Improver articles

PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

“Don’t Send a Boy on a Man’s Job”

The “boy’s” name was Jack.  He was sacrificed, was sent out too early. His loss caused a break-down of the whole operation (contract) resulting in failure. Cause of failure was determined as bad planning. Bad luck, certainly, but there had been no need to look for help from that “lady luck”.

Board 22
East Deals
E-W Vul
K 8 7 6
A 7
A 10 9 8 5 3 2
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
A 10
Q J 9 5
A Q 10 8 2
K J
West North East South
    Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 NT Pass 3 
Pass 4 NT Pass 5 
Pass 5  Pass 6 
All pass      

 

South opened a 15-17 1NT. North transferred to clubs (2NT) and took an optimistic view by using Roman Key Card Blackwood with 5Club-small showing 0 or 3 key cards (aces and Club-smallK). From their partner’s opening bid, North assumed it was three. They then asked(5Diamond-small) about the trump (club) queen and non-club kings, though with the 6Club-small response denying the Club-smallQ, North declared.  West led the Spade-smallJ.

So, what’s your line?

With one discard available on the Diamond-smallA, there were two small cards in the North hand with which to deal… only one if the Club-smallQ was not in a position to win a trick. Indeed, if the club finesse worked, you could even lose a heart trick and make your contract, though there are some entry issues to the South hand. Any way, as you know, one’s success rate with finesses is far far lower than 50%, or at least so it seems with the important ones.

We can do better than rely on a trump finesse. Yet, that Spade-smallJ lead must be a worry. Say it’s a singleton. Well, as long as you win the first spade in hand with the ace, if they ruff the second round, they will be ruffing “thin air” (one of dummy’s losers). Ruffing a spade or two in hand does seem to be a good idea. Then, we do not have to take that heart finesse. We can discard dummy’s heart on the Diamond-smallA.

So, win the Spade-smallA and play a second spade with West following with Spade-small3. GOOD NEWS.pngYou win in dummy and play a third spade, with East playing Spade-smallQ and declarer Club-smallJ. West won the trick with Club-smallQ. 

bad news.gif

A pause and then another club came from West which went to South’s king. Disastrous news.png

Disastrous news, not really that East discarded a low spade but that there was nowhere to dispose of North’s Spade-small8 even if the heart finesse worked.

Naturally, the heart finesse failed with the contract ending up two down. …all because Club-smallJ had been despatched too early. Poor planning. Poor Jack!

Board 22
East Deals
E-W Vul
K 8 7 6
A 7
A 10 9 8 5 3 2
J 3
8 6 3
J 9 4 3
Q 7 6 4
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q 9 5 4 2
K 10 4 2
K 7 6 5
 
A 10
Q J 9 5
A Q 10 8 2
K J
West North East South
    Pass 1 NT
Pass 2 NT Pass 3 
Pass 4 NT Pass 5 
Pass 5  Pass 6 
All pass      

 Back to Trick 1: the Planning

Fast-track back to trick one. How about discarding one of our losers on the Diamond-smallA and ruffing the other 2? If that happens, our only loser will be the Club-smallQ. So, win the Spade-smallA and play the second spade. Now ruff the third spade with “a man” (Club-smallK) and play  Diamond-smallA discarding dummy’s low heart. Play a heart to the ace and ruff dummy’s remaining spade with “the boy” (Club-smallJ).

It does not matter whether West over-ruffs or not. Dummy is high (perhaps with a club loser were East to hold Club-smallQ.)Dummy’s trumps are sufficiently good to survive even the worst 4-0 break. Contract made. Smiles all-round… except maybe on West’s face…as their partner has just pointed out that an initial low trump lead (followed by a second trump when in with the Club-smallQ) will defeat the contract.

“Can we all agree that that was the lead you found” pleaded South with a rather sheepish grin?

mums the word.png   

“Mum’s the word!”

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

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