All News

New To The Table. The Play of the Hand.

Making the Two Games….or Failing in a Good Cause?

We left you on Friday with one pair of hands and two contracts to play. So, let’s look first of all at the one I hope you did not reach, 3NT.

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

 

East leads the Diamond-smallQ and on the first round West plays an encouraging Diamond-small2. You have no problems in the black suits but even if spades broke evenly, you have only 8 top tricks. So, you need to play on hearts. If the heart finesse works, then all will be well and you are likely to make 11 if not 12 tricks on a good spade day…. but if the finesse fails?

Therefore, you must stop West winning the Heart-smallK and playing back a diamond. You must duck the first two rounds of diamonds (after the queen wins, East continues a low diamond to West’s king. West then plays Diamond-small8 back). You win the third diamond with the ace because if the suit breaks 4-4 in the opponents’ hands, you will just lose three diamond tricks and Heart-smallK and still make your contract.

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

 

As long as you ducked two diamonds, West cannot continue the suit and you will make your contract with one overtrick.

That may seem good for East-West but playing Pairs, North-South should still get a poor score as there are more tricks to be made in 4Heart-small even when the heart finesse failed:

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

 

Here West leads Club-smallQ. Declarer has no worries with diamonds and has only two little clubs and one heart loser. On the actual lay-out, you can make 12 tricks though it is slightly trickier than it first looks. You need to ruff one small club in dummy and discard a second on the 4th round of spades.

However, there is a little problem if you do start to do that. Play the other club honour and either play Heart-smallQ immediately or if you choose to ruff a club by leading a spade to your hand first, make sure you lead dummy’s low heart not the queen when you take your heart finesse, as otherwise West can win and play Club-smallJ and if the Heart-smallQ is not in dummy any more, East can over-ruff dummy’s trump.

Playing the Heart-smallQ initially is fine as long as West takes the Heart-smallK but were they to duck and you repeated the finesse, then West can remove dummy’s third trump before you get to ruff either club.

So, you should always manage 11 tricks on this deal, better than playing in 3NT… +450 as opposed to +430 for making 4NT. You can make 12 tricks in hearts but never more than 11 in no-trumps even on a non-diamond lead. So, good bidding should lead to the better contract and ensure a better Pairs result (extra overtricks in Teams bridge help, too).

Richard Solomon

More experienced readers should consider whether in 3NT the only way they will get a good Pairs score and beat those in a heart game is by presuming the heart finesse will work. If that happens and spades break 3-3, they can make 12 tricks. That will beat those in hearts. So, maybe duck that Diamond-smallQ and win the next round. This line is fine when the heart finesse works, but you fail in 3NT when the finesse fails. That line might be worth taking only in Pairs and as long as you have a sympathetic partner who will understand why you are writing down -50.

Go Back View All News Items

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