All News

Play and Defend Better: for improving players 3

Right Opening…Right Play….Right Double.

Look at the two wonderful hands below. If you had the choice of defending the opponent’s 6S contract, doubled, for one or two down (naturally, they are not vulnerable) or play in your own cold vulnerable grand slam, which option would you take?

It is rather like saying you can either have one envelope containing $5.00 or another with $5,000.00. Not much of a choice, is it? Yet, unlike our two envelopes which were labelled on the outside to ensure you did not make a bad choice, you have just a little work to do in order to get your 13 tricks:

Board 19
South Deals
E-W Vul
   
A K J 10 8 7 6 5
A 6 4
A J
 
N
W   E
S
 
7 6
Q 3
8 7 5
K Q 9 7 6 3
West North East South
      1 
Dbl 3  4  4 
6  Pass Pass 6 
7  All pass    

 

South was being very persistent after their partner’s pre-emptive jump to 3Spade-small. Encouraged by your partner’s club bid, you go all the way..and South lets you play there. North leads a low spade to their partner’s queen…and it is over to you? (Just a little helpful clue…the trumps do not break 3-0).

Right Opening.

You can read this while you plan the play. Do you know what the New Zealand Bridge manual says about an opening 2Club-small bid? It says that a 2Club-small opening (natural system, not Precision style) must be “a strong hand” with the definition of  such a hand of“strong high-card strength” being a hand “a king or greater than an average hand.” As an average hand contains “10 hcp with no distributional values”, that means that a 2Club-small opener must contain at least 13 high card points. I doubt I would ever open 2Club-small with as few as 13 hcp but one player was penalised by the director when they opened the South hand below 2Club-small. You cannot, even if you would want to, which I would not. I much prefer to open my suit with so few high- card points.

Right Play

Back, though, to our play problem. Best to ruff the opening lead! Now, this might be the simplest hand ever played if clubs broke 3-2 as you would draw trumps and then overtake the Club-smallJ taking two diamond discards on the long clubs. It is pointless cashing two clubs before the hearts, crossing to dummy with the second heart when both players followed to the clubs… not just pointless but absolutely wrong if the hearts broke 3-0!

Say clubs are 4-1. You could cash one heart and then try a couple of clubs assuming both players followed to that heart. If the second round of clubs gets ruffed by the remaining trump, you were never making your contract.

That was not the case here. Clubs were not 4-1. Yet, the above was the winning line…better than drawing trumps and then playing the clubs!

Clubs were 5-0! Yet, when you cashed the Heart-smallA and then the Club-smallA, you were still alive. Either the defender with a void club had forgotten to ruff or else, they could not ruff!

Board 19
South Deals
E-W Vul
J 5 4 3
9 4
K J
10 8 5 4 2
A K J 10 8 7 6 5
A 6 4
A J
 
N
W   E
S
 
7 6
Q 3
8 7 5
K Q 9 7 6 3
 
A K Q 10 9 8 2
2
Q 10 9 3 2
West North East South
      1 
Dbl 3  4  4 
6  Pass Pass 6 
7  All pass    

 

It is not that unlikely that the player with no clubs had only one trump. You could then cash Club-smallJ, cross to dummy with a second trump and play off the two top clubs there. 8 hearts, 4 clubs and the Diamond-smallA. You do not need overtricks! You had nothing to lose as this line is perfectly safe if clubs were 3-2 and necessary with a worse break, unless the Club-small10 had been singleton.

So, you took the $5,000 but did you get it? Thanks, to South, I hope you did.

Right Double

South had done really well to push you out of the comfortable unbeatable 6Heart-small contract and had done the right thing by not sacrificing in 7Spade-small, even though that contract was only two down. They forgot just one thing…to double!  

There are many instances when a player makes a Lightner Double of a slam when the opponents then head off to the safety of 6 or 7 NT where they can take the required tricks without suffering a first round ruff. (A Lightner Double, made by the defender not on lead, asks their partner to make an unusual lead, often dummy’s first bid suit and very rarely a suit bid by their (the defence’s) side.

As you can see, 7NT by West would be an immediate 7 down while North could tell from their club length why South had doubled. Thus, a perfect example of a Lightner Double.

So, we know what two wrongs make. What about “two rights”? The answer for right opening and right defence is +200! Right?

Sure is!

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