Susanna Gross

Bridge | 13 June 2019

Bridge | 13 June 2019
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Bridge is such a complex, multi-layered game that a single hand can be approached in myriad ways, depending on the skill of the player. In fact, peering into the mind of a world-class player is a bit like entering another dimension; there are possibilities you didn’t even know existed.

At a recent pairs tournament, most North-South pairs bid and made 4♠ on the deal below. How, I wondered, did Artur Malinowski manage an overtrick? His answer blew me away:

West (Justin Hackett) led a trump. Artur drew a second round, then ran the 9 to  East’s A. East switched to a heart. West won the Q with his K, and returned the J to Artur’s A. Ten tricks were in the bag: 5 spades, the A, a ruff, two diamonds (via another finesse) and the ♣A. But could West be squeezed in clubs and diamonds for an extra trick?

Here was Artur’s thinking: West was a top player. Had he held 4+ diamonds and the ♣K, he would have foreseen the squeeze, and broken it up by playing a second diamond (sorry, this is tricky stuff). So Artur decided to place him with the ♣J instead. He ruffed a heart in dummy and played the ♣Q — a technique known as transferring the menace.

After capturing East’s ♣K with his ♣A he played trumps, reaching this position: ♠A 4 ♣105 opposite KJ10 ♣7. West held uQ65 ♣J. On the ♠A West was squeezed. He discarded the ♣J and Artur’s ♣10 became his 11th trick. Genius.