Elimination Play From The Marathon Tournament

It happens, sometimes, that we all make the mistake of bidding very aggressive game contracts in pairs tournaments, alhough it has a large negative expected value (EV). Also in the following hand, making the 4 contract was 90% score, and playing 3 +1 would have been 65%.

My partner was Balint Homonnay in the Marathon Tournament. He is a very talented young player, member of the Hungarian Junior National Team, son of Geza Homonnay, former national team member, President of the Hungarian Bridge Federation. I have been coaching Balint for a year.

In the Marathon Tournament we played 80 hands in 2 sessions. I like playing in it, because the prizes are good, and most of the top pairs of Hungary are taking part. I have good previous results, I played 5 times the tournament and made 4 medals, 2 of them were gold.

This year we won the tournament, which was the first victory of Balint in bridge. (he has more chances, only 22 years old).

We played against Zoltan Magyari and Istvan Vidami in board 40. They are from Transsylvania and they play very solid bridge.

Watching the hand I still dislike our bidding, but it was too late to be more careful. The opening lead was the two of clubs, opps were playing 3/5 opening leads vs suit contracts.

I played low, Vidami won it with the King in East and played back the club to destroy the communication to the dummy. I won the 2nd club with the Ace and played a small diamond from the dummy. Vidami won it with the Ace, and turned to the five of heart to avoid cross-ruffing play.

Now, I saw a little chance to make this crazy contract. If East has 4 spades and 3 in all other suits, I can make it, if I play very carefully. and that means, that I must have the three of hearts as my last trump in my hand, to give the trick surely to East, who will have only hearts and spades, when I give him the trick.

Even if East has 4 hearts, he will give me a spade trick, allowing me going one down only.

If I have any other higher heart as my last card, East has the possibility to play his hearts from the top to avois the elimination play.

So I won the five of heart with the 10 in my hand, I ruffed a club in the dummy, I ruffed a diamond in my hand with the Queen, I played the seven of heart to the King, I ruffed another diamond with the Ace, and when East also followed it, I was ready, because this was the 5 card end-play situation:

Now I played the three of hearts from my hand, discarding a high diamond from the dummy, and East was end-played, having only spades, among them the King in his hand so he had to let me go to the dummy for the high diamond suit.

A classic greek present end-play,  I published one already, "The Greek Present" article, long time ago, which you can also find in our homepage.

The complete hand was the following:

We can see, that spade and heart leads are destroying the contract, but we shall be honest, many players would have led club.