All News

Tales of Akarana 010

Normal Breaks do occur….. Normally!

You do not believe the above statement, do you? You have seen it all..bid a grand slam with 10 trumps missing the queen and find Qxx behind the AK. You have played in countless excellent games with 4 trumps in each hand and find a 5-0 break… and so the agonising tales go on. We seem to stop blaming computer dealt hands now because just about all our hands are dealt that way.

So, to Akarana, and a touch of overbidding, takes you to 6Diamond-small. Well, let’s say it was your partner who was doing the over-bidding but it was you, North, who had the job of making this contract.

Board 7
South Deals
Both Vul
7 6
Q J 10 7
Q 6
K J 9 8 2
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
A Q J 5 3
A K 10 9 3 2
A 7

 

You reached 6Diamond-smallafter your partner bid his suits rather vigorously. East leads a low heart. Ruffing seems best but there’s a little work to be done especially in the spade suit. So, you cross to hand with a club to the king and take the spade finesse.

It would be rather handy if this was a successful finesse… but this is the real world! West’s king wins with West returning a club. You are still alive but are living on the edge. You can cash a high spade and then ruff low hoping they break 3-3 or ruff high and then rely on a first-round diamond finesse.

A 4-2 break is more likely than a 3-3 break but we are now only talking about one defender having 4 spades, since West has already shown up with 3 spades.

On this night of “normal” breaks, you will be pleased to know that both lines worked:

Board 7
South Deals
Both Vul
7 6
Q J 10 7
Q 6
K J 9 8 2
K 9 8
A 9 8 4 3 2
5 4
10 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
10 4 2
K 6 5
J 8 7
Q 5 4 3
 
A Q J 5 3
A K 10 9 3 2
A 7

 

Normal break number 1.

A nice little selection problem for you next. You hold as West:

Spade-small AJ64

Heart-small -

Diamond-small KT7

Club-small AK976

The bidding starts off:

            West              North             East                South

                                                                                    Pass

            1Club-small                  3Heart-small                  Pass                4Heart-small

            ?

With three average looking suits, you have not come to pass this out…and so double, happy with partner’s choice, whatever it is. Maybe you are slightly less happy when partner emerges with 5NT, “Pick a slam, please.” It seems to be a choice between the minors, at least initially…and length seems to be a prime consideration. So, clubs it is.

They lead a top spade and you feel relatively pleased if not ecstatic about dummy:

Board 19
South Deals
E-W Vul
   
A J 6 4
K 10 7 6
A K 9 7 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
K 8 5
9 8 7
A Q 8 3
Q 10 4

 

You have to ruff and breathe a small sigh when North follows to the first round of trumps. The world is a little better place when they contribute the Club-smallJ on the second round. You draw the remaining trump (a low heart from North) and attack diamonds.

You have the Diamond-small10 in a useful position as surely North has a shortage there. Yet, again, North contributes the jack on the second round. So, more diamonds and all that remains is to avoid two spade losers. So, you cash the Spade-smallA and cross to the king in case North held Q doubleton…. but not this time, as that suit breaks 3-3 with the Spade-smallQ favouring anyone who had mistakenly gone to grand slam!

“Normal” break number 2. Maybe there is a lesson for North-South here. Do not make the opposition guess at too high a level when they are going to benefit from that guess. 4Heart-smallx was conceding 800 because there were no nasty surprises for the opposition. Had the opposition not bid so aggressively on a board where the breaks were “normal”, slam may have been missed. Save that pre-emption for when the breaks are a little more challenging.

Board 19
South Deals
E-W Vul
9 7 3
A K Q 10 6 2
J 2
J 2
A J 6 4
K 10 7 6
A K 9 7 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
K 8 5
9 8 7
A Q 8 3
Q 10 4
 
Q 10 2
J 5 4 3
9 5 4
8 5 3

 

As you see, the modern computers can deal quite friendly breaks too.

Richard Solomon

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • JLT Logo square.jpg
  • NZB Foundation
  • JLT and Chubb Logo square 02.jpg
  • Hamilton City Council logo.jpg