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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Christmas Cracker!

In this case, “cracker” should be divided into two. “Crack” or “solve” the problem! Most defensive issues seem to be problems to a greater or lesser degree and we often fail to solve them, in time. So, here is one we can “crack” or solve and just perhaps with a little help from our partner. An advance gift from our ally!

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 

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

 

2Heart-small was a Weak 2 and 2NT asked about outside features. 3Spade-small showed a “spade feature”, a feature being an honour and not a shortage.

West led Diamond-smallT with declarer’s Diamond-smallK taking the first trick. (Yes, that’s a feature, too!) At trick 2, declarer plays a small heart to West’s Heart-small9, dummy's Heart-smallK and your ace. What do you play to trick 3 and why?

Whether you are playing Teams or Pairs, you would still like to beat a contract: if that’s not possible, then restrict overtricks. So, instinctively, returning partner’s diamond lead might be a good idea. With Diamond-small9 visible in dummy, their Diamond-small10 lead just had to be a shortage…but

Remember the Bidding

The plan of giving your partner two ruffs along with taking your Heart-smallA and Club-smallA just would not work. South told you they held six hearts and with your three and dummy’s two, that leaves your partner with just two, one of which has been played!

Thus, a diamond ruff would produce three tricks for the defence, not four. So....

Returning a second trump does not seem a great choice if South wins their Heart-smallQ, plays a third round and runs lots of diamond winners. After all, when both sides lead trumps, one side is wrong!

A spade switch? You know South has the Spade-smallQ or Spade-smallK, or both, and whichever it is, does not seem to offer the defence much hope. That leaves the Club-smallA. One advantage of playing that card is that your side should score one trick! It does not seem that South wanted to ruff a club in dummy. Yet, there is another advantage of playing the high club…and that is that your partner can advise you what to or perhaps what not to do next!

When a singleton appears as dummy, suit preference signals apply

Well, this singleton did not appear: it was always there for as long as the defenders saw dummy! Yet, the same signalling should apply as when, say an ace is led at trick 1 and the singleton of that suit appears in dummy.

High card suggests switch to higher of non-trump suits.

Low card suggests switch to lower of non-trump suits.

Had West held doubleton Heart-small109 and a singleton diamond, they would play a low club. If  they wanted a spade switch, they would play a high club. Yet, there is a third alternative.

Middle card suggests no particular switch, maybe a club continuation, maybe a trump.

Had you played Club-smallA, your partner would play a rather nebulous Club-small7. Surely, they had a lower club to play (declarer follows with Club-small3) if they wanted a diamond ruff? They certainly did not want a club continuation. Your own club holding confirmed that.

That left just one possible reason for their non-descript signal. Hopefully, you would next produce Heart-small3! Who said South held Heart-smallQ?!

seen the light.png

Seen the light? Cracked!

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

 

All South wanted to do was to draw trumps, run some diamond winners and claim. Thus, they tried the effect of a trump at trick 2, hoping the defence could not unravel two heart and two club winners. A diamond return from East at trick 3 was not a good idea for the defence. Declarer would play a third diamond discarding a club…and two losers would be condensed on the same trick… contract making.

Club-smallA,a second heart and a second club and the contract was one dowm.

Club-smallA was the best card for East to play at trick 3 not just because it gave the defence a trick but because it enabled West to guide their partner (you!) as to what to do next. Now, if your partner could do that for you every time you are defending, defence would be so much easier!

So, some marks for you if you said play Club-smallA but full-marks only if you added that it enabled your partner to guide you into what to do next.

Also, remember that other tip, about not forgetting the bidding. Sometimes, doing so, will guide you on the right path or at least keep you off the wrong one!

On your own this time!

That’s right. Partner can only wish you good luck! They are dummy! You are in the lime-light!

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

 

West leads Club-small9. What is your plan to make your contract, even maybe an overtrick as the game is Pairs?

Richard Solomon

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