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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

MISBID…BUT HOPEFULLY NOT MISDEFENCE

That’s your aim this week. When the opposition appear to have gone astray in the bidding, you must make sure they pay the price by defending accurately. Surely on the board below the opposition should be playing 2 of one major? No, 1NT got passed out, perhaps because of South’s wrong choice of bid first time round:

Board 8
West Deals
None Vul
   
A Q 9 7
3 2
Q 7 6 5
7 6 4
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
K 6 5 4 3
Q 8 7 6 5
9 3
3
West North East South
You     Dummy
Pass 1  Pass 1 
Pass 1 NT All pass  
1 NT by North

 

Yes, South should have called 1Spade-small first time round, the higher of 2 5+ card suits so that if their partner made a bid like 1NT, they could call 2Heart-small at their second turn. South was certainly not going to call 2Spade-small now on such minimal values and so took their chances, knowing that their side held at least half the high card points. 1Club-small was 3+ clubs and 1NT rebid showed 15-17.

East, your partner, led the Club-smallK, a lead which asked you to unblock any club honour you may have at trick one or if you did not give any, to give count in clubs. So, dutifully, since you play high low to show an odd number of cards, you play the Club-small7. Your partner wins the trick and at trick two, switches to the Spade-smallJ. How do you feel?

That’s another way of saying “what do you do next?” Declarer plays low from dummy.

Your initial thought must be that the feeling is good. You have got the spade suit sewn up and clubs appear to be promising. Only the heart suit seems to threaten what may not be a great situation for the declarer.

If you ducked the Spade-smallJ, partner will continue with the Spade-small10. If you duck that too (again declarer called for a low card from dummy.), the defence is well and truly over, though in fact you had already ensured that the contract would make a trick earlier.

Have a look why:

Board 8
West Deals
None Vul
8 2
A K 4
A K 10 2
Q 9 8 5
A Q 9 7
3 2
Q 7 6 5
7 6 4
 
N
W   E
S
 
J 10
J 10 9
J 8 4
A K J 10 2
 
K 6 5 4 3
Q 8 7 6 5
9 3
3
West North East South
You     Dummy
Pass 1  Pass 1 
Pass 1 NT All pass  
1 NT by North

 

After ducking the first round, had you overtaken the second round, you could fire a club through declarer though declarer only has to cover your card to stay alive. He could lose three club and three spade tricks but no more after which North will win five heart tricks and the Diamond-smallAK to make at least 7 tricks.

What did you know about declarer’s hand so far? At least three clubs, balanced and less than four hearts. Balanced means that North must have two spades. Therefore, ducking spades twice is a certain loser for the defence as East cannot have three.

Winning the second spade with your queen would work if declarer held exactly three clubs, almost certainly with the queen or else your partner would have continued clubs at trick two. What if North started with four clubs? Then, you may need to lead clubs twice through declarer. (Your only sure entries are in spades.) You have seen every small club below the 8, except for the 2, either in your own hand or on the first round of the suit. The chances were quite strong that leading twice was necessary. Did you overtake the Spade-smallJ with your queen to play a second club? Your partner can win and play their second spade which again you overtake even if the king was not played from dummy. Now, you take 5 club and 2 spade tricks to defeat the contract by a trick.

Note, if you did not do this, your side can only score three club and three spade tricks. If your partner only had a four card club suit, you still need to win the lead twice to score four club tricks. So, you were not going to beat the contract if that was the situation as we have seen a duck prevents you leading clubs twice.

In Pairs, -90 is better than -110 from 2Heart-small but +50 is a lot better in any form of scoring. Is that what you achieved?

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

 

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