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California NewsUSA

December 31, 2023 – The Mercury News

“A perfectionist walks into a bar. Apparently the bar wasn’t high enough.” — graffiti.

No one ever suggested that bridge was easy to master. Part of its charm is that perfection is unattainable. No one has ever played a perfect session, and no one ever will. No one will even come close.

When today’s deal was made in a four-man tag team match, South was playing four spades at both tables. Both Norths opened a club and then moved to 2NT, improving the hand quite reasonably due to maximum high card strength and a promising five-card suit. Both Wests were leading the jack of diamonds.

At one table, declarer played dummy’s queen and captured the eastern king. He drew trumps and let the jack of clubs rise. East took the king and returned a diamond to West’s ten, and West then turned into a heart. When declarer presented dummy’s king in desperation, he lost three tricks of hearts for a down two.

At the other table, the game started the same way – jack of diamonds opening head, queen, king – but South let the Eastern king win. Then the defense couldn’t use West’s ten as an entry for a change of hearts, but East switched to the ace and jack of hearts. After declarer drew trumps and lost club finesse, East led a third heart to West’s queen. Down by just one, but still down.

A perfect game results in four spades. South must play a low diamond from dummy in the first round and take the ace. He draws the trumps and subtleties in the clubs. When East takes the king, all it can do is cash in its king of diamonds and ace of hearts to limit South to just 10 tricks.

North Dealer

BORN. vulnerable

NORTH

SAQ9

Hong Kong 8 6

QD 6

CAQ10 8 4

WEST

S 6 2

HQ 9 4 3

DJ 10 8 4

C762

EAST

S 5 4

HAJ 5

DK 7 5 3 2

CK9 3

SOUTH

SKJ10 8 7 3

H 10 7 2

DA 9

JC 5

North East South West
1 Pass C 1 Pass S
2 NT Pass 4 S All Pass
Leading role — DJ

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