23 SEPTEMBER 1995, Page 57


Can you count?

Andrew Robson

THE GREATEST breakthrough to one's bridge is acquiring the ability to count and thus to reconstruct the hidden hands. I rec- ommend short cuts: say you are declaring and both you and dummy have four trumps; you never need count those eight cards, merely the opponents' five; and think of those five cards in the possible divisions: three and two (most likely), four and one etc. Note you have not had to count up to 13. See how counting the cards helped British International Sally Brock make a tricky slam: Dealer South East-West Vulnerable The Bidding

South West North East Sf Pass All Pass West led 47 which Sally ruffed. She cashed 4A, discovering the bad split, crossed to VA, ruffed a spade, ruffed a heart and ruffed a third spade on which West discarded. She gave West his trump trick and West exited with a heart on which East surprisingly discarded. The contract appeared to hinge on guessing • Q, but Sally was counting. West had shown two spades, two clubs and, because East discarded on the third round of hearts, eight hearts. Therefore he had just one diamond. Sally led a diamond to dummy's ace and returned *5; when East followed low, she inserted *10. The slain was made — only a trump trick was lost.

Bridge Competition Win a week for two at Reid's Hotel In next week's issue we are running an excit- ing bridge quiz. Winners will stay at Reid's Hotel on Madeira for a week (flights not included), to join one of four special 'Bridge Weeks. This break combines playing and instruction by professionals with the oppor- tunity to stay in one of the world's great deluxe 5-star hotels.