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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

A good time to take care: for less experienced players and others.

Let’s start with a quote from yesterday’s “Jan’s Day” article. “When everything in the garden looks rosy and the play appears to hold no problems, that is the time to be pessimistic.” It is a shame that the declarer on the deal below did not follow that advice as they would not have failed in their makeable contract.

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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-smallgame. 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.

I said “makeable contract”. In fact, both defenders had a chance to defeat the contract. They did not take their opportunity and with four cards left to be played, the contract should have been made but it did not. Let’s follow through the play.

South won the opening Spade-small3 lead in dummy and realised that they had two certain club losers along with the Heart-smallA. Therefore, declarer’s third club had to be ruffed in dummy before trumps could be drawn. Hence, at trick 2, they played Club-smallJ won by West’s Club-smallQ. West continued with Spade-smallJ which was covered by dummy’s queen and East’s Spade-smallK and ruffed in the South hand. A second club was won by East’s Club-small10 with East then playing Heart-smallA and a second trump. Declarer won in the South hand and ruffed a third round of clubs.

Next came a second spade ruff (no Spade-small9 appeared) and South drew East’s remaining trump while West threw Club-smallK. Four cards remaining and three tricks lost. Declarer and dummy had only diamonds left, 4 in each hand.

How do you play the diamond suit for no losers? There is no problem if the suit breaks 3-2 but just say it does not?

Rather lazily, South did not do a quick piece of mental arithmetic. East had shown up with 5 spades, 3 hearts and at least 3 clubs. Quite simply, East just could not have a 4-card diamond suit..but West could! So, lay down Diamond-smallK and then Diamond-smallQ and you will be very happy as these were the four hands:


West Deals
N-S Vul
A Q 8 7
Q 10 7
A 5 3 2
J 8
J 5 3
4 2
J 8 7 6
K Q 5 3
 
N
W   E
S
 
K 9 6 4 2
A 9 6
4
A 10 7 2
 
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      

 

West could have defeated 4Heart-small by giving their partner a diamond ruff (or even two diamond ruffs if the diamond was led at trick 1) since, as we saw, South had to lose the lead twice before drawing trumps). However, South had kept their diamonds a secret during the bidding making it harder for West to find this defence. Maybe, East could have won the first round of clubs and played their singleton, again ensuring the contract failed.

That did not happen. Suddenly, at trick 9, the “garden” looked very “rosy” to South but they were not “pessimistic” or careful enough at the key moment. Good advice, indeed.

be prepared 2.jpg

And “double” means?


South Deals
None Vul
   
A 9 8 2
A K J 5 2
A J 8 5
 
N
W   E
S
   
West North East South
      2 
Pass 2 NT Pass 3 
?      

 

You ascertain that 2Spade-small is a multi-meaning opening, always with spades, but could be 20-22 balanced with 5 spades, weak with a 5-card major and a 4+card minor or a “strong 2” with long spades.

Thus, you pass since the bid is forcing and you appear to have no obvious alternative. 2NT is an enquiry as to hand type and 3Diamond-small shows the weak 5-4+ type hand referred to above.

Do you agree with West’s initial pass? What now?

Richard Solomon

 

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