All News

Play and Defend Better: for improving players

Patience and Prayer: The Day of the Jack (all!).

It’s time to defend a hand. It’s one of those 3NT contracts where it looks like you are on your own. You have an 11 count, declarer a 10+ overcall and dummy an ominous 14. Partner could have a useful card but you seem to have most of the defence’s assets. Here you are as East:

Spade-small AJT72

Heart-small T8

Diamond-smallA4

Club-smallQ963

and the bidding as gone:

West              North            East                South

                                             1Spade-small                  2Diamond-small                

Pass                2Spade-small                  Pass            2NT

Pass                3NT                All Pass

Partner leads Spade-small3, either a singleton or a three or four card holding in your suit which they have not previously shown. This is what you see in dummy:

 
East Deals
None Vul
Q 9 8
A Q 9
K 3 2
K 10 7 5
   
N
W   E
S
 
A J 10 7 2
10 8
A 4
Q 9 6 3
West North East South
  dummy you  
    1  2 
Pass 2  Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

Declarer plays low from dummy at trick 1…and you have your first decision. If partner has four small spades, then you should play Spade-smallA to drop the singleton Spade-smallK. However, if declarer has doubleton Spade-smallK, you have just given the declarer a bonus second spade trick.

Many players would not bid 2NT after 2Spade-small with just singleton king. Also, had your partner held 4 little spades, they had the option of bidding a pre-emptive 3Spade-small. So, the odds seem to favour inserting Spade-small10 and hope you can slowly beat the contract.

Spade-smallK wins and South plays four winning hearts (they had KJ73) with dummy then you throwing a club. You have to cling on to 4 potentially winning spades for as long as you can. Next comes a small diamond to dummy’s king and your ace. There is nothing to be gained now from playing a black suit. So, play back a diamond.

Declarer’s queen wins the trick with partner following low…no jack…and presumably declarer does not hold it as the next card he plays is the Club-smallA followed by a club to the king.

Are you still awake? Do you still want to beat the contract? What’s your plan? (Your partner follows with two low clubs.)

Your last 6 cards, when Club-smallA is played, are :Spade-small AJ72   Club-small Q96

You can rest assured that if you follow with two low clubs that declarer will play a third round of clubs. Your queen wins but you have to give declarer a second spade trick (2 spades, 4 hearts, 1 diamond and 2 clubs… game!).

So, on the second round of clubs, tell the declarer (quietly!) that you are not going to be end-played! Throw the Club-smallQ. Hopefully, you did.

East Deals
None Vul
Q 9 8
A Q 9
K 3 2
K 10 7 5
6 4 3
6 5 4 2
J 7 5
J 4 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
A J 10 7 2
10 8
A 4
Q 9 6 3
 
K 5
K J 7 3
Q 10 9 8 6
A 8
West North East South
    1  2 
Pass 2  Pass 2 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

 

Playing your partner for the Club-smallJ was actually not that unlikely. From the bidding, declarer has 5 diamonds and from the play, 4 hearts, at least 1 spade and 2 clubs. Unless that Spade-smallK was a singleton (you cannot get every defence right), there is no room for any more clubs in declarer’s hand….and had they held Club-smallJ, they would probably finesse hoping you did not have Club-smallQ or that it was doubleton.

So, after the unblock, out came a third club to partner’s Club-smallJ..then Diamond-smallJ and you took the last two tricks with your Spade-smallAJ. Nothing flashy…until the time for the unblock came. Hopefully, you were there.

Yes, South could have made their contract by playing Diamond-small10 and running that card to your ace. That was not your problem here. Patience and eventually taking the hopeful but likely chance that your partner was dealt both minor suit jacks. Whoever said jacks were not important cards! Every jack scored a trick on this deal.

Richard Solomon



Go Back View All News Items

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