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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

The “hunt” for the queen.

Where is she? She is not singleton. Either defender could hold her. There are only four cards missing in that suit which is often but not always the trump suit. It was not trumps in the deal below.

It seems like a pure guess. Play off ace, king and she will not appear but the moment you take a second -round finesse, you will know she appears after the jack is played. Women have minds of their own!

Yet, is it a pure guess? Let’s see….

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

 

Probably, you would prefer to be defending 4Spade-smalldoubled but partner pushed you to the 5 level. You can afford to lose a couple of aces but there is also the club problem.

West leads the Spade-smallA to be followed by a second spade with East following both times. Plan the play. (trumps do not break 4-0 and both defenders have at least one club).

So, win the spade , play Heart-smallK and a heart to the ace (East started with three) and a diamond to the jack and West’s ace with West exiting a second diamond to the queen and king. You can draw the last trump and then what…where is that Club-smallQ?  Are you any the wiser?

The bidding did suggest West started with seven spades and you have since discovered they had one heart. ..and they have two diamonds. They could have three, or four..or two. The more diamonds, the less clubs.

A plan of discovery

It is almost impossible that East has less than three diamonds. If East had two, then West had six…and seven spades and one heart. If that was the lay-out and you fail in your contract, then you can call for a redeal, a fouled board…7+6+1 = ….wink

So, before you draw the last trump, you could ruff your Diamond-small8. If West follows, you are back to the drawing board as to where that Club-smallQ is since West could have one or two clubs. However, when West discards a spade, the picture becomes much clearer.

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

 

Seven spades, one heart, two diamonds and therefore three clubs. The location of the queen has been exposed.

You might argue that being vulnerable, West is likely to have a stronger hand for their 4Spade-small jump and that since they were missing the Diamond-smallQ, they were more likely to hold the Club-smallQ. That’s a maybe, while they could equally have had better shape: e.g. 7141 shape. Counting out the hand by playing the third round of diamonds proved a certainty. It did not have to but it just might.

No cost: big gain.

Would you have preferred to have been defending 4Spade-smallx? I suppose the answer depends largely on whether you had made5Heart-small. However, 4Spade-smallx is itself an interesting contract, especially on North’s singleton diamond lead. West will win to lead a club,    say Club-smallQ, which North would duck bravely to South. (If they do not duck and try cashing two rounds of hearts, the score should still be +200 ) However, Heart-smallK, then Diamond-smallK and another diamond would probably defeat the contract by two tricks as West discards one club on the third diamond and ruffs the other: two trumps, two red suit tricks and a club.

Most other leads defeat the contract though a trump lead or switch after say Heart-smallA, is certainly the best with the defence taking three clubs, a spade, a heart and a diamond…+800 even better than the 650 South earned in their heart contract.

Another queen on the loose

Missing again. Where is she?

heart queen.jpg
Has she gone East or West?

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

 

It is the trump queen this time. Shades of today’s hand with the opposition once more pushing us higher than we would want to go.

2Heart-small was Michael's style showing 5+ spades and at least 5 cards in a minor. 3Club-small was “pass or correct” to diamonds. Partner raised to game…but then so did East.

The lead is the Club-smallK. Where is “the lady”?

She will reveal herself tomorrow.

Richard Solomon

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