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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Beaten…quickly!

Swift Sequence and quickly down!

Today’s deal is both instructive and exciting. Let’s put you on lead after the following sequence:

Bridge in NZ.png nz map.jpg

 

K 10 4

A K 8 5

8

10 5 4 3 2

 

West

North

East

South

 

Pass

Pass

Pass

2 ♣

Pass

2 ♠

Pass

3 

Pass

5 ♣

Pass

6 

All pass

 

 

2C is game forcing while 5C is a singleton or void club with diamond support. Let’s say you lead a high heart. That seems a fair idea. This is what you see in dummy:

North Deals
Both Vul

K 10 4

A K 8 5

8

10 5 4 3 2

   

N

W

 

E

S

 

Q J 8 7 5 3

Q 10 6 2

7 4 3

 

West

North

East

South

 

you

dummy

 

 

Pass

Pass

Pass

2 ♣

Pass

2 ♠

Pass

3 

Pass

5 ♣

Pass

6 

All pass

 

 

The card your partner plays depends on your methods, Heart-small4 if reverse or Heart-small9, even Heart-smallJ if natural count, Heart-small9 if that is a discouraging card. Declarer follows with Heart-small3. What do you play to trick 2?

This deal highlights the question of leading to a slam from AK of a side-suit. Assuming dummy holds more than one card in that suit, what you need to know is whether your other honour is cashing. Therefore, whatever your lead style is against a lower-level contract, leading the king requesting count (your choice as to whether natural or reverse) is a really good idea against a small slam or indeed a 5-level contract.

Here, you should know from your partner’s and declarer's card that partner has an even number…and bearing in mind the bidding, that looks like 4 cards. If South held two hearts and West had three hearts, then the remaining two are not going to disappear very quickly. So, it is time to switch…and the look of dummy suggests that the best switch is to your singleton trump. A good idea?

North Deals
Both Vul

K 10 4

A K 8 5

8

10 5 4 3 2

3

A K Q J 9 6 2

A K 9 8 6

 

N

W

 

E

S

 

Q J 8 7 5 3

Q 10 6 2

7 4 3

 

A 9 6 2

J 9 7 4

10 5

Q J 7

 

West

North

East

South

 

you

dummy

 

 

Pass

Pass

Pass

2 ♣

Pass

2 ♠

Pass

3 

Pass

5 ♣

Pass

6 

All pass

 

 

If you did not find the trump switch, then you would be soon be writing down -1370. Some did not whether or not the bidding was exactly as above. Of the 7 West declarers in 6Diamond-small, 5 made their contract after receiving an initial high heart lead.

Of course, East might have started the ball with a Weak 2 in spades, fearless that they might be missing a very sound 4Heart-small game on some days. Even if East did pass initially, showing restraint, they may reply 2Diamond-small negative to their partner’s 2Club-small opening.

Either sequence would leave South on lead to the diamond slam. However, after East’s 2Spade-small response (a little short of a true positive but it seems a good time to start describing that East hand), I do prefer East showing diamond support straightaway rather than their heart suit. If you are going to show diamond support, then why not show your shortage? After all, you are a passed hand and your partnership should be able to stop short of grand slam.

After anything but an initial trump lead or switch after the Heart-smallA was cashed, declarer can ruff three clubs in the East hand and make 12 tricks. That trump lead or switch restricts the declarer to just 2 ruffs and hence a club loser.

Holding on to one's ace!

At one table, South had very little to go on when it came to the opening lead. Their opponents’ bidding was unusual and very brief:

West                    North             East                South

                                                      2Diamond-small                   Pass

6Diamond-small                         All pass

East did open a Multi 2Diamond-small (weak 2 in spades) and would have been very surprised by the response which saw them as declarer in lightning speed!

South resisted the urge to lead their ace (which would certainly have helped the declarer) and chose a trump. The defence had to wait until tricks 12 and 13 to take their two tricks but the wait was worthwile! Of the three East players in 6Diamond-small, only one made their contract, on Spade-smallA lead.

An unusual opening urge!

Had I held that West hand after three passes, I would have taken my chances with a specific ace ask 4NT opening (so rarely used, and when partner showed me the Heart-smallA bid 7Diamond-small. A bit of a gamble on the Club-smallQ, perhaps. Fortunately, this time, East would have denied any ace (5Club-small) and West would then settle for 6Diamond-small….making or not making, depending on the defence. 

Richard Solomon

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