Join Bridge Winners
Barbershop
(Page of 5)

North
AQ3
2
K5
AQ107532
South
K1065
AJ109876
Q3
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
3
P
4
P
P
P

 

The auction is a little brusque, but the contract is a good one. West leads the two of spades. Your opponents are good but not great players, playing fourth-best leads and standard signals. IMP scoring - don't worry about overtricks, making the contract is just fine.

At first glance, it's enough to play this hand in a straightforward manner - run the spade lead to your hand, and play ace and another heart. You can concede two trumps and the ace of diamonds and score a happy 420.

East wins the second heart as West shows out. Another spade comes back, and it occurs to you now that you're going down if West has the ace of diamonds - East will win the third heart, cross with a diamond, and ruff a spade for down one.

West
J972
5
A10742
J96
North
AQ3
2
K5
AQ107532
East
84
KQ43
J986
K84
South
K1065
AJ109876
Q3
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

OK, this hand will require more delicate timing. We need to kill the diamond entry before the defenders set up their spade ruff. So, win the spade lead and lead a diamond at trick two. Now the diamond entry is used prematurely, and we can draw trumps in peace.

So, we lead a diamond at trick two. East wins his ace and leads a spade, ruffed. Two more trump losers result in down one. Unlucky.

West
2
KQ54
J9862
K86
North
AQ3
2
K5
AQ107532
East
J9874
3
A1074
J94
South
K1065
AJ109876
Q3
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0

If this is the layout, then the only winning line is to win the opening spade lead in dummy and play the ace and queen of clubs, discarding two diamonds. West gets a surprise trick with the club king, but he can't reach his partner for a spade ruff anymore.

So, is there a line which takes into account both possible spade layouts?

Well, we can try. Win the opening lead in dummy, disdaining the free finesse of running the spade to the ten. Now East's card at trick one is a signal instead of a feeble effort to win the trick. If he plays his lowest spade then the danger is that the lead was a singleton, and you should play ace and queen of clubs. If he plays any other spade, then the risk is that the lead was from four to the jack, and you should lead a diamond.

So why "Barbershop"?

 

Well, you have a choice of two different scissors coups. Or you can get clipped.

 

 

This hand is real - I played it 20 years ago in a tournament in Australia. No, it wasn't possible to go down, but when trumps broke 4-1 I started to worry and think about how I should have played it.

8 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top