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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Getting a Plus.

It may not be a big plus but to go negative would be an absolute disaster. Your partner had a decision to make when you doubled for a second time. They thought that beating the opponent’s game contract would more easily produce a plus score than trying for a minor suit game. You could discuss that decision later. For now, you had to beat 4Spade-small. It is your lead, your chance to beat their game. They only had 16 hcp between them but you need to go positive. A good lead would help. 

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

 

You are on lead to 4Spade-small x. You have a good hand. That is why you doubled! So, simply, what do you lead?

It looks like you should lead from your long and strong diamond suit. That is what West did and finding the right initial lead two tricks later was, possibly, two tricks too late.

The textbook says that when your side has the majority of the high-card points, the opponents can normally only make their tricks by scoring ruffs or by cross-ruffing. You have to stop them doing that.

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

 

Diamond-smallA was ruffed at trick 1 with declarer playing a low club towards the Club-smallT. West rose, correctly, and played Spade-smallA and another spade… possibly too late.

South won in hand to ruff a club and returned to hand with a heart to ruff a second club with dummy’s last trump. At that point South tried ducking a heart to West. With one trump left, the defence could/ should have prevailed by playing back a third heart but a diamond enabled South to ruff, draw trump and run the hearts for 10 tricks.

Not great defence but there would have been no problems at all for the defence had West started with a low trump (“low” just in case your partner has the singleton king…they did once as I discovered to my cost!). Then, two more rounds of trumps when in with the club and even though South can play hearts for 4 tricks, South must lose four top tricks in the process.

You might argue that East did not help the cause by passing the double of 4Spade-small. Had they called 4NT asking West to pick a minor suit, the diamond fit would have been found with 5Diamond-small making just for the loss of two heart tricks. West did have two chances to beat 4Spade-smallx and although they could not be sure how strong their partner was, a low trump at trick 1 would have set them off on a sound way to beat the ambitious major game.

Some more defending to do for Sunday. This time, your partner has led Spade-small10 against some routine opposition bidding. It’s Teams and you would like to beat the contract.

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

 

1Heart-small promised at least 5 hearts with 3Club-small showing 4 hearts and 6-9 hcp. South needed no more encouragement to bid to game. Your partner leads Spade-small10 to the Spade-small3, your Spade-smallQ and declarer’s Spade-small2. What to do at trick 2?

Richard Solomon

 

 

 

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