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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Anything goes…

when it comes to opening leads against slam contracts. If you can fool the declarer a little with your choice of lead, you will sometimes reap the reward. Your partner can and will just have to cope!

That is the theme behind today’s Jan’s Day article. It should have been a making contract but “should” and “what happened” do not always tie up.

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North Deals
N-S Vul
   
9 6 3
J 5 4 3
K 9 2
J 9 3
 
N
W   E
S
   
6  by South

 

The auction was unnatural. North opened a Precision 1Club-small and you know that South’s shape is 3415, i.e. 5 clubs. South has three controls (ace 2, king 1) and they appear to be all in clubs. South gave a positive response (8+ hcp) to the opening bid. You know nothing more about the North hand..and your choice is?

“The simplest moves can often be best”

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Jan Cormack

Every so often a deal comes along when a player is called upon to execute a technical play they have been saving up. It is one thing learning such plays and another recognising they should be applied.

On several occasions, I have seen players (and experts) tie themselves up in knots with an exotic line and failing in their contract when all that was required was a simple 50% finesse.

On the following deal, a declarer had an opportunity to exhibit his expertise.

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

 

                         North                                     South

                          1Club-small   Precision style              1Heart-small

                        1Spade-small     relay                          2Club-small    4 hearts, 5 clubs

                        2Spade-small     relay                          3Diamond-small    3415 shape

                       3Heart-small    control ask                  3NT   3 controls (ace=2 king= 1)

                       4Club-small   which controls?            5Club-small       in clubs

                       6Heart-small                                      Pass

West led a cunning Diamond-small9, knowing of declarer’s singleton in that suit. South won the ace in dummy with East playing Diamond-small8. A spade was led to the queen, Heart-small4, Heart-small9 and taken by East’s singleton king. East exited Club-small2 which was taken by South’s ace.

South ran Heart-small8 to get the bad news about the heart break. Next came two more top clubs, diamonds being discarded from dummy and then a repeated heart finesse to dummy’s Heart-small10. These cards remained:

 
A K
9
Q J
9 6
J
K 2
 
N
W   E
S
 
J
 7 4 3
10
 
7 2
7
8 7

 

with South needing all of the last five. Declarer then played Diamond-smallQ, discarding a club, expecting the ruffing finesse to work. However, West took the Diamond-smallK to beat the contract by one trick.

South should have given the hand more thought. With the opening lead a doubleton, which is what South presumed, all East had to do, had they held the Diamond-smallK was to play low and South had to fail in their contract. For the contract to succeed, West must hold three diamonds or else they will overruff. The position of the Diamond-smallK was irrelevant.

Thus, when the Heart-small8 won the second round of hearts, South should have discarded two diamonds on clubs, as he did, and then play a spade to the ace to ruff a diamond and then a spade to the king to ruff a second diamond, with West following harmlessly with Diamond-smallK. The two- card ending would be then:

 
A 10
J 5
 
N
W   E
S
 
8
10
 
8 7

 

Declarer will lead Club-small8 and must score the last two tricks via a trump coup.

Bridge is really a very easy game when you know how.”

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This easy? Yeah: Right!

   and a little less easy had you started off with that Diamond-small9.

Two Games: one problem, for less experienced players and others

The above statement is not quite true as 5Club-small is a better game than 3NT. So, let’s say you found 5Club-small as South with the following hands:

East Deals
Both Vul
9 5
K 10 9 6
K 10
K J 8 6 5
   
N
W   E
S
   
 
K J 8 2
8
A Q 9 2
A 9 7 2

 

 

East had opened 1Heart-small and after that the opposition were silent. West led Heart-small2 (3rds and 5ths) to East’s Heart-smallJ as you played low from dummy. Out came Spade-small3 from East.

What do you play on this trick and how do you plan to make 11 tricks?

Richard Solomon

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