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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Two Strange Views on One Hand.

When you are in a hole, do you accept your fate or try and dig your way out of it? If you take the latter course, there is a chance that you may slip even further down…and, of course, there is a presumption that you were badly off in the first place.

Two South players faced this problem in a Teams match:

     
West Deals
None Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
J 5
8 6 3 2
A K 8 4
6 5 4
West North East South
3  Dbl Pass ?

 

and came up with two different answers. The “straight down the middle” normal answer here seems to be to call 3Heart-small. Your partner made a take-out double which promises something similar to at least four cards in each major. You have four hearts, albeit not of supreme quality but you do not have that chronic a hand, not one quite good enough to bid 4Heart-small (it would have been better had the Diamond-smallK been in a different suit, hearts perhaps!) Nevertheless, 3Heart-small it is without too much thought.

Deep Thought....

One South did just that but the other gave it a little more thought, sometimes a very dangerous activity in which to indulge. What about passing the double? They could provide two certain tricks. It would be a very sad day when a second-in-hand take-out double could not provide three tricks. If partner did not have four hearts, then taking a small plus from defeating their contract could indeed be a winner. Otherwise, +100 as compared with +140 is no real loss.

Thus, 3Diamond-smallx became the final contract. We will see what happened to this contract shortly.

Meanwhile, at the other table, South was not prone to the above thoughts and bid a very normal 3Heart-small. That got passed round to a hitherto silent East who decided to double. South knew only too well that this was not a take-out double. East expected to defeat this contract.

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

     
West Deals
None Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
J 5
8 6 3 2
A K 8 4
6 5 4
West North East South
3  Dbl Pass 3 
Pass Pass Dbl ?

 

This is where we came in. Are you in a hole? If so, should you do anything about it? Maybe you have a better place elsewhere? What to do?

That’s the question we left you with yesterday. Our South started to think, gave it “a little more thought”. Someone once said that was a “very dangerous activity in which to indulge”! What do they know?

The double diamond hold got South thinking that no-trumps might lessen the impact of East’s heart stack and might be a safer place to play, even if it was doubled. It was!

So, a quick question before you see all four hands (no peeking!). Which South achieved the better result, the one defending   3Diamond-smallx or the one in 3NTx? Would they have done better to have played in 3Heart-smallx?

I will not ask you to calculate the score at the two tables but the results were interesting!

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

 

So, is North the “bad guy” in all this deep thought? You may not think that the North hand is the most outstanding take-out double you have ever seen but it should just about hold up in “a court of bridge”. Both majors, the right singleton but not good enough to call 4Diamond-small which with a better hand and the above shape would be the right call. Imagine if partner had a weak no trump with say, 4-3 in the majors. North is the one who needs to act.

Any hopes North had of scoring a club ruff were soon extinguished against 3Diamond-smallx by the sight of the six-card club suit in dummy. South duly made their two tricks while North made their two. If North does not take their club tricks quickly, they will lose one following a heart finesse. The spade ruff, if it eventuates, simply replaces the second club trick, the defence still only taking four tricks.  If they take the high clubs early, then there is no chance of giving South a spade ruff.   

Either way, the result was +470, 3Diamond-smallx making.

deep hole.jpg

What then of 3NTX? West led a pedestrian Diamond-smallQ but there was nothing “pedestrian” about the remaining tricks for the defence. South would have done better by simply taking the two ace kings and moving on, somewhere else,anywhere else! “Hope springs eternal” but created another loser! At trick 2, a heart went to the jack. A club was returned with a second heart played as was a second club.

South could only now give East the Heart-smallA after which there were four club and three spade tricks for the defence, bringing their total to 10 tricks, 6 down, +1400, against not vulnerable opponents.

14 imps in for deciding to defend 3Diamond-smallx. Actually, it was 2 imps out since had South bid 3Heart-small and passed the double of 3Heart-small, they would have gained 16 imps since in that contract, South could not avoid 5 major suit losers. That's right, just five...hardly a deep hole from which to try and escape.

I suppose the question one must ask is from which hole was the other South trying to escape? Their partner had all they could have asked for and more…five hearts!

I will refrain from even commenting about “over-thinking” decisions. Penalties speak louder than words!

Something much milder for Wednesday. Something for our less experienced players, perhaps.

     
East Deals
N-S Vul
 
N
W   E
S
 
K Q J 10 4
Q 9 7
K J 10
Q 9
West North East South
    1  2 
Pass Pass ?  

 

As East, what action would you take?

Richard Solomon

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