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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Partner’s Right…even when they are Wrong! (Part 2)

Perhaps in yesterday’s problem, the partner of the player who made the penalty double had no reason to pull the double. They had accurately described their hand as a Weak 2. Based on that knowledge, their partner had doubled. No worries, just on what to lead.

Today’s situation is a little less cut and dry…or is it?

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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?

No-one would question the worth of your competitive 2Heart-small call. With hearts as trumps, you can absolutely guarantee five trump tricks. It is up to your partner to provide the extra tricks from their no-trump opening.

The high-card points seemed to be reasonably evenly divided as both opponents showed a minor suit and your partner showed you heart support. South was not yet finished but you were. A flattish hand, it was unlikely that you had enough for game though, playing Pairs, there was also the added attraction of perhaps going one down in 4Heart-small, a good score even if doubled with the opponents scoring 130 from 4Diamond-small.

You may have chosen to bid 4Heart-small on that basis…but you decided against it. You passed the decision around to your partner..and they doubled. End of story? It should have been despite these thoughts:

The case for bidding on:

  • you had one more heart than you might have done.
  • You had absolutely no defensive help for your partner, especially, as seemed quite possible, that an opponent had a singleton heart. There was the Spade-smallJ but that was all.
  • You were fairly sure your side could not make 4Heart-small.
  • Your partner’s trumps (Diamond-smalls) were in a finessable position.
  • Your partner had a maximum 14 count and if they included the Heart-smallA (they did), then getting three more tricks would be tough given a heart shortage in one of the opponent’s hands.

So, with the above in mind, West bid 4Heart-small.

The case against you!

Did you notice one factor about your hand which should have made it very straightforward to pass? They were two of the smallest cards in your hand, the Diamond-small32. They were not going to be very useful cards in playing a heart contract unless your partner had Diamond-small AK (in which case, why are you bidding!) but they gave an indication of how the diamond suit was distributed.

South just had to have at least 6 to bid the suit twice, and at the four-level. One presumes that your partner did not have a diamond holding of Diamond-smallQxx. Therefore, they should either have four diamonds to an honour or three good diamonds. With dummy, therefore, likely to have no more than a singleton, their diamond honours should be protected.

  • Thus, there is getting less cause for concern, if there was ever much in the first place.
  • If you want more reasons to pass without thought, then at Pairs, it is only a bottom if partner is wrong and they are vulnerable if partner is right!
  • Partner cannot expect you to hold more than what you have.
  • You have a very easy safe lead to make.
  • If you pulled the double to 4Heart-small, you were likely to be doubled and could easily turn a good positive score into a terrible negative.
  • Just say your partner held Diamond-smallQJT9. They would rather appreciate you passing!
  • It is not your post-mortem to lose. (How negative!) In other words, trust partner. You would soon have been relieved you did:
East Deals
N-S Vul
A K 10 9
7 4
10
Q J 7 5 4 3
J 5 2
K Q J 10 9 8
3 2
10 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
8 6 3
A 5 3
Q 7 6 5
A K 9
 
Q 7 4
6 2
A K J 9 8 4
8 2
West North East South
    1 NT 2 
2  3  3  4 
Pass Pass Dbl Pass
?      

After taking the second round of hearts, East would play Club-smallK to which you would give count (or encouragement whichever is your method). East would be happy with a trump trick to come and would continue with two more rounds of clubs (South should make the count a little harder to read by playing Club-small8 on the first round.).

 South would surely ruff with Diamond-small8, cross to dummy to take a successful trump finesse and cash a high diamond before playing off two more rounds of spades finishing in dummy.

In the three- card ending with the lead in dummy, East has Diamond-smallQ7 and a heart while declarer has Diamond-small K94. East can discard the heart and must come to a trump trick at trick 13…2 down…+500.

happy ending 4.jpg

     It should have been.

Meanwhile,against 4Heart-small the defence could take 5 quick tricks after Spade-smallK lead (only 4 if North started with Club-smallQ, declarer unblocking Club-small10 on the first round) to record a plus score, a good score whether or not the contract was doubled.

We did not consult the Panel about East’s double. They had a “crisp” 13 count, less “crisp” if North had held two diamonds or if the hearts had not broken evenly (though West had only shown a 5-card suit). So, a slightly aggressive double but maybe necessary if 3Heart-small had been making, which it was not.

Not a mandatory double. One which might have to come with an apology, sometimes,but one which could easily bring in +200. A “Pairs” double. Not one you wanted partner to pull, unless they had more extreme shape than they actually held.

South was the one who had overbid and who should have paid the price…even with -200 had East passed. So, partner just has to be trusted. Of course, you would have done, wouldn’t you?

Not a good time to lose the lead!

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

                                                                  All Pass

3Diamond-small shows around 10 or 11 hcp and some diamonds. You seem close enough to having 25 hcp between the two hands…and indeed do! So, 3NT it is with West leading Heart-small5 to East’s Heart-small10.

 It seems a good time to take your Heart-smallK and to try to take at least 8 more tricks without losing the lead.

On the first diamond (when played) East plays Diamond-smallQ. Yet, what’s your plan at trick 2? You can then wait until tomorrow to decide how to play the diamond suit.

Richard Solomon



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