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New To The Table. The Play of the Hand.

Justifying the Good Bidding 

Two days ago, we guided you through a difficult choice of opening bid, responding to an opening bid with just 5 high card points (hcps), a forward going bid called a reverse and recognising the forcing nature of one’s partner’s “reverse” bid…. all that to reach your game contract.

Let’s hope the play is a little easier now we are in game! Let’s look:

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

 

West leads the Spade-smallQ which looks like from a sequence (QJ). We know what we are going to play to trick 1. Yet, stop, look and let’s see if we can make a little plan.

We have no losers in spades (remember we count losers (real and possible ones) in a suit contract) but are missing the top two trumps (hearts). There’s nothing we can do about that! We are also missing the Diamond-smallA rather meaning we must not lose a trick in clubs as we can only afford to lose three tricks.

Can you see how we can avoid doing so?

Fortunately, we have only two clubs  in dummy opposite four headed by the AK in your hand. This is not a finesse position even though we have the jack. Not only can this finesse (playing the jack and then low from our hand if the queen does not appear) never work (we do not have the 10), but it is much more relevant that you can ruff the third round of clubs in dummy.

What then of the other little club in our hand? Have you noticed you only have one spade (A) while dummy has the king? What about throwing that club under the SK?

Great. We have a plan to make 10 tricks.

Remember the guideline that says when you do not need to trump losers in dummy, the first thing to do is to draw the opponents’ trumps. The same rule applies to when you just want to ruff one card in dummy and have at least 4 trumps in dummy. In these cases (and this deal is such an example), ruffing your loser in dummy can come after you draw trumps.

Let’s look at all four hands:

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

 

You win the Spade-smallQ with the ace in your hand and play a low trump towards dummy. West may well win their king and try a low spade (they know that you and their partner have only 1 spade between the 2 hands: they hope their partner can thus trump the Spade-smallK).

Your best play is not to play the king. You think West has the jack. Play Spade-small8. There is no down-side as you can always win the trick with a trump if need be. When Spade-small8 scores, throw a club from your hand.   

Continue playing trumps as there are still 3 left in the opponents' hands. East may win with their ace and then switch to a low club. Do not even think of playing low from hand. Play the ace and draw the last trump. You are in complete control.

You have to lose a trick to the Diamond-smallA. Play low to the Diamond-small10 (we normally play the honour in the hand with less cards in the suit first so that we do not block the suit..i.e. can then play DKQJ from hand).

East takes the Diamond-smallA and returns another club. You win and ruff the other club “loser” in dummy as you always intended. You have no more losers. You do not now even need that Spade-smallK as your diamonds are all winners.

4Heart-small bid and made…. justifying your partner’s excellent decision to bid 1Spade-small with only 5 hcp and then to raise 2Heart-small to 3Heart-small. Bid well, played safely. Excellent.

Next board, please.

men playing cards.png

Richard Solomon

 

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