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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

A Way to 10 tricks.

The opposition got off to the best lead..for them! Yet, your rather reluctantly bid game contract is there to be made as long as you tread the right path. One little slip and +790 would become -200. Watch…

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

 

You did not compete initially as game was not really on your mind after partner’s 12-14 1NT opener. East’s 2NT showed both minors, usually 5-5 + in shape. However, you were not going to let the bidding die in 3Diamond-small… and a couple of bids later, you were in game, and then doubled!

West led theHeart-small 6. Plan the play. East followed with Heart-small2. What do you play at trick 2? You are playing Pairs…not that it matters as at either form of the game, +790 is heaps better than -200.

You would seem to have three top losers, two spades and the Club-smallA. If East has the Club-smallA (they did show both minor suits in the bidding), then your task should be relatively simple. Yet, West must have some reason for doubling..and you already know that they have at most three small hearts. The other thing you also know is that if East does have at least 10 minor suit cards, their low heart at trick one suggests that the spade break is not 3-3.

A way to 9 tricks.

All would be well if there was a 2-2 trump break. You can ruff 2 losing clubs in dummy and make a very easy +790. So, our declarer played a high trump at trick 2.

oops  1.jpg

No joy as East discarded a diamond, a low one. They seemed to like that suit. Next came Club-small8 with East following low. South played high but West even higher (Club-smallA) and exited with a third round of trumps, another low diamond from East.

Again, in dummy, South played Club-small7 but when East covered with Club-smallJ, South’s fate was sealed.

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

 

One club could be ruffed in dummy but that left Club-small9 to be beaten after a piece of hopeful but hopeless (for declarer) spade play with Club-small10 beating the Club-small9 as the fourth defensive trick and -200. A shame for South. They were perhaps unlucky in that West had Club-smallA and all that South had to do was run Club-small8. Yet, that second round of trumps was not a great idea.

A way to 10 tricks

Running the Club-small8 was certainly one way though the risk on this first round of clubs would not have been needed had South not played a second round of trumps. What was highly likely was that West was going to lead trumps at every possible opportunity. Don’t help them.

So, at trick 2, lead a low club to the queen and West’s ace. Back would come a second trump which again can be won in dummy. Play a second club. West’s defence is not that of a player holding singleton Club-smallA. They would have led that at trick 1. So, a club to the Club-smallQ will win. Now, a third club ruffed in dummy and Diamond-smallA and a diamond ruff and a fourth round of clubs ruffed with dummy’s remaining trump honour. You can safely ruff a second diamond with Heart-small10, draw trump and concede 2 spade tricks but still make +790. Not so hard. East had told you how to play the contract by virtue of their 2NT bid.

Who is right and who is wrong?

It is an ominous sign when one side leads a trump at trick 1 and the other plays a round of trumps at trick 2. Someone may well be wrong as was the case here.

Only a trump lead threatened this contract and to that extent, West had done well. At several tables, West led Club-smallA and that did not hurt declarer’s cause. West had expected or hoped their partner would be a little stronger. However, 4Heart-smallx should have been made with the best East-West can do be to sacrifice in 5Diamond-small x, which can be no worse than three down -500.

In that contract, even if West tries to set up their own hand rather than ruffing clubs, South can give their partner a second trump trick as long as the defence leads clubs. Clubs, therefore, is the suit to be led by South whether playing 4Heart-smallx or defending 5Diamond-smallx.

So, it was relatively easy for South to make 10 tricks but not so hard to see that number reduce by one after a trump lead.

Grim Times

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

 

It did not look like partner’s light opening was going to have a happy ending. 3Club-small was natural, strong and perhaps on the verge of great things, at least scoring 9 tricks in 3NT. West led Spade-smallK and there seemed an obstacle to success. Had you asked, West’s king requested their partner to unblock any honour they held or else give reverse count. East played Spade-small2. Well, how are your prospects? You have still to play to trick 1.

Richard Solomon

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