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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

 

Finessing and timing and ducking..for less experienced players, and others.

Today’s deal may seem quite basic but it offers some good lessons for those who may be struggling to make, in particular, their no-trump contracts. You should be able to come to 10 tricks as long as you follow the basic guidelines.

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

 

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

 

West’s 2 was a weak 2 opening and Easts 3a nuisance bid. West leads Q. Plan the play.

We would seem to have three club tricks most of the time, two heart tricks all the time, four, maybe five diamond tricks with normal breaks in that suit and two, maybe three spade tricks. That all adds up to a minimum of 11 tricks though we know it is not all about counting winning tricks. In the case of both minor suits, we may or must lose a trick in those suits in order to gain extra tricks. That is the key.

The danger is losing several heart tricks and that can only be to West who has a six-card heart suit. Although West may hold three largish diamonds including the king, it is more likely that when we lose a diamond trick, it will be to East. When that happens, we do not want East to have any hearts left with which to communicate to their partner. That dictates our plan on this board in two ways:

a. we must duck one round of hearts, ideally at trick 1. The deal does not pose a danger in any switch away from hearts.

b. we need to play on clubs before diamonds because we have no control of who will win the ♣A. If it is West, we need to lose to the ace before we play on diamonds.

Declarer must not play spades unless they need a third spade trick desperately because of a bad break in one or both minors.

These were the four hands:

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

 

While it was possible for West to hold both the ♦K and ♣A (as well as ♥QJ), it was more likely they held one but not both of these cards.

So, West holds the lead at trick 1 and with East playing an encouraging heart, West continues with a low heart. South wins and at trick 2, plays ♣K. South should be able to score three club tricks but because of where the ♣9 is, if the suit breaks 4-1, they can only do so if it is West who holds ♣ATxx.

West wins the trick (holding a doubleton, there is little to be gained from ducking this trick) and continues with another small heart even though they appear to have no entry back to their established hearts.

South knows that East then has no more hearts (assuming West started with 6) and therefore can now safely take the diamond finesse…low to the jack) which loses to East’s king. There is nothing East can do. They may try a spade but because they have no hearts, the declarer will take the rest of the tricks, having lost just one trick in each suit except spades.

Thus, duck a heart to cut communications between the two defenders’ hands.

Play on clubs before diamonds because you cannot control who has ♣A whereas you may be able to control which defender wins a diamond trick.

Do not play on spades for a third trick unless you are desperate.

know the rules.jpg

There’s quite a lot to analyse but the above guidelines are common ones. They work. In bridge, there may always be an exception but that exception only proves that the basic rules work.

 

What to open?

 

 
 
 
10 2
A K Q J 4
A K Q 7
Q 3

 

It’s Teams and you are the Dealer. What’s your choice?

Richard Solomon

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