All News

PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

SIGNAL and SAVE

Save what? Today it is saving an overtrick. Tomorrow it may mean defeating the contract. So, get in the habit if you can.

You are playing Pairs and just perhaps you forced the opposition higher than they wanted to go. By the look of dummy, they would have been happy to have rested in 2Spade-small but here they are, thanks to a slightly risky double on your part, they are one level higher. This is what you see on the lead of one of your top hearts (you are East):

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

 

(1NT was 12-14with  2Heart-small  a transfer to spades.)

You cash a second heart and have to decide what to do next. North follows with Heart-smallJ to the second trick. Being unwilling to risk opening up the diamond suit, you elect to play what seems a safe club. This turns out to be far from safe.

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

 

The Club-smallK held with declarer seizing his opportunity. Overtaking might negate the opportunity of discarding three diamonds from dummy. (As the cards lie, North could have overtaken the Club-smallK, and taken a losing trump finesse, won the diamond switch, ruffed a club, returned to hand with a trump and claimed discarding 3 diamonds) However, declarer played Spade-smallA and another and simply discarded three diamonds on the high clubs.

Maybe East should have chanced a diamond switch though there was a way West could have helped their partner to make that switch. West was known to hold almost certainly at least four hearts. When East played the second high heart, West knew their partner had to switch. Therefore, West could throw their highest heart asking for a diamond not a club switch. A high card asks for the higher of the other non-trump suits. Problem solved and overtrick saved. The unfortunate diamond position (that is for the defence) meant they could only cash one diamond trick though North would, with a diamond switch at thrick 3, have played immediately  three high clubs crushing the king before touching trumps, leaving only one diamond in dummy any way.  

Good signalling would have ensured no overtrick, important at Teams play but absolutely vital at Pairs. Redundant small cards can often be used to carry a suit preference signal to help partner. Think about the possibility when your partner has to switch, not just when there is a singleton in dummy in the suit led by the defence but in other situations too, like the above. A small word of warning, though. Do not risk giving away a trick by throwing a high card. If you do or may need it, hang onto it.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

 

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • NZB Foundation
  • JLT and Chubb Logo square 02.jpg
  • City Council square logo.png
  • Ryman