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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Walking a Tightrope.

It’s Pairs and the bidding is fast and furious. You have rather pushed the opponents higher than they probably wanted to go and for that to be the right thing to do, you need to defend accurately. There’s no room for error. One slip will make you fall flat on your face..unpleasant...a zero! Are you ready?

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West Deals
N-S Vul
A 10 6 4
Q J 4
K Q J 5 2
4
Q 2
5 2
A 8 7 4
A K 6 5 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
you dummy    
1  Dbl 5  5 
6  Dbl Pass 6 
All pass      

Your 1Club-small promised at least 2 clubs. So, with substantially more, the right vulnerability and a partner with a handful and more of the suit, you bid 6Club-small. However, South is not to be denied.

 You lead Diamond-smallA and the first round goes Diamond-small2 Diamond-small6 from your partner and Diamond-small10 from declarer. You are still on lead….what next?

You have led the ace which has less chance of being ruffed and are greeted with a string of high diamonds in dummy. It would seem you have two choices to record a plus score. You can either hope that South really did have one club and cash your other ace or play a second diamond and trust partner can produce a trump at trick 2. There is certainly no spade trick for the defence now, if there ever was one.

South’s Diamond-small10 is an interesting card. Are they really 1-0 in the minors? It is possible but why did your partner play Diamond-small6 from      Diamond-small963? If declarer held Diamond-small109 doubleton, then again why did East play Diamond-small6 from Diamond-small63 doubleton (high discourage? Asking for the higher suit, spade? Natural Count?) or because it was the only one they held?

After the board was played and after West had unsuccessfully tried to cash the Club-smallK at trick 2, they admitted knowing that the Diamond-small10 had to be a false-card but was not clear what the true position was. This was it:

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

 

5Club-small showed a very long string of clubs so much so that that bid and South’s subsequent lurch to slam did suggest strongly that South was void in that suit..in which case there was only one suit to play at trick 2. I suppose there is always the chance that South did have a small club. You would kind of feel bad if that was the case and you had not taken your two aces.

Arguably, the Diamond-small10 was not the best card for South to play. Just following low with Diamond-small3 would not really have helped West much. Diamond-small10 almost said “I think you can give your partner a ruff. So, I am trying to deflect the true situation."

Was South wise to bid on to 6Heart-small? 6Club-smallx was going 3 down for +500, not a great score when 11 tricks in 5 of a major would produce 650…or in most cases 680? In fact, +500 would have only beaten 3 out of the 20 scores. Therefore, the loss of going minus would have been small compared to the gain that South achieved.

almost there.jpg

West had seemingly done the hard part in leading the Diamond-smallA and had to follow that through drawing a reasonable conclusion from their partner’s huge jump and South’s only being pushed into the slam zone that they had to continue diamonds to get the match-points, all of them. It would take a very cruel partner to point out that had the Club-smallA been cashing, that they could have beaten the slam at trick 2.

Like walking that tightrope, the path to success at the bridge table can be hair-raising. It is exciting at the bridge table, exhilarating, just as I believe, with the world below one on that tightrope. I hope never have to find that out!

Back to the beginnings..the opening bid.

What’s your choice with the hand below? Those who play Precision would have no problem…but for the rest of us?

 

 
A K 6
3
A K 10 9 4
A K 10 5
West North East South
  ?    

 

A nice hand but how nice?

Richard Solomon

 

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