At Rubber or Teams, a making game contract is always good but, at Duplicate, the overtricks can transform your score.

Dealer North
Game All


North’s 3H response was a transfer, forcing a 3S re-bid. 3NT was natural. West led 8♥. Nine tricks can be taken immediately, but by what methods should you seek overtricks?

If West leads 3♦, all is easy for South; on 7♣ or 8♥ lead, the same problem exists. To try to establish spade tricks is unlikely to work: the defence will probably take ♠KQ and ♦AK. Successful declarers decided to look for at least one extra diamond trick. At one table, South won 8♥ lead with dummy’s J♥, and then cashed ♥AK, discarding 5♠ from dummy. Knowing that the leader started with a short suit made him believe that West was long elsewhere. At trick four, he played 2♦ and, when West followed low, he inserted 8♦ from dummy, drawing A♦ from East. Only a spade switch from East now can prevent declarer from scoring two diamond tricks and making two overtricks — and knowing that South almost certainly held only a doubleton might persuade him to try this — but he led a lame club to declarer’s K♣ in hand; J♦ followed. Whatever West does cannot stop 11 tricks.

In the event, nine tricks scored 35 per cent, 10 tricks were worth about 70 per cent and 11 tricks over 95 per cent.

Paul Mendelson’s new book, ‘The Joy of Bridge’, is out now

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