Chess - The Scotsman 26/02/13

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THE books tell us that 25 points are required to make 3NT. But experience tells us that 3NT may fail with more points, or make with fewer.

Generally this is because we have a long running suit, or there is a misdefence, but on this deal from the Scottish Women’s Teams there is simply no defence to the 22-point game.

South opened 2D, and West chose to bid 2NT, very much bottom of the range for the bid with such a delicate stopper in opponent’s suit. West might pass opposite a 16-18 2NT, but she thought it worth looking for a heart fit, and so the partnership reached game. North led the king of diamonds. Since South probably had an entry in spades, declarer had to duck, relying on the 6-1 break. North now tried the queen of clubs – and declarer ducked again. Another club gives declarer a third trick in that suit, so North switched to hearts. Declarer won the ten and ran the seven of spades to South’s ace. South led a club, but declarer simply took the ace and led another spade to the king. She made two spades, four hearts a diamond and two clubs, nine in all.

In the other room West doubled 2D, and East responded 2H showing limited values. South led the eight of clubs, and this declarer also set about spades. She could make nine tricks in a similar fashion, but played carefully to make eight, only to discover that she had lost 10 imps for her pains