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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

It’s not what they play…..

Which way? What to do? It looks like you can beat the contract. Maybe but you have an important decision to make and if you get it wrong, the score is -620. Decision time!

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 

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

 

A lively auction sees you defending 4Spade-small. Your partner starts with Heart-smallA on which you play a very discouraging Heart-smallT at trick 1. Trick 2 goes Diamond-small6, Diamond-small3 your ace and Diamond-small7 from declarer…. and trick 3?

The first point is that although you are about to make the big decision, you are not on your own. Your partner is trying to help you. Not that that seems to make the decision any easier. So, what are the options?

The first is to give your partner a diamond ruff. Assuming that your partner has the Club-smallA, that will give the defence four tricks, the minor aces, a top heart and a diamond ruff.

However, if you are wrong and that diamond lead is from Diamond-small64 doubleton, your side will almost certainly not score the Club-smallA as both dummy’s clubs will disappear on the run of the diamonds.

The second is that you switch back to hearts or even play a club, anticipating that your side will score two heart tricks (AK) and both minor aces. Assume that West does have two diamonds.

What to do?

How do you know what to do? The answer is that your partner is trying to help you. Watch what they play…and what they do not play. They, too, are looking for four tricks and were no doubt hoping that three of them would come from the Heart-smallAK and    Club-smallA. They do not know for sure how many hearts you have but can assume you have at least three to discourage. Likewise, you do not know how many hearts your partner has, usually 2, 3 or 4.

Partner’s difficulty is that they would expect you to have more than two clubs for your club raise. However, if they had 6, they could expect or hope that the Club-smallA was cashing. So, after Heart-smallA and Club-smallA, you might now see Heart-smallK especially if West had only three hearts. That’s their three tricks. If you have the Diamond-smallA, it is not going to disappear. They could exit safely in clubs and wait and hope you will provide.

Yet, that was not the way West defended. Out came the diamond at trick 2. They did not have to defend that way. You would have to assume that there was no future in hearts. If that was the case, then the only way to defeat this contract (unless West had a trump trick) was to try to give your partner a ruff…

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

 

At the table, East returned their Club-small8 but when the second round of hearts was ruffed, South had 10 tricks.

wrong decision.jpg

South had done well to play the Diamond-small7 at trick 1 sowing the seeds of doubt. Otherwise, it would have been obvious to East that West had led a singleton diamond.

However, although West might have cashed the Club-smallA first as that trick was surely needed if 4Spade-small was to be beaten, for East there was another clue in what their partner had not played. There was a high chance the Heart-smallK was not cashing and the contract needed to be beaten with a ruff. 5 out of 6 times a high heart was led against 4Spade-small, the contract made.

They have the spades, again!

     
West Deals
None Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
9
A 10 7 4
A J 6 2
A Q 9 2
West North East South
Pass 1  2  Dbl
3  4  4  ?

 

1Club-small is 3+ clubs. Where to from here?

Richard Solomon

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