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Play and Defend Better: for improving players

NOT MUCH TO DO…SO DO IT RIGHT!

Most of the hands we discuss in these features are game contracts, needing to be made or defeated. Yet, whether you are playing Teams or Pairs, those part-scores are just as important. Here is one of those part-score hands which should have been defeated but was not.

On the following deal, East had only one thing to do…nothing in the bidding and just one thing in the defence. So, let’s see what happened.

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

 

2Heart-small was a standard weak 2, 6-10 high card points and a 6-card suit. North’s 3Heart-small bid seemed normal though was actually not right on the board as both 3Club-small and 3Heart-smallshould be defeated. Against 3Heart-small, West led the Club-smallA and then Club-smallK with you East discouraging a third round of the suit.

West then switched to the Diamond-smallK followed by Diamond-smallQ…with you, East, following low to both rounds. Declarer made the rest of the tricks. What did you do wrong?

It all seemed too easy, so far. 4 winners and if West had either major suit ace, then the contract was always going down. However, did they? Your partner has already shown up with the top two clubs, almost certainly the Club-smallQ  and five points in diamonds, more than enough for an overcall. Meanwhile, South has shown nothing so far and should have some high cards in the majors.

East missed a golden no cost play…and the only way to beat the contract other than a bizarre under-lead of the top clubs:

 

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

 

East should overtake the Diamond-smallQ with their Diamond-smallA and see what happens. There is absolutely no cost were South to ruff or even contribute Diamond-smallJ. However, when South follows with a low diamond, the only diamond East cannot see is the jack. Thus, East can still exit a low diamond at no cost…and as you can see, a diamond ruff provides the defence with their fifth and contract-setting trick.

So, be careful even when you follow suit with seeming comfort. Your casual play can be a crucial error. Don’t let another part-score make unnecessarily.

overtaking.jpg 

may be right.

Richard Solomon

 

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