All News

Daily Bridge in New Zealand

“Partner. You are just an…."

Whether it is on the 1st January, in the final of New Zealand Teams, in a friendly social game, on Christmas Eve, whenever, don’t you love the sound of those words “great lead, partner” coming across the table at the end of a deal?

Come on, now, you can remember when it last happened, I am sure. Whether you can or just would like to say you could, what would be your choice from the following? We will add the necessary words at the end!

Bridge in NZ.pngnz map.jpg

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

 

You are playing Teams and 1NT promised 15-17 hcp. The simplest of all bidding sequences and…

So, what’s your choice going to be? Does anyone dare lead Club-smallJ which seems so obvious a lead? Is this the day to double-cross you into a more imaginative lead when the standard “top of a sequence” just might work? Maybe.

We know what South has got, well roughly but what about North? They could have a very flat hand even with a 4-card major though it is likely they do not. They could have a long minor suit which bearing in mind our club holding, just has to be in diamonds. So, let’s eliminate a diamond lead… the least likely to score tricks for the defence.

This deal highlights one of the differences between Teams and Pairs Bridge. While beating contracts is also very much part of Pairs philosophy if you can, so is restricting overtricks..and here Club-smallJ lead is probably the most likely to achieve that. Of course, it might be the killing lead if your partner held Club-smallAKx and the queen fell doubleton, but the odds of that are not great.

To score quick tricks (which may well be necessary to beat 3NT) we would need our partner to probably have at least 7hcp in clubs. If we led a major, our partner would need less, maybe just the Spade-smallA or Spade-smallAQ or even less in hearts, perhaps just KQ.

With North not seemingly interested in a major fit, we should be interested in the majors. There is a big argument in favour of a spade lead, perhaps even if partner held just QJ. Perhaps declarer needs to knock out your Heart-smallA to come to 9 tricks.

That scenario was possible but today was wrong. The other option, the most attacking is to lead Heart-smallA. The advantage of that lead is that it is great if hearts is the right suit to attack and it also enables you to switch to a spade if partner discourages at trick 1.

Take a look…

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

 

Easy…well not quite. With so many pairs playing “reverse signals” (low encourage), somehow West had to believe that the Heart-small7 was indeed an encouraging card. Assuming South followed suit with one of their low hearts, West could see all the hearts below Heart-small7, except Heart-small4.

Thus, a great deal for those who play “high encourage” with Heart-small9 carrying a clear message that you are on to a winner.

So, no accolades this time if you led a minor suit, a “good try, partner” if you had started with a spade but for those who led a heart….and the ace is probably best… you would soon be hearing some complimentary words coming from your partner… “you are just an…

heart ace.png

 

If you are feeling bad about not finding that lead, the board was played at 24 tables. 11 times 3NT was played by South and 11 times 3NT made… no heart leads. Food for thought, perhaps, certainly about leading a major even if you chose the wrong one. 

Until next time….

both for the lead and more hopefully interesting bridge hands next week after the Christmas statutory holidays.

Richard Solomon

Go Back View All News Items

Our Sponsors
  • Tauranga City Council
  • tourismbop.jpeg
  • TECT.jpg
  • Ryman
  • NZB Foundation