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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

                             A “SIN” WORTH CULTIVATING

Are you a greedy player? There is nothing wrong with saying “yes”. If you are in a really bad contract, always try the best you can to extract something from the gloom. Getting one match-point out of 36 is a big improvement on getting none! It may be the difference from winning the session or coming a close second. So, be greedy and never “throw cards” and give up.

Seven Deadly Sins.png

That sentiment is also true when you are in a very good contract. Getting 35 out of 36 when you could have got all 36? That’s a disaster! You have lost a match-point unnecessarily! So, with that sentiment in mind, plan the play here as South. You are in 5Club-small and the opposition have not doubled. How good is that! Surely they can make a lot of tricks in spades, maybe in diamonds too? West leads 2 high diamonds (AK) and switches to a trump.

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

 (1NT showed 12-14)

At the sight of dummy, you thank partner….and this time really mean it. Even though it looks like a spade ruff could beat their diamond contract, the only losers in a spade contract seem to be the major aces and maybe a club if that suit breaks 1-1.

However, it’s too early to celebrate your top. You have work to be done. It is inconceivable that they will throw away all their high hearts to allow you to make 5Club-small but is there any way you can cut your heart losers down from two to one?

It just takes a little visualisation and good luck….and even then a misdefence…but it can be done!

Imagine.....

You are going to play for one of the opponents to hold HKx doubleton. So, win the club in dummy (they broke 2-0…wonderful, as they can make 11 tricks in spades) and cash the Heart-smallA (we will see why you do that shortly) and then play Spade-smallA and ruff a spade. Return to dummy with a trump and ruff the last spade. Now play a small heart from hand and see who wins the second round of hearts. The player with Heart-smallKx doubleton will have to give you a ruff and discard….just one down for -50. These were the four hands:

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

 

It was strange that West did not double or that East did not bid again…playing Pairs, risking 5Diamond-small would seem worthwhile even if South could have held some of West's high card points.. 5Diamond-small can be defeated but only if South leads their singleton or North finds the spade switch after a very unlikely heart lead.

and cashing the Heart-smallA early?

So, why did we play the Heart-smallA first? The moment East sees that South has only one spade, he must be suspicious of what is about to happen. Would South cash the Heart-smallA if they had the queen and the jack? The short answer is “no”. East may guess their partner has the Heart-smallQ and even the Heart-smallJ or even Heart-smallQ9 and when you played a heart to the ace later (before playing a second round of hearts), they may throw the king under the ace to give their partner two heart tricks. It would be very hard for East to visualise that if you cash the Heart-smallA at trick 4 before ruffing a spade. If South did hold Heart-small Qxx, throwing the king would still beat the contract as long as your partner held the Heart-smallJ.

So, did you earn 35 out of 36 match-points or 36? A greedy player would do their best to make it the maximum.

Richard Solomon

p.s. "Pride, Anger and Sloth" are three of the seven sins Bridge players should not cultivate. What about "Lust?" As long as it it is lust for playing more Bridge, that sin is OK too!

 

 

 

 

 

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