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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Saved from the Brink of Disaster.

So, sometimes you make the right lead and it turns out to be an unlucky lead. Sometimes, you make the wrong lead and pay the price. Maybe West on today’s deal deserved the latter fate as the lead made was rejected soundly by the Panel. Bad lead: bad result? Let’s see.
Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

South Deals
E-W Vul
   
K 6 4
10
10 9 7 2
10 9 6 3 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
      Pass
Pass 1  Pass 1 
Pass 2  Pass 3 
Pass 4  All pass  

1Club-small was 3+ clubs with the opposition crawling to game after a very unrevealing auction. It’s you to lead?

With just a singleton trump, it certainly seems the wrong time to start with that lead. Partner’s Heart-smallQxx would be an almost certain “gonner” in that case. It is a question of attacking with your only asset, looking into the unknown with a diamond or going with what might or might not be dummy’s club suit.

Emphasizing no trump lead is:

Bruce Anderson: Diamond-small10: Our opponents have struggled into game. So, I am making the lead that seems least likely to cost. There is no indication an attacking lead is required. While leading a singleton trump might be right, the 10 of trumps is a significant card and should usually be preserved, rather than led out.”

Michael Ware “Diamond-small10: It was an invitational auction so no need to be aggressive (spade lead) with trumps possibly breaking badly.”

Nigel Kearney “Diamond-small10:  A diamond looks safest and there is nothing in the auction to suggest they have side suit length and we need winners quickly.”
Maybe not in the bidding but I could imagine spade discards on high clubs in dummy if declarer was short in clubs.

Peter Newell “Diamond-small10:  the opponents look like they only just have enough values for game, and given trumps are breaking badly, and clubs as well (which may not be relevant depending on whether North has a club suit), I’m keen on a passive/safe lead as I don’t want to blow a trick or make things easier for them on what could be a challenging contract.  The diamond lead looks safest…”

Welcome to a new member to the Panel, New Plymouth's Pam Livingston:

Pam Livingston “Diamond-small10: It's all about partner on this hand. She has around 10-12 points and I am "leading towards her points" in an unbid suit. I would prefer to lead a third to help her get the count sooner but the 9 and 7 tip me towards leading the 10.

Leading a small spade could be the killer but leading an unsupported king when they have game points (only just) often just blows a trick.  I think that she will deduce that I could have a spade card as we tend to make passive leads on these types of hands and it will become evident anyway as I will be marked with a couple of points on the bidding.

Are you getting the picture?

Stephen Blackstock “Diamond-small10: There’s no indication that a more attacking lead (spade) is necessary, with both clubs and hearts not breaking. A spade is dangerous, and I’m not inclined to go anti-field at Pairs without further information suggesting that it is likely to be needed and/or successful.

We should have been told whether the auction shows unbalanced for this pair, or could be 3325 say (some would always rebid NT with this family of shapes), or always shows 4-card support. That information would have been available at the table although I’m not sure how much it helps here. We are faced with a fairly random guess in this instance.”

Are you now left in any doubt as to the best lead? Just to be sure…

Michael Cornell “Diamond-small10: My opening leads have improved since reading David Bird’s book that very much prefers passive leads in most cases.

Here I think the Diamond-small10 is obvious. The contract sounds tight. Both hands are limited. So, I see no panic and there is a good chance of promoting a deep trick with the diamond lead as well.”

It seems as though our West had not read David Bird’s book and had not consulted the Panel before making their choice of lead. They decided to attack with their only asset and led a low spade. This is what West saw in dummy:

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

 

Were the Panel, right? Would spades have disappeared quickly on high clubs?

Well, Spade-small4 went to partner’s Spade-small9…and declarer’s Spade-smallQ. Disaster seemed to beckon for the defence when declarer next played a diamond to dummy’s jack and East’s ace. East played a second spade which was won by declarer’s ace… and a second diamond was played to the Diamond-smallJ, to be followed by two high clubs with everyone following.

Then came a third high club and although East could ruff, to prevent a spade discard from the South hand, South would overruff and then discard dummy’s spade loser on the Diamond-smallK which South held.

East to the rescue..

Bridge is a great partnership game and one of partner’s roles is to save one if possible. East had been observing events quietly and anticipated what was about to happen. There was one chance left to save West.

Unceremoniously, East ruffed the third round of clubs with the Heart-smallA. South could discard a spade but the defence survived:

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

That spade discard did not help South. East played a third round of spades and later took the Heart-smallK to beat the contract by the same one trick which a diamond or any non-spade lead would have done.

helping partner 3.jpg

Declarer would have adopted the same line on a diamond lead, though East did not have to be as vigilant as there was only one discard and there would still be a certain spade loser. . You can sometimes survive a bad lead. If you make a bad lead, here’s hoping you have a vigilant partner.

And this being “Weekday Hand of the Day”

     
North Deals
N-S Vul
 
N
W   E
S
   
 
K J 6 4 3
J 3
A 7 3 2
5 4
West North East South
  1  Pass 1 
3  Dbl Pass ?

 

Here is the problem for Monday.

3Diamond-small is a Weak Jump. You are playing 5-card Majors. Your bid is? You are playing Pairs.

Richard Solomon

 

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