Bridge | 2 July 2022

2 July 2022

9:00 AM

2 July 2022

9:00 AM

Rubber bridge is a game that happens to suit me very well: you can come and go as you please and you don’t need a partner. You just wait for those magic words ‘Table up’ and you reply ‘One in’!

Ofc I quite understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea: there are so many different personalities – some you like and some you can’t stand. And most of them, good, bad or indifferent, want to tell you what you did wrong at the end of a hand – which is fine if it’s said pleasantly and not shaking their head and muttering some profanity. It also helps if they are right!

No matter how basic, advice can be helpful. This is something David Herman, who sadly died last year, told me early on in my rubber bridge days.

‘Our aim when defending 3NT is to get it off, which means taking five or more tricks.’ This simple sentence may sound terribly insulting to the average player, and yet you see hands like the one below mis-defended every day. A standard auction to the standard contract and, indeed, the standard lead of the ♥Q.

South ducks and another Heart goes to East’s King, South again letting it hold, as he doesn’t know they’re 4-4.

East knows, though, and three Hearts plus an Ace does not beat 3NT; yet, if you see anyone making the logical switch to a high Spade here, they’re almost certainly experts.

Declarer can’t afford to rise with the Ace of Spades, obviously, so West wins the trick and goes back to Hearts – one down.

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