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In pair events, play for the max

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Updated: October 5, 2012 6:02AM



Paul Lynde, an actor and comedian who died in 1982, said, “My table seats eight, so that’s my maximum. Having a small number of guests is the only way to generate good conversation. Besides, my house doesn’t get wrecked that way.”

When you play in a pair event scored by matchpoints, you should play for the maximum number of tricks, assuming the probability is in your favor. Do not take crazy chances; just play sensibly.

This deal was played four times in a duplicate. The contracts were four spades, five spades and six spades (twice). One declarer in six spades went down two, the two in game won 11 tricks, and one South in slam got home.

How should South play in spades after West starts with the heart king and another heart?

North has an awkward opening bid. It is strong enough for two clubs, but the likely start of two clubs - two diamonds - three diamonds risks consuming too much space. And if that had happened, what would South have bid next? In theory, three spades would show at least a five-card suit.

So North opens one diamond, hoping to get past this round. Then, when South responds one spade, North has another problem. But since he has only three losers, it is hard to criticize his use of Blackwood.

To find the right road to 12 tricks, count winners. Here, South must take three spades, four diamonds, two clubs, two heart ruffs on the board and a diamond ruff in hand. Declarer ruffs at trick two, cashes the diamond ace, ruffs a diamond, ruffs a heart, draws trumps, and claims.



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