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Jan’s Day: Oh dear!

“When the outlook is grim, it is the time to be optimistic.” It could not be “grimmer” than on the board below. Do not give up. An optimist does not…ever!

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 
South Deals
All Vul
3 2
K J 5
Q 3
Q J 9 7 5 4
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
K Q 9 8
A 7 6
A K J 5
K 3
6 NT by South

 

Have you noticed there is something wrong with this contract? That’s right. You are missing both black aces! No need to show the bidding. It was not good!

West leads Heart-small2 with Heart-smallJ winning the first trick. A club to the king wins and is followed by a club to the jack, both opponents following but no ace appearing. What now?

jan cormack 2021  1.jpg
Jan Cormack

Jan’s Day: Optimism and Pessimism

“There is a time to be optimistic and a time to be pessimistic. When everything in the garden looks rosy and the play appears to hold no problems, that is the time to be pessimistic. Take extra care to avoid hidden pitfalls and do not underestimate the cunning of the opposition.

However, when the outlook is grim, that is the time to be optimistic. Visualise an unusual distribution which may just place the cards in a way to give you a chance…or perhaps an imaginative or deceptive play is called for. Above all: don’t give up…ever!

Here you are representing your country at the World Olympics. After a disastrous bidding misunderstanding, you reach a vulnerable 6NT on the following cards:


South Deals
All Vul
3 2
K J 5
Q 3
Q J 9 7 5 4
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
K Q 9 8
A 7 6
A K J 5
K 3
6 NT by South

 

West leads Heart-small2 and the Heart-smallJ wins the first trick. A club to the king wins as does a club to the jack on the next trick. One thing is for sure that if you play a third club to the ace, the player with Spade-smallA will be able to signal very loudly that they would like a spade switch.

Why not, therefore, be the true optimist? Say we can bring home three spade tricks while the defender with the Club-smallA can never get to cash that card? In fact, this is exactly what happened:

 
South Deals
Both Vul
3 2
K J 5
Q 3
Q J 9 7 5 4
7 6 5 4
Q 9 3 2
6 4
A 6 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
A J 10
10 8 4
10 9 8 7 2
10 8
 
K Q 9 8
A 7 6
A K J 5
K 3
6 NT by South

 

There are 12 tricks, two clubs, three hearts, four diamonds and with East holding AJT, three spade tricks.”

(Note that had West won the second round of clubs, they would have had to find the spade switch to beat the contract as otherwise, South would have 5 club tricks, 4 diamonds and 3 heart tricks.)

“The following deal was played in 7Spade-smalland is a dramatic example of how deceptive defence influenced the declarer into taking a losing play.

 

North Deals
Both Vul
K 10 9 7
A 4
J 3 2
A Q 10 3
3
Q J 9 8 7 3
9 7 5 4
J 6
 
N
W   E
S
 
6 5 4 2
10 2
Q 10 8
8 5 4 2
 
A Q J 8
K 6 5
A K 6
K 9 7
7  by South

 

7Spade-small is lay-down (ruff a heart, draw trumps and play clubs from the top.) However, when South ruffed a heart in dummy, East under-ruffed!

This made South believe that East was protecting both minor suit holdings. He cashed Diamond-smallAK just in case the queen dropped. Then, he led a spade to the king and a club to the 9. West won their jack and, to add insult to injury, the defence cashed their diamond trick for down two!

East’s flamboyant under-ruff had everything to gain and nothing to lose. In this instance, the gain was enormous.”

  No risk….only

gain.jpg

The theme of optimism and pessimism will carry on to tomorrow’s problem.


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

 

You reach an optimistic but not impossible 4Heart-small game. Plan the play. West starts with a small spade lead. The heart break is 3-2, East having 3 hearts and both defenders have at least three clubs.

Richard Solomon

 

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