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New To The Table. The Play of the Hand.

Play Well: Be Lucky.

Good play is not always rewarded but we would like to believe it is. If we play the cards in the best possible manner and fail in our contract, then we will have a level of satisfaction, if not all the deserved match-points!

So, our task is to make our contract of 6Diamond-small with the following two hands. North has led the Heart-small10.

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

 

We left you to plan the play, giving you three questions. Let’s provide the answers:

  • What losers do you have?

None in hearts or spades but one, maybe two in clubs depending on which opponent has the Club-smallK. We have no obvious trump losers though a bad trump break (4-1 or 5-0) could/would be rather awkward.

  • What dangers are there?

Losing 2 club tricks if South has the Club-smallK

a bad trump break as mentioned above

  • What can you do about losers and dangers?

Unless we are really lucky, there is nothing we can do about the club position. We will probably have to play Club-smallA and a second club and hope West has the Club-smallK.

However, we must be careful how we play the trump suit. As we cannot ruff anything with dummy’s trumps, our first job is to draw trumps.

When we have a holding like the diamond suit above, we want to avoid a diamond loser if either opponent has Diamond-smallJxxx. There is nothing we can do if North has that holding but we can avoid a diamond loser if South does. (the same logic applies when either opponent has all 5 missing trumps though here we would lose a trump trick).

So, we must not play both high diamonds from our hand first. The best play is to cash Diamond-smallA and then play low towards the queen in dummy. When North discards, we know to finesse on the third round:

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

 

North discards three major cards as you draw all South’s trumps. Then comes the crucial moment, Club-smallA and a second club. If North plays low, then you put up dummy’s Club-smallQ and hope it scores a trick.

It does and you have made your slam, slightly lucky because of the club situation but you played trumps in a sensible manner and so earned that piece of good luck.

Richard Solomon

 

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