, one of the qualities of liquids, also applies in contract bridge to the effective utilisation of the trumps. Declarer especially must ensure that his trumps remain so. This is often achieved when drawing trumps by cashing the top honours in such a way as to leave entries to both hands.

To illustrate, here is an example adapted from a rubber bridge grand slam played by the legendary Helen Sobel:

 

 

  South Dealer A 7 6 5    

 

Game All

 9 7 4 2

 

 

 

 

 A J 5

 

 

 

 

 A 6

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

4 3     J 2

 8

 

W                          E

 J 10 5 3

 K 10 9

 

 

 Q 8 7 6 4 2

 Q J 10 6 4 3 2

 

 

 9

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 K Q 10 9 8

 

 

 

 

 A K Q 6

 

 

 

 

 3

 

 

 

 

 K 8 7

 

 

                           

W

N

E

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  West leads the queen of clubs against Seven Spades. With the aid of a club ruff declarer apparently has thirteen tricks, barring bad breaks, just the time to take care! Primarily to guard against a 4-0 trump break in either hand, after winning the king of clubs, declarer cashes the king of spades. When both opponents follow it may not appear of any consequence which spade honour to play next. This is not so; the queen should be selected for fluidity, thus preserving the ace of spades as an entry to dummy.

Again both opponents follow, so declarer cashes the ace of diamonds and ruffs a diamond. Dummy is re-entered with a club, East showing out. Another diamond is ruffed, proving that West originally had a 2-1-3-7 or 2-0-4-7 shape. All is not lost provided West has a singleton heart other than the five or three.

Accordingly, the ace of hearts is cashed. When West contributes the eight the contract is certain. A club is ruffed and a low heart led. Declarer intended to make the spectacular play of finessing the six. Should East split his honours, fluidity saves the day. Dummy can be reached with the ace of spades for another heart play.

MY next example again is a reconstruction. The original hand was used by Robert Ewen in the context of tactical bidding.

Here is my suggested auction playing five-card majors:

  South Dealer K 9 7    

 

Love All

 7 5 3

 

 

 

 

 6 4 2

 

 

 

 

 A Q 5 3

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

Q J 10 8     -----

 K J 4

 

W                          E

 Q 10 9 8 6 2

 10 9 8

 

 

 7 5 2

 K J 2

 

 

 10 9 8 4

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

A 6 5 4 3 2

 

 

 

 

 A

 

 

 

 

 A K Q J

 

 

 

 

 7 6

 

 

                           

W

N

E

S

 

 

 

1♠

Pass

2♠

Pass

3

Pass

4♣

Pass

6♠

 

All

Pass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the "safe "lead  of the ten of diamonds declarer wins and considers the problem. It is routine to finesse the queen of clubs before tackling trumps. Should it fail, trumps have to break 2-2. Technique demands, however, that the ace of hearts is cashed immediately.

When the club finesse wins, a heart is ruffed. Declarer continues with a low trump intending to cover the eight, should it appear, with the nine. This is a standard safety play which guarantees the contract, barring an unlikely ruff. When West splits his honours dummy wins with the king. Another heart is ruffed. A club is then led to the ace and a club is ruffed another type of fluidity. All is well so three top diamonds are played. West is in trouble on the fourth. If he ruffs low, he is overruffed. If he ruffs high he is endplayed and forced to lead back a spade into declarer's split tenace.

If West had known more about fluidity he would have led the king of clubs and defeated

the contract. After all, the cue-bid of Four Clubs had pinpointed the whereabouts of the ace.

Finally, a wonderful, unaltered hand from the acknowledged master, Terence Reese:

  West Dealer 6 4 3 2    

 

Love All

 J 6 4

 

 

 

 

 Q 10 4

 

 

 

 

 8 4 3

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

J 8 7     -------

 A K Q 9 7 3 2

 

W                          E

 8

 9

 

 

 K J 8 7 5 2

 9 5

 

 

 Q J 10 7 6 2

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

A K Q 10 9 5

 

 

 

 

 10 5

 

 

 

 

 A 6 3

 

 

 

 

 A K

 

 

 

 

 

After West opened Four Hearts, South became declarer in Four Spades. West led three top hearts and declarer ruffed the third round by now you will have guessed with the nine of trumps. He then cashed the ace of spades and was disappointed to see East discard. Otherwise he had intended to draw trumps,

cash the ace-king of clubs, enter dummy with the six of spades and ruff a club. A low diamond would then probably bring forth the king from West or endplay East.

Fluidity again came to the rescue. Trumps were drawn, and the ace-king of clubs cashed. When West followed, twelve of his cards were known. If the thirteenth was the king, jack or nine(!) of diamonds the contract would be made by leading a low diamond and ducking in dummy. If West is left on lead he is endplayed. If East overtakes the nine with the jack and returns a club, declarer ruffs high. He then crosses to dummy with the five of trumps and leads the queen of diamonds for a finesse!

Have you ever seen a play of this type before? I haven't, but you now understand why I suggest you adopt my BOLS bridge tip:

 

PLAY TRUMPS FLUIDLY

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