All News

PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

KEEP YOUR HEAD ON..DON’T PANIC

Panic caused a number of declarers to go astray in the following recent slam. Making 12 even 13 tricks in spades and 12 in no trumps was quite possible but some only made 11. Here are the North-South hands:

West Deals
Both Vul
Q J 7
A K Q 7 3
7 5
A 4 2
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
A K 10 9 5
2
A J 9 2
K J 8

 

Some reached 6NT from the North seat and received the Diamond-smallK lead. Their crime was not to count tricks when they saw dummy. Spades would produce 5 but hearts would only ever produce three without losing the lead…and you know what would almost certainly happen when you lost the lead with a heart or indeed should you take a losing club finesse. They will cash a high diamond and you will be down. tears.jpg

So, you have 8 in the majors and two in clubs and the Diamond-smallA. Where can you develop an extra trick without conceding two….in diamonds, of course. We all know where the Diamond-smallQ is when the king is led. So, the easiest way to score your 12th trick is to duck the opening lead, win the continuation and play a diamond towards AJ, finessing if no queen appears. In the unlikely event, East had led a singleton king, you can survive by rising with the ace and eventually take the club finesse….but who leads a singleton king out of the blue against 6NT? Not I.

Thus, 12 tricks in 6NT should have been made fairly comfortably. What about 6Spade-small on the lead from West of the Heart-smallJ? At least one declarer went down in inglorious fashion by cashing a high spade in dummy and then deciding they needed to ruff a diamond. Look what happened:

West Deals
Both Vul
Q J 7
A K Q 7 3
7 5
A 4 2
8 6 4 3
J 10 9 6
10 4
7 6 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
2
8 5 4
K Q 8 6 3
Q 10 9 5
 
A K 10 9 5
2
A J 9 2
K J 8

 

East covered with the Diamond-smallQ. Declarer won, crossed to dummy with a second trump and played a second diamond won by East, who played a third round…and the Spade-small8 set the contract.

By all means play one high spade from dummy to ensure trumps do not break 5-0. One option is next to ruff a heart. Draw trumps and play a club to dummy. If hearts break 4-3, as here, you can discard three diamonds and take the club finesse for the overtrick (though you would hate to lose to doubleton Club-smallQ….hence, be satisfied with 12 tricks if as here trumps broke 4-1, no finesse). If hearts break 5-2, then you will need to take the club finesse to make 12 tricks.

The declarer who failed in 6Spade-small would still have survived if they had ducked the first round of diamonds, preserving a high trump in dummy with which to ruff the third round of diamonds. Leaving only a small trump in dummy for ruffing proved dangerous and fatal.  

panic button.png don't use it. Stay calm.

We love to bid slams. It’s even more fun when we make them! Just a little care needs to be taken to make our contracts. Count your tricks and play safely and all should be well.

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • NZB Foundation
  • Ryman