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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

“D” for Diamond: “D” for Disaster!

A plan to avoid one!

Part of successful defence is co-operating and guiding your partner, if possible, to the winning defence purely through the card(s) you play. This can be both hard and essential when you do not know that much about declarer’s hand.

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

 

It looks like North made a pretty light-weight take-out double and that the final contract might not be an easy make. Your partner leads either Diamond-smallA or Diamond-smallK (We will give you the clue that they have them both.). Using your own method of following suit, which card would you play to trick 1?

Unless your partner has the top three diamonds or has a 6-card or longer suit, you know that it will not be to your side’s advantage for West to continue with a second round of diamonds as the effect would be to set up the queen in declarer’s hand. Can you advise your partner it might be good to switch?

If there is a card to play, then it should be the Diamond-smallJ. In itself, that card should be the top card of a sequence thus denying the queen. In an ideal world, it could give count to your partner, playing Reverse Count, a three-card suit. This time, you can achieve that message in full.

The danger is that the message is not clear to your partner and might also set up a diamond trick for the declarer if their original holding had been Diamond-smallQ9x. Declarer could eventually lead dummy’s remaining diamond, inserting Diamond-small9.

Confusion might exist if your method is natural count because Diamond-smallJ could be the top card of a doubleton, let alone be the only diamond you hold! However, if you fail to play Diamond-smallJ, chances are that West would continue diamonds, either because they suspect you might hold the queen or in the hope you are showing a doubleton (for example, even, playing Reverse Count, Diamond-small10 could be a doubleton holding as indeed could Diamond-small5...you cannot see Diamond-small3 although as it happens, your partner can).

Possibly, playing natural count and attitude, Diamond-small5 could be read as discouraging, unlikely the top of a doubleton. However, for those giving up-side down (reverse) count, the Diamond-smallJ seems the best card to play.There is, though, variance depending on how you follow suit.

On the actual deal, any switch was a good switch. A second high diamond spelt “D” for disaster.

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

With dummy having only three trumps and no strong second suit, there was not much chance of diamond losers in declarer’s hand disappearing. However, without a guiding signal from East, West could try a diamond continuation in the hope that you, their partner, could over-ruff dummy, or set up a trump trick if declarer ruffed high. Hence, there was the need for a switch.

West would know that the Spade-smallK switch would be safe (Spade-smallK as you had shown a 4-card spade suit in the bidding: declarer could still hold Spade-smallQ singleton) or they may be more ambitious by trying their singleton club.

After, say, the club switch, South could draw trumps in three rounds and hope miraculously that the Club-smallJ and Club-small9 fall in the same trick. No luck. You, East, will win the third round of clubs. There is actually no need for East to continue diamonds, certainly not had you played Diamond-smallJ on the first round. However, because West holds Diamond-small9, the diamond continuation is safe. Much the same happens after Spade-smallK switch.

Had declarer only drawn two rounds of trumps before trying clubs, they would suffer a second -round club ruff to produce at least four losers.

entitlement.png

 Did you get your entitlement?

The defence are entitled to 3 diamonds and 1 club trick. It is up to East to guide their partner to ensure they get those four tricks. Did you?

Nothing to do but lead

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

 

That’s your role. A staccato auction with 2Club-small not being a standard Game Force but a strong hand, Benjamin style, 8 playing tricks in any suit. 2Diamond-small was negative or just waiting but 3Diamond-small was natural. South seemed to want to play in game but North made them play a couple of levels higher!

Oh, it is still your lead…and it will be until Monday morning!

Richard Solomon



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