All News

Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Happy Ending?

Well, it could have been, should have been…despite the gloomy outlook. What declarer did was not stupid and, on some days, might have worked, except not this one….and there was a little hopeful clue that they seemed to miss:

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

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.

Our declarer did not ask and went about their business hoping that West would gain the lead with the Club-smallA and would not know enough to cash the Spade-smallQ. Of course, a nice passive heart switch would suit declarer fine….dreaming…unless West held both aces. Even then, they might underlead the Diamond-smallA and you might guess right (actually, in your desperate state, it is no guess as you would go up with the Diamond-smallK and rejoice.).
Back to Reality!

That was all conjecture and certainly not the reality. East took the Club-smallA and played back a second spade. By the time West had finished cashing spades and then obeyed their partner’s signal to switch to diamonds, the contract was down 4, -400, no great score at Pairs or Teams.
sadness.jpg

What made it worse was that the contract was unbeatable.

North Deals
Both Vul
8 5 3
A K J 10
K 10 5 2
8 2
K Q 10 9 7 6
9 8 6 4 2
7
7
 
N
W   E
S
 
4 2
3
A Q 9 8 6 4
A 9 6 3
 
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      

 

(East, of course, had been silenced by North's opening bid.)

One problem with South’s approach was that West did know enough to cash the Spade-smallQ, had they held Club-smallA. West knew where the Spade-smallJ was and from their partner’s Spade-small2, playing reverse count, that East had either a singleton or small doubleton spade. If it was a singleton, then there was really no chance of beating the contract (yes, it would provide South with an extra overtrick, useful at Pairs…though maybe a diamond switch after no Spade-smallJ appeared would save that). Yet, West would not “die waiting” to find out and would cash the Spade-smallQ.

Even if the spade suit broke 4-4, that still would give the defence three spades and two aces (maybe a second diamond trick as well). So, there was very little chance of success by winning Spade-smallA and hoping. South might have noticed that Spade-small2 as well. If that was an even number, four, then the contract would fail. Say though the spades were 6-2? Chances of success were still slim. South needed East to hold both missing aces. If that was the situation, South had very little to lose by ducking the first round of spades..and, just maybe, lots to gain.

Ducking the opening lead exposed South's inadequate spade holding to the world…but it was the winning action here. There would even be one over-trick assuming spades were continued at trick 2. There could have been a happy ending and not for the defence.

One hand: two questions 

 
K Q 5 3
A K J 10 7
K 8
A 8
West North East South
    Pass Pass
2 NT ?    

 

It would be very interesting if 2NT showed 20-22 but it did not! It showed both minors, 5-5 or better and less than an opener.

Our first question is what would you bid? Answer that, honestly, before reading on and then answer this question with the same hand with the auction progressing upwards at great speed:

                        West              North            East                South

                                                                    Pass                Pass

                        2NT                3Club-small 1             5Diamond-small                   5Heart-small

                        Pass                ?

1 Both majors with better hearts than spades
Two questions for tomorrow.

Richard Solomon

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • NZB Foundation
  • Ryman