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Play and Defend Better: for improving players

ONE CHANCE…BETTER THAN NO CHANCE!

Even if it is a slim chance! If you have a small chance which is almost no cost if it fails, then try it. Sometimes, at Christmas, when you got out of the right side of bed that day, on your birthday, when the opposition misdefend, sometimes it works. Look here:

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

 

You had a rather unusual decision to take after your partner’s “heart-showing” double of West’s transfer to spades. You have good support for your partner who must be very short in spades (your holding, West showing 5 and East at least 2 for their 1NT bid). The only danger suit to you in declaring the hand is diamonds. Yet, you might also like to defend 2Spade-smallx.

Eventually, you decide to go for gold…for game in hearts. West leads Diamond-small8 and dummy is not too bad. “One less spade would have been very good, partner but I ‘ve seen worse” you muse! “Thank you, you say…but in your heart, it looks like you will lose two diamonds, (that jack appears to be protected on your right) and two black suit tricks. Shame!

You play Diamond-smallQ from that dummy on which East plays the Diamond-smallA. You throw a no-cost Diamond-small10 from your hand, hoping to confuse East as to the true lay-out of the suit. Yet, if you have to lose two diamond tricks, there does not seem to be a switch which will help you.

West played the Spade-smallA at trick 2 and then a low club. What now?

Any chance? It’s not Christmas, your birthday or a “good-feel” day….but there may have been a small misdefence. What should you do?

What you do not do is “give up”. “Giving up “means -50 and very few match-points.

Come back to that spade suit. West must have 5 (that transfer) and East 2. We do not know much about the split of the defence’s high cards except East, who has 12-14, has Diamond-smallA, Spade-smallA and probably one of the missing high clubs but not KQ (with only two clubs on the table, they would have played the king). Let’s imagine that East’s second spade is the king! Then, we could draw some trumps and discard our club loser on the Spade-smallQ. A slim chance but there’s nothing better to do, assuming the Diamond-smallJ is not doubleton.

So, up with Club-smallA and play a second spade….and the sun came out! sunsine.png

 

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

 

 

Down came the Spade-smallK. Trumps broke 3-2 and away went the club loser. You lost your second diamond trick but still had one trump with which to regain the lead and enjoy the rest of the diamonds…making 10 tricks. Top score!

Notice how well West had done in not leading a spade as the contract cannot then be beaten even if East gives their partner a diamond ruff. Cashing the Spade-smallA was the error which gave the declarer a small chance. An immediate club switch would have given South no chance.

As declarer, if there is a slim chance take it and it may be your lucky day.

lucky day.jpg 

Richard Solomon

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