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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

All over an overtrick..well almost all!

Well, you are playing Pairs and as we all know so often to our cost, +140 can be a top and +110 a bottom. So, the battles over an overtrick in a part-score deal can be as meaningful as one’s attempts to beat the opposition’s games and slams.

Yet, today's deal is not just about an overtrick in the sense that system came into play in the bidding. So, your partner opens a 4+ 1Club-small. For many these days, it is 3+, even 2+ but the same principle probably applies. Your right-hand opponent doubles and you hold the following East hand:

 

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

 

The above was the sequence which occurred. If an 8 or even 9- card minimum club fit existed, I would want to bid more than 2Club-small. Perhaps I would even take my chances if 1Club-small could be a 2-card suit. Whatever system you play without a take-out double, I would certainly want to bid 3Club-small when the double did occur. When you see the South hand below, it is very unlikely South would bid over 3Club-small. If they did, it would be hard for the partnership to judge to stop in 3Spade-small. East's 2Club-smallallowed South into the auction.

Back, though, to our problem:

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

You are playing a strong no- trump system where 1Club-small could be short. However, from their 3Club-small bid and Club-small4 opening lead, partner appears to have 3 or 4 clubs probably headed by the queen. You win at trick 1. What do you play to trick 2? If you cash your other high club, what about trick 3? (South played Club-small5 then Club-small10). You are playing Pairs.

Your partner has an opening hand with only 2 hcp in clubs. With any diamond finesse working for declarer, immediate prospects for the defence look grim. They looked even grimmer when East cashed their two high clubs and switched to a middling muddling Heart-small5 won by partner’s Heart-smallA. Partner returned a low heart…and it was game, set and overtrick conceded:

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

Heart-small7 ran round to the jack and declarer,too, started counting high-card points. They knew where the Spade-smallQ and Diamond-smallK were though if West had three spades, there was some difficulty in finishing back in the South hand (they could have played an immediate spade to the jack).

So, two rounds of diamonds were followed by three rounds of spades and declarer had a most valuable overtrick.

You can argue that West was at fault by continuing hearts though the heart switch fuelled that error. East could have helped in two ways. They could have cashed both clubs and then exited a trump or even switch to a trump after playing Club-smallA at trick 1 (yes, deny the king) making it just a little harder for declarer to work out the lie of the defence’s honours. That risked, some days, a club discard on the fourth round of diamonds though not, of course, this day.

So, while West made a fatal error by continuing hearts, they were just a little encouraged to do so by East’s defence.

Sometimes you going seeking tricks for the defence. At other times, you simply try to follow suit. Partner was never going to lose their Heart-smallA. Playing hearts was pointless.

Would a direct 3Club-small have bought the contract? I think so. How would that have fared? Two diamonds and two spades to lose..and then the heart suit. It would seem reasonable to play the doubler for the Heart-smallK especially if one could ascertain that South held the Spade-smallA. Therefore, in order to avoid that dreadful Pairs  -200, declarer would have to play a heart to the 10 and breathe a big sigh of relief when the Heart-smallK won the trick (maybe declarer got to eliminate spades and diamonds first, in which case North would be end-played whichever heart honour won the trick) and the result was -100.

LOW MINUS =

HIGH SCORE 2.jpg

Just an imp at Teams but a pretty good top in Pairs against the -140’s or -170’s at the other tables. Different philosophy, maybe different tactics in the Pairs game. You love it when you have scored that over-trick!

Planning Time

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

 As East,you are defending 1NT. The 1NT rebid promised 12-14. Partner leads Heart-small3 to your Heart-small10 and declarer's ace. Plan the defence. You can guess what's coming next. Yes, it is the Club-small10 on which your partner plays Club-small4 (Reverse Count).

Richard Solomon



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