Bridge: Oct. 6, 2019

In what is referred to as a “compression play,” the defenders start with, say, four sure tricks against a major-suit game — and somehow manage to compress them into three.

Someone defined the ultimate compression play: You ruff your partner’s ace with your own natural trump trick, thereby end-playing yourself and simultaneously rectifying the count so that declarer can squeeze you.

A compression play may not involve ludicrous errors. In today’s deal, North-South bid to six spades. North was willing to take over with an ace-asking Blackwood bid at his second turn, and when South showed two aces, North leaped to slam. (At matchpoint duplicate, the best spot would have been 6NT.)

West led a heart, and declarer won and cashed the A-Q of trumps. If the suit had split 3-2, he would have had 12 easy tricks, but when West unkindly discarded, two losers seemed inevitable.

South didn’t give up. He cashed three more hearts for a club discard, as East had to follow suit. South then took the king of trumps and the A-K of diamonds and led a third diamond from dummy. If East ruffed with his high trump, declarer would get rid of his last club loser. So East discarded, and South ruffed.

Declarer then led a club to dummy’s ace at Trick 11 and returned the last diamond. East was helpless. Whether he ruffed or discarded, South would score his last trump to fulfill the slam. He had compressed his two losers into one.

With best play, no opening lead beats six spades.

South dealer

N-S vulnerable


S K 5 3

H A Q J 3

D K 10 7 6



S 2

H 9 7

D J 9 8 4 3

C K 10 7 3 2


S J 10 9 8

H 8 6 4 2

D Q 5

C Q 9 6


S A Q 7 6 4

H K 10 5

D A 2

C 8 5 4

South West North East

1 S Pass 2 D Pass

2 S Pass 4 NT Pass

5 H Pass 6 S All Pass

Opening lead — H 9

(C)2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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