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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Counting to Ten…that’s the trick(s ).

Some deals are quite straightforward to play. Others are much harder. Let’s see how you would classify the following:

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South Deals
N-S Vul

4

K Q J

A K Q J 8 2

K 7 4

   

N

W

 

E

S

   
 

A Q 9 8 6 3

9 7 4 3

J 8 2

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

 

Pass

Pass

1 

Dbl

1 ♠

Pass

3 NT

Pass

4 

All pass

 

 

 

The bidding could be improved. South followed the guideline of not opening a Weak 2 with a 4-card major on the side. North pleaded to be left in 3NT but South felt they had to show their second suit…and North rather preferred that to spades.

At the sight of dummy, South would have preferred spades to hearts or best of all to be dummy in 3NT…but the play’s the thing. West led Heart-small2 and dummy won the first trick. What now?

High on our wish list is that the trump break is 3-3 or else we would too soon be farewelling dummy. It would also be nice if when you played a second round of trumps that the defender took the ace, even better if that defender was East (no dangerous club attack). On the basis that the defender with the Heart-smallA will hold up one more round, we could take the precaution of ruffing a diamond at trick 2. We could still make 5 diamond tricks, 4 trump tricks (including 2 ruffs in the South hand) and Spade-smallA or maybe a successful spade finesse or a club trick if needed. We must assume that if the opposition duck the first round of trumps, they will duck the second as well.

Remember, trumps just have to break evenly. So, let’s ruff a diamond at trick 2 and then play a second trump. Again no Heart-smallA (or indeed Heart-small10) appears. It’s time now to start running top diamonds.

After cashing Diamond-smallA and discarding a club, you play Diamond-smallK with East ruffing with Heart-smallA (making that early diamond ruff worthwhile) and they exit a low spade. You have so far won four tricks and lost one. These cards remained:

 

4

K

Q J 8

K 7 4

J 5

10

10 9

9 6 3

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

K 10 7 2

A Q 10 5

 

A Q 9 8 6 3

9

J

South needed 6 tricks, 3 of which could come from diamonds if West’s trump could be drawn. However, unless South took the spade finesse, they would end a trick short. So, with fingers crossed, declarer played Spade-smallQ, cashed Spade-smallA, and then played their trump to dummy to enjoy three diamond tricks. Never in doubt!

Had East not ruffed any of the diamonds, declarer would make 2 more tricks (leaving the last diamond in dummy) and then take the spade finesse. Spade-smallA then a spade ruff and a club ruff would come to 10 tricks.

Certainly a  very lucky contract but a bit of wishing, good planning and counting to 10 (tricks) saw it home. The full hands:

South Deals
N-S Vul

4

K Q J

A K Q J 8 2

K 7 4

J 5

10 8 2

10 9 7 6 5

9 6 3

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

K 10 7 2

A 6 5

4 3

A Q 10 5

 

A Q 9 8 6 3

9 7 4 3

J 8 2

 

West

North

East

South

 

 

 

Pass

Pass

1 

Dbl

1 ♠

Pass

3 NT

Pass

4 

All pass

 

 

 

The lead that can beat 4Heart-small is a club lead from West. East wins Club-smallQ, cashes Club-smallA and plays a third club. They can win the Heart-smallA at the first opportunity and play their remaining club. West must make a trump trick. Fine defence, indeed.

How would 3NT have fared? Played by North, the defence cannot get 5 tricks (or declarer can score 9 first) on any lead but a low spade. After a low spade lead, declarer must insert Spade-smallQ or else West can switch to clubs to good effect. Now a heart to the king and ace and another low spade from East. The same applies. North wins Spade-smallA, plays a heart to the king and starts on diamonds, getting the bad news. North must lose 2 clubs, a diamond and 2 spades. Again, pretty good defence.

3NT would probably have been a more comfortable make, certainly for South as dummy! 4Heart-small would only have been easy had East taken the first or second rounds of hearts but it would still have required an early diamond ruff.  

Tomorrow, we will have something much easier, something very unusual…as its Friday!

Richard Solomon

 

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