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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

THE GUIDE.

While beating a contract by two tricks is a nice result, beating that same contract by one trick is better than not beating it all! That was not the initial problem given yesterday. On the assumption, though, you found the right lead, you do not want any mishaps afterwards:

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

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

 

2Diamond-small was a 3- way Multi with 2Spade-small not forcing but better hearts than spades. 3NT was showing a long strong minor and had an element of gambling since South could have bid 3 of their minor also as a strong minor hand. The hand is strong but not strong enough to open a game-forcing 2Club-small.

So, what was your choice of opening lead? Declarer is strong with lots of tricks to cash in a minor suit. Whichever of your "dynamic" minor suits you might choose would be a pure guess and even then might not be right. You cannot expect your partner to have an ace (you have 2!) and win a minor suit lead and poke a major through declarer. Even then, that may only be 4 tricks. You are more ambitious.

If you are going to take tricks, it does look like the majors offer the better chance. Which one?

If South opens a Gambling 3NT, then the recommended lead is an ace. It’s the best chance of taking 5 tricks before declarer takes 9. It has the added benefit of being able to switch the attack if your initial lead is a failure.

second chance.jpg 2.jpg

While South is stronger in the above auction, the same principle applies.

There is a clue in the bidding as where to start. It sounds like South might be relying on their partner for the heart suit. South certainly has no interest in hearts. Thus, you can start off with the Heart-smallA and if the king appears in dummy, think again. The king appeared but not in dummy:

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

 

On the Heart-smallA, your partner played a kind of encouraging Heart-small2 which became very much more encouraging when declarer played Heart-smallK !

You continue with Heart-smallQ with declarer throwing a low spade. Which card do you play to trick 3?

You know you can beat the contract by two tricks if you lead your low heart and declarer misguesses and your partner switches to a spade. That is a lot of “ifs and buts” and would require rather a nervous wait while your partner decides what to do after scoring the Heart-smallJ. Why not help them?

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

 

West played Heart-small9 at trick three, giving South no problem in that suit. They covered with East left to wonder why you had possibly sacrificed a heart trick (East knew you had a choice of hearts to play). Assuming there was a reason, it looked like a signal to play the higher of the other suits. Both defenders could assume from the look of dummy that South held diamonds.

Therefore, East switched to a spade and the contract was defeated by one trick. You can see what the effect of the Club-smallJ switch would have been.

If you can, help partner. They cannot always see what needs to be played as clearly you can.

Another Multi 2Diamond-small to defend against for tomorrow. As West, you hold:

     
A K Q J 7 6
10 8 7 5
10 9 6
 
N
W   E
S
   

 

and hear South open a 3-way Multi 2Diamond-small, a weak 2 in a major, 20-22 balanced or a strong single-suited minor.

No-one is vulnerable and you are playing Teams.

Do you bid? If so, what?

Enjoy Sunday.

Richard Solomon

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