News archive

PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

EXPOSING A RISKY RUSE

On this board, a declarer played a dangerous game and came up smelling of roses, but should the defence have been able to work out what was happening? Let’s look at the board from the point of view of West.

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

 2Diamond-small was “Multi”, here showing a weak 2 in hearts, confirmed by the 3Club-small response to the 2NT enquiry. Despite not bidding over 2Diamond-small, East entered the auction either bravely or foolhardily second time round, but South tried for game.

West led the Spade-small8 which went to East’s 10 and declarer’s ace. At trick 2, a low heart went to the ace and East’s queen to be followed by a second heart to West’s jack, East discarding Spade-small7. The style is reverse attitude on the first discard (i.e. low encourage). What should West play next?

At the table, West exited the Club-small9 won by the queen in dummy on which East played Club-small10 and South a low club. Heart-small9 forced out West’s king with both East and South throwing low spades. What now?

West exited their remaining club… and the end had come. These were the four hands:

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

 Club-small8 scored in dummy. West’s last trump was drawn and all dummy’s diamonds disappeared on clubs and Spade-smallK…making an over-trick!

South’s play was interesting. They could have played two top spades at the start and settled for one down. Perhaps they thought East had a seven card spade suit.

Signalling Diamonds

arrow.png       diamonds.png  

The disaster for East-West came as a result of signalling. It would have been an ideal time for a suit preference signal from East (high spade asking for a diamond)…but did East really know they wanted a diamond led? Without playing suit-preference signals, there are three ways East could have signalled to their partner they had something in the diamond suit:

  1. by playing their lowest diamond, the 6 (how low did that look to West?).
  2. by playing a high spade, hopefully waking partner up that they were signalling for the higher of the other suits. There was also the danger that, had East thrown the Spade-smallQ, West might think it was safe to continue spades, which would not then be true because of South’s Spade-small9.
  3. by playing “high low” in clubs indicating no interest in clubs. It would seem unlikely that the Club-small10 would be a useful card for the defence, with the queen in dummy.

It's not what partner throws...but what they do not throw.

What could have helped West as they watched their partner discard two spades as trumps were played and then played a probably unnecessary Club-small10 on the first round of that suit, was that East did not throw a diamond. East should help their partner with their discards. If East had two or three little diamonds, then it would have been easy to tell their partner they held nothing in that suit. Since East did not throw any diamond, it was reasonable to presume East was guarding something in that suit….and West would then know what it was.

An over instead of two under-tricks. Would you and your partner have exposed South’s “suicidal” plan?

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

 

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • Babich
  • Cock and Bull
  • JLT
  • Rent-a-Dent
  • NZB Foundation
  • Distinction Hotel
  • BridgeNZ logo.jpg