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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Listening and Caring.

A title which applies equally to life and to bridge. Clues of how to play a board can often come from the bidding. Take a look at the following and decide how you would play your game contract before reading on.

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

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

 

Jan’s Day

 jan cormack 2021  1.jpg
Jan Cormack

“Recently, I had the pleasure of chatting to Dean Rymer”. (John Rymer was Dean of Auckland for over 20 years) “He told me he was sorry he could not understand my bridge column. I invited him to teach me about life and I would teach him to play bridge. Dean Rymer smiled wisely and said life could be summed up in three words “listening and caring”.

And so it is with bridge. By listening to the bidding and to what your partner and the opponents are telling you, difficult decisions can become quite simple. By caring about making it easier for your partner, not only will you bid to the correct contract more often and defend with greater accuracy, but you will have a very relaxed and happy partner.

Listening

Listening to the bidding was the key to success on the following deal.

 

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

 

West led the Diamond-smallK. Without much thought, declarer played dummy’s ace and looked somewhat aggrieved when this was ruffed by East. A trump switch was taken with the ace and the ultimate result was one trick set with the diamond ruff, Club-smallA and two spade losers.

All the declarer needed to do was listen to the bidding. Why did East think she could defeat 4Heart-small? Obviously to encourage a diamond lead. To guard against a diamond void in East’s hand, South must play low from dummy at trick 1, allowing the Diamond-smallK to hold the trick.” Even if West’s pre-empt was 6-carded, this play is no cost.

“If West continues with another diamond, this must also be ducked in dummy and trumped in hand. This way, after the trumps are drawn, ending in dummy, Diamond-smallA can still take a trick, South discarding a losing spade. A club to the king provides the 10th trick, South chalking up her doubled contract with the loss of one diamond, one spade and Club-smallA.

Caring

You may have noticed that a considerable number of new partnerships enjoy an amazing amount of success. This is known as the “honeymoon” time. There is a very good reason why this occurs and Dean Rymer summed it up in one word, “caring”.

At the beginning of a partnership, players tend to keep the bidding as clear and simple as possible, displaying more respect towards “new” other halves. They signal loud and clear whenever possible on defence to assist partner with defensive decisions and, for some reason, inevitably bask in the full glory of Lady Luck (though please do not ask me why this is so).

Later on, when the partnership is more established and a certain amount of success achieved, expectations are raised with fancy bids and plays creeping into the game to confuse partner. Familiarity breeds disrespect and suddenly a promising partnership disintegrates.

Here you are as East, defending 2NT after your partner overcalls 1Heart-small.

 

South Deals
None Vul
J 7 6
9 8
7 4 2
A 10 8 7 2
A Q 2
K J 6 5 3
J 10 9 8
3
 
N
W   E
S
 
10 9 5 4 3
Q 7 4
6 5
K 6 5
 
K 8
A 10 2
A K Q 3
Q J 9 4
West North East South
      1 
1  Pass 2  2 NT
All pass      

 

Heart-small5 is led, your Heart-smallQ holding the first trick. You return Heart-small7. Partner winsHeart-smallJ and at trick 3, returns Heart-small3, declarer winning Heart-smallA.

South now plays Club-smallQ, which holds, and on Club-smallJ, West discards Spade-small2 as you win Club-smallK. Naturally, you believe the discouraging Spade-small2 and return Diamond-small6 thus giving the declarer 8 tricks.

 caring friend.png

The “uncaring” play occurred at trick 3. It would have cost West nothing to return Heart-smallK indicating a preference for the highest suit, spades.

Just remember: “listening and caring”.”

Of course, had the defenders been playing reverse signals, then Spade-small2 would have been a wonderfully encouraging card. You can see that West has no convenient low diamond to discard. Spade-smallQ discard would have made the switch clear but West wanted to defeat the contract by two tricks. As Jan said, West’s error was at trick 3 not so much with their discard.

For less experienced players..and others.

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

 

Your partner leads Heart-small4. Trick 1 goes Heart-small9 your Heart-small10 and declarer’s ace. A club is played to dummy’s king and declarer calls for Spade-smallQ…and you?

Richard Solomon

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