Bridge Column

Robert D. Rosenblum ~ A New Yawker. Took up bridge on moving to San Diego in 1954. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University. Wrote weekly bridge column for the San Diego Union for twenty years (1968-1988); bridge feature writer for Copley News Service (1975-1981).

A travel agent since 1969. Opened Travel-On Cruises & Tours in 1987 and still finds it challenging. Organizer, escort, director and lecturer, with wife, Mary Ann, of approximately sixty-five “bridge” cruises. In 1981 helped Mary Ann create what has become the largest bridge club in San Diego County. Member of the District 22 Board of Directors for 10 years, 1970-1980. President of the Board for two years. Member of the ACBL Goodwill Committee. Served on the San Diego Unit Board for many years. Driving force behind the formation of the San Diego County Association of Bridge Units and its membership roster. Organized a pre-Regional publicity team game against Phoenix in 1964 won by the lesser known San Diegans. Co-host San Diego’s Fall North American Championships in 1984.

Eight Ever Nine Never

South Deals Both Vul

Elimination plays are a basic weapon in declarer’s arsenal. The idea is to reduce the number of options available to a defender and eventually commit him to a self-damaging play.

South pushes to a small slam after partner shows club support. North’s two diamond bid is artificial, denying the values for a positive response. After clubs have been agreed both partners cue bid controls; when North shows the ace of spades South feels justified undertaking a twelve trick contract.

The lazy declarer plays too forcefully here. He wins the opening heart lead discarding a diamond from dummy. When two top trumps fail to drop the queen he must ultimately fall back on a diamond finesse. West, however, produces the king and the slam falls a trick short.

Can the slam be made? Legitimately, without peeking? Yes.

Declarer must cash the trump ace at trick two, then the king of hearts. He ruffs the third heart (!) and leads a club. When East follows South covers with the nine and claims.

If, as here, East holds three clubs declarer loses no trump trick. Now the diamond finesse is tried without fear, a chance for an overtrick. If, on the other hand, West wins the second club lead, he is end-played. With hearts and clubs stripped, West must lead a diamond into declarer’s ace, queen thereby eliminating the diamond loser, or a spade into the king, ten. This latter provides two diamond discards – on the ace and queen of spades – dummy being gained by overtaking the carefully preserved seven of clubs. A heart return is equally suicidal, allowing South a ruff and discard. One diamond goes away here, the other on North’s queen of spades.

Overriding considerations cause declarer to reject the normal play in trumps for a sure line.

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