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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Safety Plays and Signals: for less experienced players and others.

When declarer misplays and the defence goes astray, what should the end result be? Someone is going to be lucky. Who is it going to be?

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

 

Bid them up: play them well”!

West leads Heart-smallK which you win with your ace. (Maybe you should not but you did!) Plan the play including the trump suit.

A slight piece of overbidding perhaps but both that Diamond-smallA and singleton club are most welcome in dummy, so much so that barring a most unkind trump break, there should be no more than two heart and one trump loser.

What declarer did

Winning the opening lead was not great and ultimately should have led to declarer’s downfall. East just could not gain the lead and threaten any damage to South, as long as South ducked the opening lead. Had Heart-smallK held trick 1, West would certainly have continued hearts and if as seems quite possible from the bidding, they had only a doubleton heart, the contract should have been safe.

However, South won the opening lead and played a diamond to dummy’s ace and a spade to the queen. This lost to West’s king. It’s time to look at all four hands:


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

 

West’s Heart-small5 went to their partner’s Heart-smallJ and was followed by Heart-smallQ, with West discarding Club-small8 (“low, I like style!”).

And the defence lapsed, too!

East had only hearts and clubs left and West’s Club-small8 said “I do not like clubs”. While East had several low clubs of their own, it would be wrong for West to throw such a confusing “low” club if they held say Club-smallAT8. Best not to throw a club at all with that holding.

So, East could not know for sure that a fourth round of hearts was the right defence though it seemed that the club continuation would not help the defence. It did not as South won, drew trump and claimed 10 tricks. As you can see, a fourth round of hearts would have enabled West to score their Spade-smallJ to beat the contract.

Regrets...

Next time South plays this board, they will duck the opening lead. However, they should realise the danger of taking the trump finesse. If West had all three spades, the contract was doomed. Otherwise, South could limit their trump losers to one by laying down Spade-smallA at trick 2 or 3. Indeed, if the king came tumbling down, there would have been no trump losers. As it was, there should have been two.

Thus, especially when you are in a low point count game contract, make sure of your contract, the safest way. South lived a very dangerous and ultimately charmed life.

Meanwhile, obeying your partner’s signal, even if it appears the wrong thing to do, can often be the right thing for a defender. Certainly, you have the right to ignore their suggestion but you should have good reason for doing so. West on the above deal had the right to feel a little frustrated by the end result.

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We trust East was there with the first round of drinks at the end of the night’s play!

More tears!

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Something went wrong with this auction. We will ask our Panel where it went wrong. What do you think?


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

 

2Club-small was a standard Game Force or a strong single-suited major (8 playing tricks’ style). After that, the auction was natural until 4Heart-small which was Roman Key Card with diamonds as trumps. 4NT showed 0 or 3 key cards.

5Club-small asked for the trump queen and 5Diamond-small denied this card.

The wrong slam was bid with the wrong hand as declarer. Why?

Richard Solomon

 

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