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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

The Almost Forgotten Suit.

In that vacuum which declarers find themselves in so often in a no-trump contract, we would like to run our long suit, make our opponents discard and then judge how to continue from what they have discarded, the shape of their hands etc. Fine in theory but that ploy has a serious problem in today’s deal.

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South Deals
None Vul
J 9 6 3
4
K 10 6
K 9 7 6 5
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
Q 2
A K Q
9 8 5 4 3
A J 10
West North East South
      1 
2  Dbl Pass 3 NT
All pass      

 

2Heart-small was a weak jump with your partner making a light-weight but reasonable take-out double. What else could you do but jump to game? West leads Heart-small10 to East’s Heart-smallJ. Ducking is neither allowed nor desirable. So, what’s the plan?

The plan “in that vacuum” would be to take 5 club tricks, 3 hearts and find a 9th trick from one of the other 2 suits, somewhere. Easy to say but not so easy to do even if you are lucky/ clever enough to guess which opponent holds the Club-smallQ. Unless West obliged with Club-smallQx or Club-smallQxx and you started low with Club-smallJ, you are just not going to be able to finish in dummy on the third round of the suit. Even then, were West to cover on the first round, you either have to duck a club or be stuck after three rounds in the wrong hand, your hand.

Then, even if you could run the club suit first, there is also the little matter of being able to take your other two heart tricks as you would have no entry back to your hand to do so.

One other point is that when a player makes a weak jump without an honour in their suit, they could, really should, have some compensating values elsewhere.

Remember the hand with which you opened the bidding?

Did you even notice that you had 5 diamonds? Barely worth a mention. Yet, with partner’s three, there must be some chance of setting up three tricks in that suit…and of using the club suit simply as a means of communication between your two hands.

Strangely, it seems like that is the 5-3 fit you should attack first, leaving clubs until later if needed. Three diamonds, three hearts…you only need three club tricks at most. Let’s see.

So, at trick 2, lead a diamond to dummy’s Diamond-small10 and East’s Diamond-smallJ. Back comes a second heart which you win to play a second diamond, Diamond-small8. Suddenly, the prospect of 9 tricks is getting much more likely:

South Deals
None Vul
J 9 6 3
4
K 10 6
K 9 7 6 5
A 7 5
10 9 7 6 5 3 2
Q 2
4
 
N
W   E
S
 
K 10 8 4
J 8
A J 7
Q 8 3 2
 
Q 2
A K Q
9 8 5 4 3
A J 10
West North East South
      1 
2  Dbl Pass 3 NT
All pass      

 

Had East held Diamond-smallAQJ, chances were that your contract was almost certain to fail even if you managed 5 club tricks. As long as West held one honour, you should be fine.

With East having no more hearts, their only safe exit was their third diamond. You can cash two more diamond tricks, discarding a couple of cards from that good club suit from the table. West parts with a couple of hearts and East a card in each black suit. You are now down to the guess though it would seem West has 7 hearts and 2 diamonds. Chances are they do not have length in clubs.

You may guess wrong but you will be in a lot better position for guessing right than had you played a club at trick 2.

Strangely, even if you had played clubs correctly at tricks 2 and 3 (Club-smallJ to the king and small to Club-small10), you would have to abandon the suit anyway, with East able to set up Club-smallQ for a fifth defensive trick (2 diamonds and Spade-smallAK) before you could get to 9 tricks.

So, the “vacuum” play was right after all. Run your long suit… but just identifying which suit was the long suit..aye, that was declarer’s problem!

diamonds 2.jpgdiamonds 2.jpgdiamonds 2.jpgdiamonds 2.jpgdiamonds 2.jpg

even little ones can be declarer’s best friends!

Bring on the Defence!

South Deals
None Vul
A 2
K 10 2
A 9 8 4 2
K 10 4
Q J 4
A J 6
Q J 10 7
7 6 5
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
you dummy    
      1 NT
Pass 3 NT All pass  

 

1NT was 12-14 with the auction being over quickly. Despite holding reasonable diamonds, you lead Spade-smallQ as the auction seemed to call for a major lead. Spade-smallA took the first trick with partner encouraging. Next came a diamond to declarer’s king and a second diamond to your 10, ducked in dummy.(hey..bet you are glad you did not lead a diamond!)

East discarded a discouraging club. You play Spade-smallJ which holds the next trick. What now?

Richard Solomon

 

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