All News

Tales of Akarana

A SECOND CHANCE

It was a night oozing with slam possibilities. They were generally making if you bid them though two of the more appealing contracts, both on the same deal, were likely to fail.

Most found their way to 6Spade-small on these North-South cards:

                        North                        South

                        Spade-smallAJT543                  Spade-smallKQ7

                        Heart-small AK                         Heart-small 852

                        Diamond-small8                            Diamond-small AT742

                        Club-smallAKJ8                      Club-small 54

With North the dealer and no interference, Acol bidders should have had an easier time than those who play a 2 over 1 Game Force system even if North felt their hand was not quite game forcing from the outset.

                    After North                   South

                              1Spade-small                        2Diamond-small (10+ …who’s counting!)

                              3Club-small                        3Spade-small/4Spade-small

North should wheel out Key Card and with the response North received (5Spade-small), grand slam is no worse than a club finesse. With the Club-small Q appearing on the second round of the suit and a 2-2 trump break, 13 tricks were easy though there were no takers.

It is perhaps slightly harder after

                                    North            South

                                     1Spade-small                  2Spade-small

                                       

North would go a little slower but when South shows a maximum, Key Card could still take you the whole way.  

There was another slam possibility for North-South though this time, the opposition had much to contribute themselves. And why not since they had two making slams of their own on the same board!

“Lightnering”up the Bidding!

If it's excitement you want, then throw in a Lightner Double though in recent years, I have found the success rate of such a double to be generally fairly low (there's the times when the opposition hop off to a making 6NT, or when partner makes the wrong lead, or has a void themselves in the requested suit). Anyway, this particular double gained, eventually….but over to you to find the lead to 6Spade-smallx with the following West hand… and no-one vulnerable:

Board 24
West Deals
None Vul
   
K
9 7 2
A Q 9 8 5 4
9 8 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
3  Pass 5  6 
Pass Pass Dbl All pass

 

So, put your diamond suit to one side. I think I am also on safe ground to say that Spade-smallK would not get many votes from an expert panel!  So, you are left with 972 or 982.

Is partner doubling because they have top tricks elsewhere or because they have a void?

Come on, you started this auction with your pre-empt. If I told you the contract is cold on the lead of one of those suits and “cold off” on the other, would you feel any happier?

worry.jpg

My tip (with an element of seriousness) is that whichever you choose, lead the top card in the suit as you might just get a second chance!

Take a look at the four hands.

Board 24
West Deals
None Vul
4 3
Q 10 6 5 3
J 10 3
10 7 6
K
9 7 2
A Q 9 8 5 4
9 8 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
9 8 2
K 7 6 2
A K Q J 5 4
 
A Q J 10 7 6 5
A K J 8 4
3
West North East South
3  Pass 5  6 
Pass Pass Dbl All pass

 

It would be very cruel to say that South failed to make his contract because he did not cover the Club-small9 with Club-small10 but he certainly blew his only chance of making. West guessed correctly second time as he was still on lead at the end of the first trick.

The Lightner scored an extra 50 (was it worth it?) over one other table who played in 6Spade-small:

            West              North            East                South

            3Diamond-small                  Pass                6Diamond-small                 6Spade-small

            All Pass

No double and Diamond-smallA was led. However, declarer took the reasonable but wrong view on the location of the Spade-smallK and tried to enter dummy with the Heart-smallQ and lost two tricks quickly.

At two tables, North was offered a choice of major slams and naturally chose hearts. East thus got their club trick in early with neither declarer able to locate the Spade-smallK successfully.

At two tables, East- West took insurance at the 7 level. Once North was on lead, once South. The lead was not crucial in 7Club-smallx (though would have been had West produced a 7- card diamond suit) but was very important in 7Diamond-smallx. Both defences knew to lead spades.

The rest of the tables had little excitement on this board playing in major suit games, 5Spade-small once doubled with an overtrick. It is easier to drop the Spade-smallK at that level.

982 or 972? Some days, 26 imps could swing on your choice. Fortunately for one West, they got a second chance ….and even had that not worked, there was still the chance of making their trump king. The Lightner gained one imp! A nervy business, nevertheless.

Richard Solomon

Go Back View All News Items

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