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Play and Defend Better: for improving players

RIGHT SWITCH: WRONG RESULT?

Good defence and good declarer play on the same board? The end result could well not be good for both sides.The defence did all they could to defeat declarer’s 4 level contract. Would it be enough? Let’s see:

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

 

East’s 3Spade-small bid was a pre-emptive “Law” raise. East could anticipate that if they called just 2Spade-small that their opponents would compete in diamonds. So, “The Law” says with 9 trumps they should be safe at the 3 level…hence the pre-emptive jump.

North might have doubled 3Spade-small given the chance (it was Pairs and their opponents were vulnerable) though South elected to bid on in diamonds not giving their partner the chance. West led the Heart-smallA. Which card should East play to trick 1?

North would have been correct to have doubled 3Spade-small as that contract was heading for one down. However, what would be the fate of 4Diamond-small?

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

 

When a singleton appears on table in a trump contract, it is normal for the opening leader’s partner to indicate what might be a good switch by playing a low card for the lower of the other two non-trump suits and as high a card as the player can afford to indicate the higher suit. A middle card can indicate no preference or a desire for a trump switch or the suit led continued. (“You can work out which, partner!”)

please do as i say.jpg

   partner

So, East should suggest (note “suggest” not “demand”) a club switch by playing Heart-small3. Had West held Club-smallKxx, it might be hard for West to find the switch staring at dummy’s club suit. That was not the case here though West exited Club-small4 (middle of three small clubs). East won and despite South throwing Club-smallK under the ace, continued the suit.

South’s Club-smallJ won the trick and was followed by Diamond-smallQ from hand. South won and played a third round of clubs for the contract to be defeated with a club ruff…..

…but should it have been defeated? The answer is “no”. Seeing that 8 clubs had been played, South knew that one opponent could ruff the third round of clubs. Declarer had done reasonably well in throwing the Club-smallK under the ace (though from the bidding, this was almost certainly a false-card as South was marked with no more than one spade. One club too? Very unlikely!) They also played Diamond-smallQ leaving a slight doubt in West’s mind that East could have singleton Diamond-smallK.

However, there was a play that South could have made to guarantee the success of their contract. When in with the Club-smallJ, they should take the spade finesse and dispose of the winning Club-small10 on the Spade-smallA. The high Club-small9 was still in dummy. The bidding told South that the finesse was likely to work as it would be rather against the odds for East to make a pre-emptive raise with both Club-smallA and Spade-smallK. Since a club ruff was going to defeat 4Diamond-small, the difference between one down and two down would not be that great as others will be defeating 3Spade-small (unless the Spade-smallK was with East) or making 110 North-South from 3Diamond-small.

In 3Diamond-small, South would be risking their contract for an overtrick by taking the spade finesse.  

So, the defence should have done all they could to get a good score by pushing their opponents to the 4 level and be rewarded with -130, a poor result as those in 3Diamond-small may only score 110.

As it was, the defence achieved a plus score and a very good result from aggressive bidding and good defence.

Richard Solomon

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