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For bridge hands of interest

Fraud at Grand Slam level

Have a look at this hand, from the 2007 Venice Cup.

Dealer: East. Both vul.

          ♠ AKQ983

WEST                EAST
♠ J5                ♠ 764
 K843               JT952
 AT763              KJ98
 64                 K
          ♠ T2

            Pass  Pass
Pass  1C    Pass  1D   1C=16+ 1D=neg
Pass  2S    Pass  2NT
Pass  3C    Pass  4C
Pass  5NT   Pass  7C
All pass

Playing Precision, the 1C opening was artificial and strong, while the 1D response was the artificial negative. North showed spades and clubs, then jumped to 5NT “grand slam force”, asking South to bid grand slam with good trumps else sign off in 6C. With limited room to move, South took a stab at the grand.

You are West and your partner leads the HJ on which dummy's HQ is played. How do you proceed?

Read more: Fraud at Grand Slam level

Reading the situation

At the 2007 World Championships, the International Bridge Press Association presented its annual Personality of the Year award.

Past winners of this award had included some of the great players and writers of the bridge world, as well as some who had achieved fame in other areas, such as Chinese leader Deng Xiao-Ping, whose love and promotion of the game helped China achieve its position as a great bridge-playing nation.

The 2007 winner, however, was a full-time professional bridge player and journalist, and perhaps the world’s best known high-stakes rubber bridge player. Patrick Jourdain, presenting the award, stated: “He is one of the world’s best card players but has never won an Open World title. You will guess who it is when I tell you that this man can name three different countries as his home. This past year he can be proud of an achievement that occurred away from the bridge table. When the country of his birth was devastated by earthquake he initiated a fund-raising exercise for $150 000 that has resulted in the building of a school in the earthquake-ravaged part of Pakistan. Our winner is the world’s most charismatic bridge player: Zia Mahmood of Pakistan, Great Britain and the USA.”

The favourites to win the 2007 World Championships were Italy and USA 2, but in the end it was Norway who won with USA 1 as the runners-up. Zia was on the USA 1 team and on today’s hand he read the cards well, in the match against the other American team. How would you have done in this situation in Zia's position, West?

Read more: Reading the situation

Bringing home the slam

This deal sees you in a 6D contract, against which West has made the passive lead of a trump. What is your best play for the contract?

♠ Q93

SOUTH (declarer)
♠ A4

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All is revealed

How would you assess the following hand?

♠ AQJ92

Read more: All is revealed

Lightner doubles at lower levels

Last month’s challenge mentioned that double of a freely bid slam is a Lightner or lead-directing double, usually asking for a lead of dummy’s first bid suit. Double of 3NT is also a Lightner double in much the same way. After North opens in spades and South twice bids hearts, what should you do with the West hand after North settles in 3NT?

♠ T752


Read more: Lightner doubles at lower levels

Lightner strikes twice

Theodore Lightner (1893-1981) proposed that a double of a freely bid slam should ask for an unusual lead. The theory is that it is important to use the double to tell partner what to lead so you defeat the contract, rather than worry about doubling just to win a few extra points because you think you are taking them down.

Typically the doubler has a void and needs partner to lead that suit to score the ruff. Consider this hand:

Read more: Lightner strikes twice

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