Bridge: July 7, 2024

Bridge: July 7, 2024

“You told me your sweet wife had a birthday coming up,” I said to Unlucky Louie in the club lounge. “Did you get her a nice gift?”

“I got Esther a practical gift,” Louie told me. “I special-ordered her a smoke alarm for our kitchen. It shuts off automatically when she yells, ‘I’m just cooking.’”

Louie attributes his unending losses in the club’s penny game to bad luck. He needs an alarm of his own — to warn him that he is about to goof. Louie was South in today’s deal. Since he had almost balanced pattern and a ready source of tricks, he would have done better to raise North’s 2NT to 3NT.

Against four hearts, West led the king of spades, and Louie swiftly played low from dummy and unblocked his jack. When West led another spade, dummy’s ten won, but when Louie tried to discard on the ace, East ruffed.

Louie overruffed, drew trumps and took the A-K of clubs. When the queen didn’t fall, he exited with the jack, but West won and led another spade. Louie had to lead diamonds from his hand, and he lost two tricks in that suit and went down one.

Esther’s cooking is better than Louie’s dummy play. Louie habitually plays too fast; he could have benefitted from an alarm at the first trick. Louie should take the ace of spades, draw trumps and lead his jack of spades.

When West takes the queen, he must concede the contract with any return. A spade lets Louie pitch a loser on dummy’s ten, a club gives him a free finesse and a diamond ensures that Louie will lose only one diamond trick.

South dealer

Both sides vulnerable


S A 10 5

H 7 4

D 9 7 5 4 2

C 8 4 3


S K Q 9 6 4 2

H 8 3

D Q 8

C Q 10 6


S 8 3

H 10 6 5

D A 10 6 3

C 9 7 5 2


S J 7

H A K Q J 9 2



South West North East
2 C Pass 2 D Pass
2 H Pass 2 NT Pass
4 H All Pass
Opening lead — S K

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