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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Unforeseen Danger.

A play problem for today. You receive a pretty friendly lead to your game contract. It should be an easy make…should be. Sometimes players can take their mind off the ball….

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

East Deals
None Vul
J 4 2
J 6
J 5
A K Q J 10 3
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
7
A K 10 8 4 2
A 10 9 8
5 4
West North East South
    Pass 1 
1  2  3  4 
All pass      

 

3Spade-small is a pre-emptive jump.

The lead is Diamond-smallK. Presumably, you will win the ace…and then?

It is almost a case of how did a declarer manage to go down when trumps broke 3-2 and at worst, there would be a spade, a heart and a diamond loser. How did they?

You could call it greed…and there is nothing wrong with some “greed” when you are playing a deal of bridge and especially playing Pairs. You want those overtricks, don’t you? That does not mean you "throw caution to the wind.”

The route to -50

South saw a great opportunity to get rid of their spade loser on the third round of clubs…and that was fine, but they did so without touching trumps. That proved disastrous:

East Deals
None Vul
J 4 2
J 6
J 5
A K Q J 10 3
A Q 9 8 5
Q 9 5
K Q 4 2
2
 
N
W   E
S
 
K 10 6 3
7 3
7 6 3
9 8 7 6
 
7
A K 10 8 4 2
A 10 9 8
5 4
West North East South
    Pass 1 
1  2  3  4 
All pass      

 

South played a club at trick 2. West ruffed the second round of clubs and conscious that their partner had supported spades, albeit with a weak hand, might well have the Spade-smallK. So, they cashed the Diamond-smallQ and underled their Spade-smallA and were rewarded when East won their king to play a third round of clubs. The Heart-smallQ had to provide West with a fourth trick for the defence, no matter whether South ruffed low or high.

Greed with caution

dont be reckless.jpg

It may be but don’t be reckless!

The concept was fine and indeed planning to discard the spade loser was a good idea but what actually happened, while unlucky, was not that unexpected. Either defender could have had a singleton club. West had a certain trump trick on the bidding. So, they went looking for extra tricks elsewhere rather than leading their singleton for a ruff.

South should have led two high hearts first. If trumps broke 3-2 without the queen appearing, then their plan of playing three top clubs could not cost and could only gain. If hearts broke 4-1 with a defender having originally Heart-smallQ9xx, then the club play would then be essential to try and avoid four losers.

Alternative ways of playing the trump suit are not full-proof. In playing a club to dummy after cashing on high heart, and then taking a heart finesse, might be very costly if West had Heart-smallQ doubleton and East a doubleton diamond (losing a spade, a diamond and two trumps).

Leading low towards Heart-smallJ may lose when East has singleton Heart-smallQ and West a doubleton Diamond-smallKQ or just Diamond-smallKx though would normally restrict trump losers to just one.

Nothing is certain. Therefore, playing off one’s two top hearts at least is always correct when trumps break 3-2...and could gain "big time" on the "really good day below".

What is certain is that there was a big risk in simply playing clubs with South falling victim to that risk. It would be different if South had a singleton club and say two little spades. Bad trump breaks can make some otherwise very solid contracts unplayable. It is a pity, therefore, to go down when the trump break is favourable.

On a really good day, the Heart-smallQ will be doubleton and declarer can go on and make all 13 tricks. That would be a really good score at Pairs. So, go for the overs but take the best line to make your contract first. I think we have said something similar in previous articles!

Don’t be too cautious, either!

What bid should you make with the following?

 

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

 

A very nice hand. What now?

We will reveal all on Wednesday.

Richard Solomon

 

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