Bridge - The Scotsman 29/05/12

This 14-imp swing from the Scottish Cup Final clinched a concession after 48 boards.

Pre-empting on an ace-empty suit is risky, but rarely punished. Here Dave Walker was not strong enough to bid 3H so he made a negative double, which Brian Short converted for penalties. South led a spade to the jack and ace, and declarer played a diamond to the king. North cashed the king of spades, removing dummy’s second trump, and switched to a heart, aiming to establish winners for partner. Declarer tried to cash a second heart, but Brian ruffed low and was overruffed. Declarer led a low club, and Walker rose with the ten to play a heart winner. East ruffed, and played ace and another club. Short won, drew the last trump with his nine, cashed another club and put partner in with the ace of diamonds to make the last two tricks. Declarer made three trump and two aces for -800.

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In the other room, where John Matheson overcalled 1S, North-South reached 3NT, doubled by Les Steel. When dummy played low on the six of spades lead best defence is to duck, restricting North to two spade tricks, but that was too difficult even for Steel. North took the queen with the king and played clubs. Matheson ducked twice, won the third club, and cleared the suit, establishing a club to cash when he won the ace of spades. Declarer made six tricks in the black suits and ace-king of diamonds for one down.