The Marit Sveaas International Bridge Tournament (MS IBT) is among the open pair tournaments presenting the highest price money in the world. This is made possible because of sponsors and the contribution from Christen Sveaas in memory of his late mother. Marit Sveaas were a highly skilled bridge player representing the Norwegian ladies team in the 70s.
179 pairs played the 2018 version of MS IBT. It was a mix of young, old, top class and regular tournament players. The winners were Nils Kvangraven – Terje Lie from Norway.
Let’s look at one of the many interesting boards. At this hand you will take the seat as declarer, could you do better than the top-class players did?
5 diamonds seem to be a nice spot. The double from east told about at least 8 hcp and normally 2-card hearts.
West do not surprise, he leads the king of hearts. How would you have planned to play this hand?
The declarer gave it a thought. It the queen of diamonds dropped he could ruff two diamonds for the contract. This was not very likely, so he had to find a better chance.
He would need another trick in spades of clubs to make the contract. If west holds the king or queen of clubs it would be an easy make, or maybe it was possible to combine this with the spades? Declarer found the solution. He continued with a spade, west played low and declarer asked for the king. East won the ace and returned a heart ruffed in dummy. A low spade was ruffed, the ace of diamonds next only got 5 and 3 from opponents. Next declarer played a club to the ten, east winning with the queen returning a spade ruffed by declarer, west following with the ten.
Declarer did not have much more to do than try the finesse in clubs once more. This did not work, the board looked like this
East won the king and down went the contract.
Was there a chance for a better line of play?
Declarer forgot to use the information given in the bidding. When he knows east has only 2-card hearts he have a lot of spades and clubs. Declarer should have ruffed a heart, played the ace and king of diamonds then led a club to the ten.
East would then be endplayed holding only clubs and spades. No matter who has the ace of spades and king of clubs east has to build the 11th trick for declarer.
Such a easy play, yet so hard to see.
I bet you did find the solution without looking at all four hands?