Mark Horton

Clerical Error

Bridge is tough enough without the addition of mechanical mistakes. You know the type of thing I mean, a revoke, a lead out of turn, pulling the wrong card etc.

One of my occasional teammates describes such lapses as ‘clerical errors’. They are usually fatal, but every now and then a resourceful player may survive. Here is a perfect illustration from the final of the Lebhar IMP Pairs:

Dealer: North

Vul: Both

5 2
J 10 9 5 4
Q J 3
10 8 3
West East
9 4 3 A K Q 10
A 6 2 Q 8 7 3
9 8 7 6 K
A 9 7 J 6 5
J 8 6
A 10 5 4 2
K Q 4 2
West: Russel

North East: Kovachev

Pass 1 Pass
2 All Pass

Bulgarian star Valio Kovachev’s inadvertent opening bid landed his side in a moysian fit, but the deal served to illustrate how well the declarer can cope with only seven trumps.

South led the king of clubs and declarer made the natural play of ducking. South switched to a spade and declarer won in hand and continued with two top spades, discarding a diamond from dummy. North ruffed and switched to a diamond for the king and ace and South exited with a diamond, ruffed by declarer.

Valio played a heart to the king and ace, ruffed a diamond and ruffed a spade. North overruffed and returned a trump but declarer won and played a winning spade. North had to ruff and lead away from the ten of clubs.

That gave declarer eight tricks which matched the total achieved by those who played in spades.

(With open cards, declarer does best to win the ace of clubs at trick one and then follow the line adopted by Valio. After the king of clubs is ducked South can cash the ace of diamonds and then exit with the king of hearts, which upsets declarer’s timing.)

1 Comment

LiraJune 28th, 2009 at 9:35 am


East is only holding 12 cards.

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