All News

Play and Defend Better: for improving players

Good Planning, Good Luck, Good Result

The opposite is often true. A faulty line brings its deserved reward in failure. So, sometimes, sensible play will bring a little piece of good fortune and a good result. Keeping an eye on losers when playing in a suit contract is a great idea.

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

 

2Spade-small was a weak 2 with partner enquiring as to your strength and suit quality. 3Spade-small showed top of the range for point count and good suit quality (well, it’s kind of "good". I am sure you have had much worse for a weak 2 opening!). Very soon, you were trying to make 10 tricks on the Diamond-small10 lead.

Losers were a bit hard to estimate. It looks like on most normal days you will lose one trick in each suit except diamonds. You may not lose a trump though there is always the chance (even such a good guesser like you are!) of finding two club losers.

Thus, winning the Diamond-smallA to play a trump seems a fair start…but which trump? Any will work if East has Kx though the low spade is preferable if East were to produce singleton king. However, when you play a low spade, definitely best on the actual lie, East discards a low diamond. Now you must be careful not to lose two trump tricks. So, insert the Spade-smallJ and West will take their king to continue with Diamond-small5. You are in hand and have to take a finesse of the Spade-small10 on which East discards Heart-smallK. What’s going on?

You have not seen Diamond-small9 but there is no guarantee that West holds it. While not guaranteed, they may have played that card if they had a sequence. Furthermore, that Heart-smallK seems to indicate where all the missing high hearts are. If you play a third trump now, you will be stuck in dummy and that may not be a great idea.

So, it’s time to face the inevitable. You have to play clubs at some point and while there is a danger of misguessing, it could and would be worse if you played a third trump to dummy’s Spade-smallQ at this point.

So, a club it is….and West plays Club-small2…. and you?

Well, you will be delighted to know that you cannot misguess! Indeed, there was a little clue you can draw from East’s discard. With a spade void, all the missing heart honours and Club-smallA, you might just have got a call from East. So, play West for the ace…but they had the queen as well.

 

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

 As you can see, you really did not want East to get the lead as a third diamond would have provided a second trump trick for West.  So, probably play Club-smallK. However, you are not quite home yet. Your Club-smallK scores after which you can play Spade-smallQ. However, that dangerous Spade-small10 was still at large and you needed a way back to hand to draw it. So, hoping that West does have the Club-smallQ, you must exit Club-smallJ not Club-small7. Club-smallJ forces the queen  with a club ruff enabling you to get back to your hand (West had switched to a heart.) and draw the that annoying Spade-small10 under your ace.

As predicted, a spade, a heart and a club loser. However, not all plain sailing with a little slice of good fortune needed along the way.

Richard Solomon

Note that had West led a heart initially or switched to a heart when in with the Spade-smallK, it was imperative for declarer to duck the first round of the suit or else that Spade-small10 would have defeated the contract.

 

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