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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

You may be suffering a few withdrawal symptoms at not being able to get down to your club these days. So, we will give you a bit of bridge on-line with a daily question about the bidding, defence or play of a hand….and then the following day we will feature the hand which I hope will be interesting, perhaps provoke some debate but at least gives you a daily diet of bridge.

No question, today… just a story, a true one. Aren’t they all?


Bridge in NZ.png     nz map.jpg


Calling “heads or tails”.       Heads or Tails.jpg

If you were asked to predict the fall of a coin twice, and you were told once the answer would be “heads” and once “tails”, then the safest way to call is “heads” twice or “tails” twice. At least you would win once. (of course, a gambler would say otherwise!) That was almost the situation when you found yourself twice on lead with a very similar holding to 2 x3NT contracts. (Pairs)

It was not a question of which suit because your partner had each time entered the bidding but more a case of which card:

Hand one with you West:

N/S Vul.

Spade-small Q9732

Heart-small 85

Diamond-small A62

Club-small K82

West              North            East                South

                        1Diamond-small                3Club-small1                  3NT

All Pass

1 Weak Jump  

Your lead?

Fast forward 15 minutes and you are West on lead to 3NT once again:

Not much more bidding though a subtlly different auction this time (N/S Vul):

Spade-small T6

Heart-small K98

Diamond-small 975

Club-small J8742

West              North            East                South

                                                                        2NT (20-22)

Pass                3Club-small 1                 3Heart-small 2             3NT

All Pass

1 Major Suit enquiry

2 “Yes, I do have a major!”

Your lead, once more!

happy players.jpg

So, what’s theory?

 If you lead the king from your three to the king holding, then you have probably given away an extra trick unnecessarily when declarer holds AJx and certainly given away an extra trick when declarer has Qxx. So, leading low away from the king seems to be technically correct.

However, especially when playing Pairs, leading the king might sometimes gain. Indeed, it was certainly the best lead this day:

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


When greeted with a club lead, South would have wished they had made a negative double rather than bidding 3NT. 11 tricks in hearts (12 if no diamond ruff) and 12 in diamonds would be pretty easy with normal distribution. However, South would have not felt quite so happy had their partner jumped to 4Spade-small over the double (with a different North hand). Then, playing in 3NT might have scored better.

With at least 11 tricks available in hearts, South would be looking for a way to get a reasonable score from the board. They needed to make at least 11 tricks in 3NT. The lead of the Club-smallK suggested a doubleton. So, duck once and hope West holds the Diamond-smallA (If East has it, you are booked for a big fat zero!). You would be mortally wounded when West produced a third club defeating the contract by 2 tricks.

So, nice try that Club-smallK lead. Alas, maybe South was playing Teams as they ducked 2 rounds of clubs! 3NT made 10 tricks but that was still a mighty good score for East-West.

Do you lead partner’s suit?

That is probably the first question you must ask yourself regarding the second problem. South has 20-22, North enough to go to game and yet your partner is still bidding…and you have 3 hearts headed by the king. Well, surely, South has the Heart-smallA or else why are they bidding 3NT (QXX?)? Has South got Heart-smallAQ doubleton? Well, if that’s the case, leading partner’s suit is a disaster but not one for which you have to apologize!

Come on, win at least the post-mortem. Lead their suit. These mavericks who bid freely after a strong opposition 2NT must be proven right…or wrong! Yet, which heart? The textbook one? Come consistent… and prove partner right!

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


Well, that’s a match-point man’s 2NT opening. If you are going to call it a 2NT opening, then don’t change horses mid-stream…though while you would have preferred a diamond lead, you know you are almost certain to get a heart lead now.

On the Heart-smallK lead, there are 10 obvious tricks….no more and no less…and no match-points with the field making all bar one trick in the spade game or slam. No diamond ruff this time to save you.

Alas, West decided this time to call “tails” and not “heads”. Out came the technically correct and practical disaster lead of the Heart-small8…and East-West received a not great score when most of the field stopped in the spade game...-690 as opposed to -680.

So, rightly or wrongly, stick to your call (even if you are technically wrong!). This time, the call of heads (that of leading the king) was the best both times. Maybe, like me, you call “tails” twice…once wrong and the other time with the first hand above, the inferior choice, the low card. I hope your bridge guessing is better than your calling of the toss!

Richard Solomon

And the problem for Tuesday is…..

Again you are West holding:

Spade-small AQ87

Heart-small AJ8

Diamond-small KJ42

Club-small AJ

Dealer North. N/S Vul.

West              North            East                South

                        1Diamond-small                Pass              Pass

x                      Pass              1Spade-small                   Pass


See you tomorrow.



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