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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

SHOULD YOU TRUST PARTNER?

That’s right. We are talking about your partner. Bridge is all about creating a large level of trust between you and your partner. Are you going to “not lose the post mortem” and trust partner or is it time to say that “partner, I am not going to do as you suggest?”

It’s that old chestnut, the opening lead. Try this one:

South Deals
Both Vul
   
Q J 10 7 3
10 7 3
10
7 6 3 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
      1 
Pass 1  Pass 2 
Pass 2  Pass 3 
Pass 3  Pass 4 
Pass 4  Pass 4 NT
Pass 5  Dbl 6 
All pass      

 

2Spade-small was artificial 4th suit game – forcing while 3Diamond-small was a slam try in that suit. 4Club-small and 4Heart-small were both cue- bids showing 1st or 2nd round control. 4NT was key card with partner doubling (you did notice, didn’t you!) the response which showed 2 key cards but no Diamond-smallQ.

What do you lead?

Partner thought that a heart lead might be a good idea and he can hardly blame you if you led one and it turned out badly. What you do know is that South has no more than three cards in the majors with it very unlikely that more than two of them are in hearts.

How do you know that? Well, South did not bid 3Heart-small over 3Diamond-small, which would have shown heart support. It is not always what players bid that counts. Sometimes, you have to consider what they do not bid.

So, you had better get the lead right as Michael Cornell is the declarer and will surely take advantage of any slip!

At the table, the West player took the brave step of ignoring partner’s suggestion (remember that the double is only a helpful suggestion and not a command.) and tried the Spade-smallQ. That would not have been a good idea had East held Heart-smallAK or Heart-smallAQ and South a doubleton heart..but that was not the situation here:

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

 

Leading is pretty tough. It is important your partner may try and help you with the opening lead but the double is not a command. Since the opposition stopped at the 6 level, it is reasonable to presume one important card is missing. If that is an ace, it could be the Spade-smallA and with the king more likely to be in dummy than declarer’s hand, then your Spade-smallQ lead might just strike gold.

Also, one of the options mentioned above the hands was not possible. While your partner could have Heart-smallAQ, they could not have Heart-smallAK as North indicated they held one of those cards.

Was, therefore, your partner wrong in doubling 5Heart-small? Had you led a heart, the answer would most definitely have been “yes” as the double confirmed where the Heart-smallK was and Mike Cornell would have had no problem in disposing of one of his spades on the Heart-smallJ in super quick time. East was anticipating declarer could, on a spade lead set up a discard for a heart loser: i.e. that declarer had one spade and two little hearts. This was possible but by no means the actual lay-out. Maybe the double was unwise. After all, partners do make the lead you want, sometimes, without any guidance! Really: they do!

So, West did extremely well to ignore partner’s suggestion. Did you? If you did, you won both the post mortem and 13 imps. Remember, then, such a double is not a mandatory demand but a suggestion if you have nothing better to lead.

Richard Solomon

 

 

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