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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Partner’s Right…even when they are Wrong!

That’s part of the package when you play Bridge. You are in it together and you just have to go along with what they decide to do, even though you feel they are wrong. Nowhere is this more true, even “truer”foot-in-mouth, than in the world of penalty doubles….

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

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

 

The above statement may seem strange in relation to the above sequence as we were the ones who made the penalty double! Once you have pressed the “double” button, you do not get a chance for an “undo” unless one opponent decides a redouble is appropriate. We will return to the theme of “trust” a little later.

There was no redouble and we asked you yesterday for your choice of lead. We asked the Panel that, too. There was only one suit which did not get a look-in and that was diamonds. There were those who did not look beyond partner’s suit.(trust?) They did, after all, open the bidding, vulnerable… surely with a decent suit:

Michael Ware “Spade-smallJ: Club-smallK might cost a trick. Partner's spades vulnerable in 2nd seat should hopefully stand this lead. A diamond is just too passive for me.”

Nigel Kearney “Spade-smallJ: I hope partner has good spades. Vulnerable in second seat is not the time to mess around, even with a void. Club-smallK is a close second choice.”

Expectation of a safe lead, a lead to produce a trick, perhaps. Part of the reason we did double was that they had opened the bidding. We did presume the Panel would double though our action was questioned by our next two panelists:

Matt Brown “Club-smallK: I think this is clear for two reasons.

  • The Spade-smallJ could blow an important trick (give partner K98...)
  • Our first priority should be making sure this goes down. We add one club (trick) to go with our 2/3 trumps and hopefully partner's spade. The Club-smallK is only disastrous when RHO has the ace (nothing lost/gained otherwise) and even then, partner could have the Jack.

I don't like double. I don't really see this being 500 very often at all to justify it and I don't like telling them to play towards dummy's K7x/Q7x/J7x trump twice when we could have been just sitting back on three trump tricks if we leave declarer unaware.”

Stephen Blackstock " Likely Spade-smallJ, but a club or even a low trump may work better. Almost anything could be right.

Yes, I do object to the double. Understandable perhaps against weak opponents but naïve, to put it kindly, against a good declarer. The opening bid has placed many of the missing high cards for East, but the heart distribution was initially unknown (now certain), and it wasn’t impossible that North held one of the club honours. Now East will be double dummy from the outset, and you can look forward to being end played more than once. I expect declarer will make at least one trick more than he would have done without the information so kindly given him, so the double risks a great deal to gain only a little."

How is the play going to unfold? Kris wants to be one step ahead of declarer:

Kris Wooles “Heart-smallA: Is this a cross ruff hand? Leading Heart-smallA to look at dummy may be a reasonable opening strategy.”

It may also kill one of your trump tricks. Back, though, to what we can see…

Peter Newell “Club-smallK: I want to set up a club trick or two – as potentially declarer can pitch club losers on diamond winners.  Often there may be no hurry or need to lead a spade, e.g. if partner has the ace, or one of the opponents has a singleton spade.  I do think the decision is close, and my first reaction was to lead the Spade-smallJ.  The Club-smallK could easily be wrong as dummy may provide the opportunity for declarer to score an extra club trick or a parking place for a loser for the attacking lead.”

Bruce Anderson “Club-smallK: a layout where there are diamond tricks in the dummy and I will have to ruff with a trump trick is not unlikely.   Partner may not hold the Spade-smallA. He could holdSpade-small KQ109xx, or even Spade-smallQ109xxx and Club-smallA. If the dummy is short in spades and has running diamonds, Spade-smallJ will not work out well. Even if partner can win the first trick, he will not be able to lead a trump should that be required. Perhaps our clever teammates have bid a making 3NT, meaning there is the potential for a big swing.”

I wonder about the concept of long-running diamonds in dummy. Even if there were, our trump holding is going to cause declarer some problems before “they run far”. However, I do like the concept of getting a trick or tricks from the honours I can see.

It’s time to introduce you to our South player, fresh from The Bridge Zone, Barry Jones. He was South and did trust his partner, Jenny Millington, to have a decent spade suit. He led Spade-smallJ. Unfortunately, Jenny’s spades could have been stronger. Another minus from Barry’s point of view, was that the declarer was one of our best young players, Andi Boughey. Barry was given no second chance…

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

 

Jenny won her ace and returned a high spade which saw Andi discard her club loser. She cashed the Diamond-smallA then Club-smallA and then the Diamond-smallK before ruffing a diamond. Next, she ruffed a club low and played a fourth round of diamonds with Barry discarding his remaining club as Andi ruffed again and played Heart-smallJ.

Barry had only his trump suit left while Andi held Heart-small KQ9 and a high diamond. Had he taken his ace, Andi would take the next three trump tricks and would make 10 tricks. So, Barry ducked. Andi played a club and ruffed with Heart-smallQ. Again, the over-ruff would not help Barry. So, he played a small trump though Andi played her diamond leaving Barry on lead with Heart-smallA10 and Andi with Heart-smallK9 needing just one more trick which she duly got.

Nicely played though there were regrets that the Club-smallK had not been led at trick 1. Only the most conservative of weak 2 openers would not have opened Jenny’s hand. Had Matt Brown’s prediction about the warning of the double come true? And what of the high trump lead and continuation? The defence would lose their club trick but it looks like there would still be two trump tricks, Spade-smallA and now a diamond trick as well to compensate.

Tomorrow, the Spade-smallJ may be the right lead but it was not on this particular evening, especially when Andi Boughey was in charge.

Yet, where was the partnership trust to which we referred earlier? It, or a lack of it, came at a different table, when the following auction took place:

West              North            East                South

                        2Spade-small               3Spade-small1                  Pass

4Heart-small               Pass                Pass                x

Pass                ?

1 hearts and a minor, 5-5 or longer

North took fright and bid 4Spade-small. It was not North’s problem. The double was 190% for penalties. Worry when you have a problem but not when you do not. Worry about your opening lead and if you chose Spade-smallA, then hope that Andi Boughey was not in charge. She was not! So, partner turned out to be wrong and the score ended as -790. North ensured an even worse score by being declarer…- 800!

trust partner.png 

 

Trust partner, even when you think they are wrong! Tomorrow, we will test that trust once more.

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

 

1NT was 12-14 and everything else was natural.

Well?

Richard Solomon

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