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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

THE IMPORTANCE OF…..or Replacing the Guess

You can manage without it but without it, it becomes guesswork. You can try and guess what is happening with a deal, what the declarer wants you to do and therefore do the opposite. You can …but why play guesswork when you can work in tandem with your partner and know what you have to do?

Here’s the state of play with you East defending a confidently bid slam:

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

2Club-small was a standard game force. 3Spade-small was natural and, bearing in mind North had already shown a poor hand with their 2Diamond-small response, showed a better hand than a direct raise to 4Spade-small. South checked on aces and bid the slam knowing their partner had one ace.

West led a low trump with declarer drawing trumps in three rounds with the AKQ, with you discarding a low heart. Next, South played the Heart-smallQ. What do you do? Where is the Heart-smallK?

guessing 2.png

Surely, if South had not got the Heart-smallK, they would have some better plan than playing the suit. Your partner might also have won with the king. So, let’s guess South has the king. So, you duck but the next card you see from South is the Heart-smallK. What now? If you do not win the trick, you may lose your Heart-smallA forever….and maybe your only chance to beat the contract.

What should you do?

What you should do is ask me which two cards your partner played on the two rounds of hearts. If you knew that, then you would not need to be guessing!

The Importance of ........  Giving Count

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

 

Not all the time but in key suits. It really does not matter which order West plays their hearts: they will never score a trick. So, tell your partner how many hearts you (West) hold and one day, this day, it might make a difference.

Let’s say you play “natural count” where low then higher card shows an odd number. Initially, West played Heart-small2, an odd number....Interesting…one  card (that gives South 5 hearts..no worries what you do)…..three…or five (surely West would take the king if West held 5 hearts?) cards in the heart suit?Therefore, you duck the Heart-smallQ.

On the second round, West plays Heart-small9. You know now West has three hearts. Therefore, so does South. Why does South seemingly want you to take the Heart-smallA? The answer is partly before your eyes….in the diamond suit!

Say you won the second heart and switch to a low club. South wins with the ace, plays Diamond-smallK, a diamond to the ace, Diamond-smallQ discarding a club and then a fourth diamond, ruffing your high jack. Now he returns to dummy via the Heart-smallJ to discard the Club-smallQ on the fifth (high) diamond. Contract made.

You will not let that happen.

As long as you duck both the Heart-smallK and Heart-smallQ…or win the second round and play a third round (that thwarts South’s plan too), the contract cannot be made.

The key is in the giving of count, in key suits.

Many play “reverse count” where a low card, then a higher card shows an even number. On the above deal, West would play Heart-smallT then Heart-small2 to show an odd number. Both methods work. Both take the “G” out of “guess” (success!) and help you in the very difficult art of defending.

path to certainty.png

Richard Solomon

 

 

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