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Play and Defend Better: for improving players revisited

Another Duck!

Lightning never strikes twice, does it? It sure does at the bridge table.

same declarer
same unusual situation
same week
same contract
same lead…

would that be 6 “same’s”?

same result?

Yesterday’s Play and Defend article featured a neat duck by Hamilton’s Jenny Millington, a duck in a slam which, a little fortuitously, enabled her to make her contract. A defender could not tell whether Jenny was really off two side-suit aces or just AK of a suit with a void in another suit.

Just to remind you…Jenny was in 6Heart-small on the lead of the Spade-smallK which she ducked.

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

 

East continued with Spade-smallQ allowing Jenny to discard her club on the Spade-smallJ. She wanted East to continue spades rather than switch. History repeated itself three days later

East Deals
None Vul
8 6
Q J 8 4
K J 2
Q J 10 2
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
A J 9 7
A K 10 6 5 3 2
A 5

 

Jenny as South opened 1Heart-small. West made a take-out double with North showing a constructive heart raise. Within a flash, Jenny was in 6Heart-small and received the Spade-smallK lead.

Partner certainly did have a constructive raise though Jenny would gladly have swapped all those high card points in partner’s hand for just one black suit king!
A quick analysis of the situation showed she almost certainly needed some help from the opposition because the take-out double indicated that the club finesse was going to fail. She could not avoid a spade loser.

The only difference from the previous hand was that after ducking the opening lead, she wanted West to try and cash their Diamond-smallA…and then there would be no club loser.

So, she ducked and waited…and waited…and waited for the colour of the next card West played… as three days before, it was a second spade but this time that meant her contract had to fail!

East Deals
None Vul
8 6
Q J 8 4
K J 2
Q J 10 2
K Q 5
7
A 9 8 7 4
K 9 7 4
 
N
W   E
S
 
10 4 3 2
9
Q 10 6 5 3
8 6 3
 
A J 9 7
A K 10 6 5 3 2
A 5

 

West’s best exit is probably their trump, waiting for which side-suit trick South wants to give them. However, any major card would have done. (surely no-one would lead a low diamond at trick 2 against 6Heart-small, would they!)  

Nice try, Jenny. 50% success rate though Jenny was the only one of the 4 declarers at Hamilton who failed in this contract. The Diamond-smallA initial lead got its just desserts.

So, everything the same except the result. Just be very careful when Jenny ducks your Spade-smallK opening lead against a slam, especially if you have an ace on the side. The only time when you can be confident of playing the ace is if the contract were 6NT!

Richard Solomon

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