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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

                                            Maybe!

It looks like the board is panning out the way you want. The bidding, for once, has gone just the way you hoped, even the opening lead, and as you left to get a cup of coffee as dummy, you noticed one nice important card in your partner’s hand. Game to be made, top board, excellent….but

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

 

After two passes, South had a thought. It would be nice to open 1Diamond-small, hear partner bid 1Spade-small, raise to 3Spade-small and see partner receive a club lead, an unbid suit, to 4Spade-small, with diamond losers able to be discarded on high clubs. Oh, yes, partner would hold the Club-smallK as well!

Well, dreams sometimes come true. That was indeed the bidding and East did lead a medium club….and North did hold the Club-smallK…and did the plan work? Almost. There was just one problem. What was it?

Holding both minor suits and a heart shortage, you have a little leeway in choosing which suit to open. “One below the singleton” the wise textbook says. However, if you chose to open 1Club-small, you should survive especially if you are strong.

On the above hand, 1Diamond-small is perfect as it hides your weak suit, diamonds, and might encourage the opponents to lead your best suit, clubs. (Were West to call 1Heart-small, and your partner to bid 1NT, you would be in a good position to compete in both minors).

No worries this time as the opponents were silent and the spade fit was found quickly. Game was reached and the club lead(Club-small3) made with partner playing low, confirming your eye-sight had been correct, that they held the Club-smallK (you were back in your seat). Great….play on, partner.

They did, but they were not on lead at the end of trick 1!

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

 

A second black three had been played to that trick!

The crucial second blow did not happen straightaway, no daring under-lead of the Heart-smallA!  West switched to the Diamond-smallQ won in dummy…and partner tried a low trump to his king…and East’s ace. A second club was played, almost apologetically by East…and West still had one small trump left. The Heart-smallA completed declarer’s (and dummy’s) misery!

The same fate was suffered by one other North-South pair though the majority of the defenders could not recover from a red suit lead..no, not even the diamond lead which still gave the defence a chance for 4 tricks.

However, South did earn a 20% board for most of his wish coming true. After a 1Diamond-small, opening, would you as West, risk a 1Heart-small vulnerable overcall? Say South had opened 1Club-small? If so, you would find a magic fit which with a combined 18 hcp with East and hearts as trumps produces an easy 11 tricks. Indeed, without a diamond ruff, there is the opportunity for 12.

Happy Ending…..

happy ending 5.jpg

Nearly!

So, you can sometimes get your wish at the table and even survive the disappointment of bad breaks. They can work to your advantage, even when your contract fails. Alas, not enough East-Wests were let in on the secret!

 

How high should we go?

 
A Q J 10 7 2
9
A J 10 6 5 4
West North East South
      1 
Pass 1  Pass 3 
Pass ?    

 

It is never great when partner opens your void suit and then jumps again in that suit. Oh, you have 2 rather good suits of your own. What next?

Until Monday.

Richard Solomon

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