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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

TAKING INFERENCES AND AVOIDING LOSERS

A good declarer should do both of the above. Also, we know that one of the worse parts of bridge is a two way finesse. When your finesse is one way, you just know if you have to take it, there seems to be a huge chance of failure, far more than 50%! When it is two way, you are the master of your own destruction. You might say you can work out from the play who is more likely to have a missing queen, but what about a missing jack?

Come on now. Time for your plan. Getting to 4Spade-small was easy. 26 hcp and a 4-4 fit. You just have to make it!

Look at these two hands. There are heaps of potential losers, one in trumps, two in hearts, maybe three in diamonds. That’s three down! Oh. OK. We can see how to dispose of one of those red suit losers..only one!

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

 

West led Club-small8. A diamond can go on the third round of clubs but the rest is over to you. What then at trick 4?

The first obstacle seems to be to draw trumps. Any ideas? Our declarer did. He decided he did not want East on lead, especially if the diamond honours lay badly. Also, if he did lose to a doubleton trump queen in the West hand, West would have to open up one of the red suits.

You see…our declarer had drawn an inference from the opening lead about the diamond and perhaps the heart suit. Since West followed to the three rounds of clubs, their lead was very passive. Why not lead an unbid suit? West might have led a diamond, or indeed a heart. West could have led away from the Diamond-smallQ but would not have led away from Diamond-smallA. There was a reasonable chance in leading so passively that West held the Diamond-smallA, maybe the Diamond-smallQ too. What about the heart suit? Again West might hold either the Heart-smallA or the Heart-smallJ. You could draw an inference that West held one or both of those cards too. Yet, West never bid which decreases slightly the chance of West holding both aces.

So, back to trumps. Let’s keep East off lead. So Spade-smallA and a spade to the jack. West discards a diamond, a lowish encouraging one. Our theory about the Diamond-smallA seems to be correct. So, playing a diamond to the king seems a losing line. What should we do now?

Declarer drew a third round of trumps and then backing his judgement that he had two diamond losers, led a low diamond from hand(Diamond-small6 from K6)  towards the jack. Had East held the Diamond-smallQ, he would be back to taking the two way heart finesse the correct way. Here are the four hands:

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

 

The awkward contract was now safe without the need of finessing for the Heart-smallJ. West had to win with Diamond-smallQ, cash Diamond-smallA and play a third diamond or else open up the heart suit or give a ruff and discard. The Diamond-smallJ was thus set up for a heart discard.

That play gained 13 imps for our declarer as at the other table, West led at trick one a small heart and East won to lead a diamond. The declarer thus suffered a diamond ruff and was one down by trick four.

Good inferences, good play produced a good result.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

 

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