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PLAY and DEFENCE for Improving Players

THE PRICE YOU PAY

We like to bid when we get the opportunity though there are times when you do bid when you wish you had not. One such occasion is  when you tell the declarer how to play a hand by the bid you have made. Watch the following:

South Deals
None Vul
K J 10 4
K J 10 3
10 2
Q 9 5
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
A 9 3
A 9 8 7 2
Q 8 7 6
A
West North East South
      1 
Pass 3  Pass 4 
All pass      

 

West led the Club-smallJ, declarer playing low from dummy. With two diamond losers, the game’s success depended on not losing a trick in each major suit. With nothing to go on regarding how to play the trump suit, South started with Heart-smallK and soon wished he had not when West discarded a club on the second round. Declarer was no more inspired in the spade suit, again taking the finesse the wrong way to go one down.These were the 4 hands:

South Deals
None Vul
K J 10 4
K J 10 3
10 2
Q 9 5
8 5
4
K J 9 4 3
J 10 8 7 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
Q 7 6 2
Q 6 5
A 5
K 4 3 2
 
A 9 3
A 9 8 7 2
Q 8 7 6
A
West North East South
      1 
Pass 3  Pass 4 
All pass      

 

However, at another table, West put in a bid of 2NT showing both minors, with the bidding otherwise proceeding as above.

The lead was the same but South had the important piece of knowledge that no more than three major cards were in the West hand. Thus at trick two, he played Heart-small2 to dummy’s king to be followed by Heart-smallJ, finessing and drawing the last trump. Next came Spade-smallK to be followed by Spade-smallJ. East withheld their queen but declarer had five heart tricks, three spade tricks, Club-smallA and a diamond ruff in dummy, 10 tricks.

If you took this argument to extremes, you would never overcall, pre-empt or bid with less than 13hcp. That last statement is certainly not true. However, there is quite a good chance that East-West will not win the auction if West overcalls. In those cases, West has aided the opposition when it comes to playing the hand.

There is another reason not to call as West. Say your partner has about 10hcp and at least 9, maybe 10 cards in the majors. The opposition could get the red penalty double card out and use it to very good effect.

Sometimes, West’s bid might work but one should really have two reasonable suits, at least a 9 or 10 count, with most of their hcp in those suits to enter the auction with a Michael’s bid. Additionally, the opponents were not vulnerable, reducing the likelihood that a sacrifice would be worthwhile.

I remember once watching a declarer play a hand in 6Heart-small with a club holding of Ax opposite Kx. Safe enough you would say to use that suit to cross from one hand to another to draw a blocked trump suit? A club had been led at trick 1. However, the second round was rather unkindly ruffed with the suit breaking 8-1. Silence, sometimes, can be golden, as above.

Richard Solomon

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