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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Disappointed Opponents.

It is kind of what you would like to see on every board though that of course does not happen. However, on the following deal both the opponents were to be disappointed about the lie of a red suit, once by the dastardly dealing machine and the other by some good declarer play.

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

 

1Club-small was 3+ clubs and the 1NT rebid showed 12-14 hcp. It is common to by pass a 4 even 5- card diamond suit in response to a 1Club-small opening if the responder is not strong enough to make a second bid following a 1NT rebid by the opener: hence the 1Heart-small response to 1Club-small above.

Those little part-score deals yield lots of match-points during a Pairs event (yes, significant too at Teams). West leads Heart-smallJ perhaps expecting more strength in that suit in dummy. Well, they did bid it! That went round to your queen. What next?

When we see West’s hand, we will see that their attacking choices were the suit bid by declarer or the suit bid by dummy. Leading through dummy’s strength is usually the more attractive option and West must have been “heartened” by the sight of dummy’s 8 high suit. However, such hopes were rather dashed when the trick was won by the declarer’s queen.

If South, too, was rather disappointed by the poor hearts in dummy, the diamonds made up for such disappointment. How, though, to play on? South could reflect that if they lost to the Diamond-smallQ in the East hand, the return of a heart or even worse, a club would not be helpful. Not that South knew where the Diamond-smallQ was but losing the lead to West was much less dangerous with respect to the continuation.

So, South decided to play diamonds from dummy but first played a spade to the king. If the defence took this, that would be two more tricks for the declarer and if not, then South could proceed as planned. So, a spade to the king held and was followed by a diamond to the 10..and much to East’s disappointment, that won the trick too:

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

 

Declarer took their diamond tricks and exited a second spade won by West who hoped his luck was not totally out by exiting Heart-small6. East produced Heart-small9 won by South who exited their low heart.

West took their two heart tricks and then had to exit a club with trick 13 being won either by the high spade in dummy or Club-smallK depending on East’s last card.

Declarer’s thoughtful play had yielded them 9 tricks, (five diamonds, one in each black suit and two hearts) +150. Meanwhile against a diamond part-score, Heart-small9 would not be very welcome lead for any North. They need play diamonds as they were played in 1NT to keep East off lead. Although that would be successful, North could lose two hearts and two black aces for only 110. A spade lead from either defender could see the declaring side score +130 with a good trump guess, hence the importance of getting 150 in the no-trump contract.

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Small difference: big impact on score

The difference between 120 and 150 may not seem much but could have a significant impact on North-South’s percentage score. Thus, careful play in 1NT was rewarded with the best score available assuming one was not in game… and being in 3NT on the above North-South cards would be very poor Pairs bridge, for the many times a minus score would be recorded.

Jan’s Day. A Tribute to John Evitt.

 

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

 

It looked to West that their opponents were going to play the board in clubs as South launched into Blackwood after the 2Club-small bid. 5Diamond-small showed one ace and 5Heart-small was a grand slam try, hence confirming that all the aces were present. However, North had not yet shown spade support and thus jumped to grand slam in that suit.

West led Diamond-small9. Plan the play. We will tell you that trumps break 2-2 and clubs 4-1, West holding 4.

The board was played at Easter 40 years ago.

Richard Solomon

 

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