The first serious F2F bridge tournament we have played for almost two years was the Premier League last weekend. Whatever anyone says, live playing is a totally different game. The atmosphere was bubbling with excitement as the post mortems outside unravelled the tricky hands. The beginner’s mantra, which holds true at any level, is count your tricks in No Trump and count your losers in a suit contract. But sometimes the losers seem to float around and swap places with each other, as on this hand from the first weekend played by my teammate Espen Erichsen.
West led the ◆Q, taken by South. Declarer could see two losers in Hearts, at least one in Spades and possibly one in Clubs, so the contract seemed to depend on the location of the ♣K. Espen cashed Ace and King of Spades, and then played a Heart through East to his King and tried the Club finesse — East winning and shooting a Club back, won in dummy.
After taking one more Club, it was time to put West on lead with the ♠Q, but West had an exit with the fourth Club, which dummy had to ruff. When East followed, it confirmed the count of the whole hand, and that West had only Diamonds left. The last Diamond was led from dummy and ducked to West, who had to return one into South’s King-10, allowing two heart discards from dummy. So after South had made his calculations on having two heart losers, he actually lost none, and instead managed to lose a trick in the Diamond suit (where he had none to start with) for the return of two tricks.
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