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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Two, One or None: for less experienced players and others.

Given a choice, what would be yours? No, we are not talking about the number of games of bridge you can have this week. No choice, there. The answer would certainly be “2” at least! The same answer, surely, when wishing for a certain number of high card points. However, we are talking about something else, finesses!

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

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

 

The bidding was more “practical Pairs” bridge than scientifically accurate! North bid their four-card major in preference to their longer uninspiring looking club suit while South’s rebid showed 12-14 but certainly denied six diamonds! However, the final contract was very reasonable, where you want to be, definitely if they did not lead a spade…. but West did, Spade-small3. So, how are you going to plan the play? Oh, ducking at trick 1 is not to be recommended!

Are we playing Pairs or Teams? Frankly, it does not matter. Your contract is under threat from the opening lead. The opposition have at least 3 spade tricks to take once your ace and king have gone. Therefore, we can lose the lead once but not twice.

So, our plan should be to make at least 9 tricks without losing the lead twice. At least one declarer, thus, embarked on a risky route. They won the lead in dummy (which is probably correct) but called for the Club-smallT and played low from their hand with West’s king taking the trick. Back came a second spade won in declarer’s hand with the ace.

So, they crossed to dummy to the Heart-smallK to play Club-small9 with East and South both again playing low and West won the trick with Club-smallQ…and you can guess what came next. Three rounds of spades followed, five tricks lost…and the contract. Unlucky? Perhaps in that both club finesses failed. Yet, too many finesses were taken.

Others won the spade lead in their own hand, South, and put the Diamond-smallQ on the table. They felt much happier when West covered, correctly, with Diamond-smallK and they were en route to making their contract. Yet, they, too, took too many finesses. These were the four hands:

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

 

Very friendly diamonds but there was still a diamond loser. Imagine West had Diamond-smallKT6. They would not help you by covering. Remember you had won the first trick with Spade-smallA. You win the second diamond in dummy but have only one certain entry left to force out Diamond-smallK and thus no quick way to run the diamonds. You would likely be defeated. Those who played Spade-smallA then Diamond-smallQ were rather fortunate.

A 3-2 diamond break is by far the most common break but there will be times when you take the diamond finesse and the suit breaks 4-1, and not just when the king is singleton, that you could have two losers in the suit. Some of those times are eliminated by starting diamonds with the ace and then playing a second diamond. No finesse is best, or at least you might have to resort to playing clubs for one loser if the diamond break was really bad.

Playing diamonds rather than clubs makes more sense also because if you can establish your diamond suit (say for 5 tricks), you have 10 tricks on top while establishing clubs for 4 tricks only gives you 9 (2 in each major, 4 clubs and Diamond-smallA). That is another reason to choose diamonds. You may make extra as the opponents will not enjoy, for instance, discarding to 4 further rounds of diamonds.

However, the key is to recognise the suit which gives you less risk…and that is definitely diamonds while laying down Diamond-smallA at trick 2 could make life so much easier than a finesse. Consider also where you should win trick 1. It could be vital. Much better here to start with Spade-smallK in dummy.

Also, imagine the mighty good feeling, too, if East produces the singleton king under the Diamond-smallA!

Wow.jpg

 

What now?

 
 
J 8 6 5
A 5
8
A K Q 9 6 4
West North East South
      Pass
1  Pass 1  Pass
1  Dbl Pass 1 NT
Pass ?    

 

1Club-small promised at least 2 clubs with 1Diamond-small showing 4+ hearts. The 1Heart-small response showed normally 3 hearts (any opening hcp) but could also be 4 hearts with around 13-14 hcp.

Do you agree with your double? What now? Teams.

Richard Solomon

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