This is my last column before Christmas (I know… I’ll miss you too) and as 2018 rolls to an end the only tournament left for me to play is the Year End Congress in London. I could have gone to Hawaii to play the Reisinger, main event of the American Fall National, but it’s too far and I’m barely over the jet lag from Orlando.
I have been following proceedings on BBO, and checking out the many other functions on the site while I’m at it. Fred Gitelman, the founder-manager, wrote a blog for many years and it makes fascinating reading. He highly recommends Test Your Play as Declarer by Paul Lukacs and Jeff Rubens and if today’s hand is anything to go by I can’t wait to get it. If you want to see if you can find the best line to almost guarantee your slam, cover up the East/West cards before continuing.
The bidding was somewhat agricultural but it got them to a great contract quickly and efficiently. West led ♠Jack, which went round to South’s Queen. There is a line that (almost) guarantees 12 tricks. Can you find it?
Obviously, the contract hinges on how the diamond suit is handled and how to reach dummy to enjoy them. If you play diamonds from the top, you will almost certainly go down if one of the defenders has ♦Q x x . You can’t play them from the top so you must play them from the bottom! If you lead the ♦3 to the Jack in dummy and East takes his Queen it’s game over. Clearly he must hold up, but if he does it’s still game over. You unblock the ♦King and play a low club to dummy, thereby creating an entry to the good diamonds and claiming 12 tricks. Merry Christmas, y’all.