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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

LOOKING AFTER PARTNER

Now, there’s an interesting concept. Rather than blaming them for the wrong bid they made, their terrible opening lead, their failure to find the right switch, you should always think about what you could have done to avoid the disaster. In fact, “blame” is not the right word. It is just they could/should have done something else. Oh, OK “blame”!

Here is a simple recent example of being a good partner.

 

Board 11
South Deals
None Vul
10 6
K J
K J 10 4 2
K J 8 5
   
N
W   E
S
 
Q 9 3 2
A 9 8 4 3
Q 6 5
3
West North East South
  Dummy You  
      1 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

 (1NT shows 12-14 hcp.)

Your partner leads the Spade-small4 which is won by your queen, declaring playing Spade-small5. You return the technically correct Spade-small2, your original fourth highest. Declarer plays Spade-small8 and your partner wins with Spade-smallJ. At trick 3, he plays the Spade-small7 to your Spade-small3 and declarer’s Spade-smallA.

Declarer lays down Diamond-smallA and then plays Diamond-small9 running it to your Diamond-smallQ, your partner playing 2 low diamonds. What is the next card you should play?

 

Board 11
South Deals
None Vul
10 6
K J
K J 10 4 2
K J 8 5
K J 7 4
Q 6 2
8 7
9 6 4 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q 9 3 2
A 9 8 4 3
Q 6 5
3
 
A 8 5
10 7 5
A 9 3
A Q 10 7
West North East South
      1 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

 

If the answer was your remaining spade, then be sure not to blame your partner if the contract made. At that point, the defence would had taken four tricks (3 spades and Diamond-smallQ) and your partner, with little to go on, would have to find the heart rather than the club switch to beat the contract.

It is no argument that if partner had been on lead and found a small heart switch that a (naïve) declarer might misguess and go two down.

A golden rule is that you must be sure you are beating a contract before you get clever. South should realise that East has the Heart-smallA and play low, restricting the loss to one down.  

So, following that golden rule, cash the Heart-smallA before you play your fourth spade. You knew where the Spade-smallK was. There is no way declarer would duck the spade lead twice holding AK85.

Be a considerate partner…and hope your partner does the same for you next time.

Richard Solomon

 

 

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