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A Lighter Look

Sweet Orange ….. or Sour Lemon?

You start off with a hand of great potential which is either decimated by the sight of dummy (“You are on my side, partner…or have you forgotten?”) or by subsequent bidding or by a wrong guess. Sound familiar? It sounds that there are so many things that can go wrong. Wrong? How can it be wrong when trumps are 3-2 with the queen onside?

Watch!

Spade-small Q4

Heart-small AKJ543

Diamond-small –

Club-small AKQ63

Only a 19 count but a hand of such potential that one can certainly agree with the opening choice of 2Club-small. Such an under-used bid…and here just the smell of a fit should propel us in the right direction. You are East …and the initial news is not that bad..even with North trying to be a party spoiler:

West          North         East            South

                                      2Club-small               Pass

2Spade-small               4Diamond-small             ?

It would have been worse had it been partner who bid the diamond suit. So, rather than making a semi-non-forcing  bid of 4Heart-small (“non-forcing if correct, onward-going if you dare to pass and we have a slam on, partner!”), you try 4NT, key-card in spades, with partner’s 5Club-small response showing one key card. North decided to have another shot with 5Diamond-small and, there you are, having opened 2Club-small and not described your hand at all. Where next?

There was one right spot and another winning action. East, Mt Albert’s Gerald Norman, took a punt at 6Heart-small. He was not down at the sight of dummy, or at trick 2, but thereafter, he rather wished his choice had been different.

Board 26
East Deals
Both Vul
   
K J 10 9 7 6
9 7
K J 6
8 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q 4
A K J 5 4 3
A K Q 6 3
West North East South
Dummy   Declarer  
    2  Pass
2  4  4 NT Pass
5  5  6  All pass

 

Gerald ruffed South’s opening diamond lead and lay down the Heart-smallA. No queen yet. All might be well if the Heart-smallQ came down doubleton but it did not! Next came the Spade-smallQ which South pounced on with the ace (one down?..No!). South returned a spade for North to ruff with the Heart-smallQ. Dummy was now lost and two further club losers proved our knowledgeable Dealmaster Pro in saying that Gerald could not even make game in hearts…down 3. Nice spade return from South making Gerald’s misery worse.

Board 26
East Deals
Both Vul
2
Q 10 8
A Q 10 9 8 7 3 2
4
K J 10 9 7 6
9 7
K J 6
8 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q 4
A K J 5 4 3
A K Q 6 3
 
A 8 5 3
6 2
5 4
J 10 9 7 5
West North East South
Dummy   Declarer  
    2  Pass
2  4  4 NT Pass
5  5  6  All pass

 

Gerald wished he had tried 6Spade-small. Was that because his problems would be over or because “the oracle” said 6Spade-small was a make, at least played by West. It is certainly a make if North leads the Diamond-smallA. West ruffs in dummy and should overtake if South ducks the first round of spades. However, say North leads their club (we will not even contemplate the nasty lead of the Heart-small10! )

To survive, West must play a trump and is home if South takes their ace as long West draws trumps and takes the heart finesse. If South ducks the first round of spades, then West has to play North for two singletons and finesse the Heart-smallQ….and still some! For those of you who like a challenge, try making 6Spade-small on that club lead from North and a first round duck of Spade-smallA...or on any other play from dummy at trick 2.

In practice, Gerald is correct that 6Spade-small will make if North leads their ace. The other practical action of doubling 5Diamond-small looks good too, a certain +500 or three down if North errs in the awkward play. However, is that why you opened 2Club-small, to double 5Diamond-small, your void suit? Somehow, at the end of the board, Gerald’s 19 count did not feel quite as powerful a hand as at the start. Starting off with 1Heart-small would not have made the deal any easier, as North would still bid a lot of diamonds at the first opportunity.  

Same problem. The sweet look, taste of our nice hand somehow at the end resembled a lemon!

lemon sour.png

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

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