12 APRIL 1997, Page 56


All is known

Andrew Robson

JUST as the serve at tennis and the drive at golf are crucial in determining the out- come, the first trick in a hand of bridge is the most important.

This week's hand is amazing in that declarer knew the location of all 52 cards at the end of the first trick. I fear it is a goulash, but nonetheless highly instructive.

Dealer West North-South vulnerable

The Bidding

South West North East 44 Double pass 6, pass pass pass 7V pass North's raise to 7, was optimistic in the light of the expected bad breaks that goulash bridge creates. But partner held 4A and good enough trumps to give the contract a chance.

West led 4K on which East discarded +3. This marked all four trumps with West, as well as his nine spades. He was therefore void in both minors. Can you see a way for declarer to succeed?

With East marked with +0, it is hard to see how declarer can prevail, but there is a way. He wins *A, trumps a 4 in dummy, crosses to V9 and trumps his last 4. He overtakes VK with VA and draws West's trumps, discarding 49 and 41 from dummy, leaving 4AKJ9 and 44AK. East has to discard from 4Q1087 and 4Q108. If he discards a 4, then declarer will play 4A, 4K and niff out East's *Q. He will make the last three tricks with dummy's top 4s and 4J. Thus East is forced to discard another 4. Now declarer cashes dummy's minor suit ace-king, trumps a third • and makes the last trick with +2 (which he has retained for maximum effect!). He has just executed a 'criss-cross squeeze'.