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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Remember the Bidding?

It can throw up plenty of clues when you later end up as declarer or even with a key decision as a defender. Sometimes the bidding is a guide: on other occasions, it throws up stone-cold certainties. The bidding happened only a minute or two earlier. Keep it in mind.

Once South had opened their 11 count below, they were always going to be propelled to game by a partner with two high card points more. Were West to make a more aggressive lead, it would simply have been a case of by how many tricks the game would fail but a passive unbid suit lead gave South a chance.

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

 

West led Heart-small10. What’s your plan to make 10 tricks? Do not worry about the overtricks! Oh, in case you are hoping for a lucky diamond break, there is no singleton diamond honour or doubleton KQ in the opponents’ hands.

So, what’s the plan? It seems a great idea to get rid of one of those club losers on the third round of hearts. All good as both opponents follow to three rounds of the suit. It still looks like there are three minor suit losers and there’s no guarantee that you will not need to ruff a losing diamond in dummy. So, no time yet to draw trumps and indeed how would you play the trump suit, any way: a finesse seems best but not yet.

In such a contract, it is a good idea to lose what you have to lose first. You need a reasonably even diamond break. So, start with a low diamond away from the ace. East rises with the Diamond-smallQ and plays Club-smallA and then a small club.

You ruff and now play a diamond to the ace and then a third round of diamonds. East’s king wins and both opponents owned up to three diamonds. East exits Club-smallJ which again you ruff.

These cards remain:

 
 
K 7 2
8
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
A J 8
J

 

You have lost three tricks and thus have to play trumps correctly. Any ideas? You may not feel too good about the situation but you should know what you have to do and why.

Have you been watching the opponents’ honour cards fall? They have all “fallen” from one hand, East: Diamond-small KQ  Club-small AJ and can you think back to the bidding or in this case, the lack of bidding from East? East started with a pass and yet has shown up with 10 high card points. West’s opening lead of Heart-small10 also meant that East held Heart-smallJ as well. That’s 11 hcp and therefore they just cannot have the Spade-smallQ and have passed.

So, with a degree of resignation, you play a small spade to dummy’s king and then a second spade to….the ace! It is all right: it is your lucky day as the Spade-smallQ drops on the second round.

 

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

 

All that remains is to play Spade-smallJ and then enjoy your other high jack at trick 13. You can hear East giving their partner a lesson on more attacking opening leads....certainly right on this day.

Lucky? Of course, but by counting the appearance of East’s high card points, you could tell that the finesse had no chance of succeeding. If you had played trumps before you played on diamonds, you would very likely have finessed and been one down.

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South lost what they had to lose and then looked around for any clues to help them with the difficult decision…and the clues were there in the bidding.

Cracking an old chestnut?

 
 
A K 10
A J 6 5 3 2
5 4
A 7
West North East South
  1  Pass 1 
Pass ?    

 

Not long enough to support partner's suit but too much in the suit to ignore. What should you bid?

Richard Solomon

 

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