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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Pie in the Sky?

The best of bridge partnerships could have one partner who might be a little aggressive and the other who is a tad more conservative. Trouble can develop when both partners are a little aggressive on the same deal.

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

 

We all do it occasionally. (What? You more often than you should!foot-in-mouth) We call it “hand evaluation” while perhaps it can be just plain over- optimism! Sometimes we downgrade a hand and then again we can upgrade. Problems can arise when both partners upgrade on the same board!

2Diamond-smallwas a 3- way Multi, North supposedly showing 20-21 hcp. with 2NT. 3Club-small asked about North’s majors with 3Heart-smallpromising five hearts.

Your job is to to make your 4Heart-smallcontract with the above cards after West leads Spade-small3.

19 ½ HCP is almost 20 and that five -card suit could be worth an extra trick. Perhaps South should have passed 2NT but they had visions of a spade fit or perhaps a favourable lie of the cards in 3NT. ("I have confidence in you, partner!") So, they went chasing rainbows and found an unexpected one in a 5-3 heart fit. It was Teams…so why not give it a go? Hence, the 22 hcp  hopeless looking 4Heart-small was reached played by the weak hand.

Can we find any more negatives to say? Only that the defence found a seemingly good lead.. for them, that spade! Well, “thanks, partner” as you assess your slim chances. You are not down yet!

At a more modest level, you might try and ruff a third round of clubs in the South hand, lose a spade and two clubs…and a heart as well, as if you ruff a club, you will be faced with a heart loser, no matter how friendly the trump break is. That’s down one since you are in game. Hence, no club ruff this time.

The only way you can play trumps without losing a trick is for West to hold K doubleton. So, you must assume that is the position. Yet, entries to the South hand are not that plentiful. You want to discard a black suit loser on the fourth round of diamonds (a 3-3 break, or Diamond-smallJ10 doubleton in one hand, some of the time). Yet, you must use your only entry to the South hand (Diamond-smallQ) to take the trump finesse.

So, your timing has to be right and you have to be lucky. Play for it. Nothing to lose except a minus score and imps out. Nothing new there. “Been there..done that, often!”

Thus, be positive, win Spade-smallA at trick 1 and play a diamond to the queen and a low heart towards dummy. West plays Heart-smallT and you play Heart-smallQ from dummy…and when you have opened your eyes, the queen has won the trick!


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

 

“The hand played itself” is a common expression in Bridge and indeed the hardest part of a board like the above is working out all the pieces of good fortune you need to write down +620. The Heart-smallA brought down West’s king but before the last trump could be drawn, South had to cash dummy’s two high diamonds.

The only entry back to the South hand was thus Heart-smallJ and then the prized 13th diamond was played to dispose of that losing spade. There were three club losers but the declarer had the other 10 tricks.

Lucky? Certainly, exceedingly so. Yet, it makes up for all the better games and slams we bid which fail to some cruel break. If South had to play those North-South cards in 4Heart-small another 99 times, they would record many many failures. A little positive thought at trick 1 is needed to enable you to take advantage of the rare times when finesses work and suits break favourably.

follow the rules 3.jpg

Follow the rules! Normally!

Oh, and maybe South should temper their aggression for a slightly better hand..or for when their partner shoots “straight down the fairway”.

How aggressive?

Another chance to make an aggressive or a more conservative bid. What’s your choice?


North Deals
N-S Vul
   
A 7
J 9 8 7
8 7 3
A 4 3 2
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
  1  1  1 
?      

 

Richard Solomon

 

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