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Daily Bridge in New Zealand

Leading and Tossing!

Plenty sun, maybe a few drops of rain, plenty food but maybe not enough Bridge. Is that how you are feeling at present? If so, here’s a remedy with our Daily Bridge hand back. Just for a few days, we will take a look at some interesting/ unusual deals that have cropped up in this column over the past 21 months.

That’s a long time since we offered you a piece of on-line bridge every day because Covid prevented you from getting down to your club. Could we have imagined then that we might be prevented for so long and indeed, although we are hopeful that live bridge will continue now, we are by no means back to a world where we can play live bridge when and where we want. It is suddenly a different world.

So, some on-line offerings for you.

Calling “heads or tails”.     

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If you were asked to predict the fall of a coin twice, and you were told once the answer would be “heads” and once “tails”, then the safest way to call is “heads” twice or “tails” twice. At least you would win once. (of course, a gambler would say otherwise!) That was almost the situation when you found yourself twice on lead in a very short space of time with a very similar holding to 2 x3NT contracts. (Pairs)

It was not a question of which suit because your partner had each time entered the bidding  (and you would of course lead their suit!) but more a case of which card:

Hand one with you West:

N/S Vul.

Spade-smallQ9732

Heart-small 85

Diamond-smallA62

Club-small K82

West              North            East                South

                        1Diamond-small                 3Club-small1                  3NT

All Pass

1 Weak Jump  

Your lead?

Fast forward 15 minutes and you are West on lead to 3NT once again:

Not much more bidding though a subtly different auction this time (N/S Vul):

Spade-small T6

Heart-smallK98

Diamond-small975

Club-smallJ8742

West              North            East                South

                                                                       2NT (20-22)

Pass                3Club-small 1                 3 Heart-small 2             3NT

All Pass

1 Major Suit enquiry

2 “Yes, I do have a major!”

Your lead, once more!

So, what’s it to be: low club, Club-smallK or maybe no club…on each deal? Remember, the lead of the king gives away a trick every time declarer holds AJx. So, your lead on Deal 1? Club-smallK lead? You wish!

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

 

When greeted with a club lead, South would have wished they had made a negative double rather than bidding 3NT. 11 tricks in hearts (12 if no diamond ruff) and 12 in diamonds would be pretty easy with normal distribution. However, South would have not felt quite so happy had their partner jumped to 4Spade-small over the double (with a different North hand). Then, playing in 3NT might have scored better.

With at least 11 tricks available in hearts, South would be looking for a way to get a reasonable score from the board. They needed to make at least 11 tricks in 3NT (remember, Pairs scoring). The lead of the  Club-smallK would suggest a doubleton. So, duck once and hope West holds the  Diamond-smallA (If East has it, you are booked for a big fat zero!). South would, though,  be mortally wounded when West produced the Diamond-smallA and a third club defeating the contract by 2 tricks.

So, nice try that  Club-smallK lead. Had South been playing Teams, they would duck 2 rounds of clubs! Playing Pairs, they had to win the second round of clubs to try for a decent score….and they would score 0%!

Deal 2 - Do you lead partner’s suit?

Why not? That seems a good enough reason to do so!

Come on, win at least the post-mortem. Lead their suit. These mavericks who bid freely after a strong opposition 2NT must be proven right…or wrong! Yet, which heart? The textbook one? Come on..be consistent… and prove partner right!

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

 

Well, that’s a match-point man’s 2NT opening. If you are going to call it a 2NT opening, then don’t change horses mid-stream…though while you would have preferred a diamond lead, you know you are almost certain to get a heart lead now. (Maybe even the match-point king should have changed his mind and headed for spades!)

On the  Heart-smallK lead, there are 10 obvious tricks….no more and no less…and no match-points with the field making all bar one trick in the spade game or slam. No diamond ruff this time to save you.

Alas, West decided this time to call “tails” and not “heads”. Out came the technically correct and practical disaster lead of the Heart-small8…and East-West received a not great score when most of the field stopped in the spade game...-690 as opposed to -680.

So, rightly or wrongly, stick to your call (even if you are technically wrong!). This time, the call of heads (that of leading the king) was the best both times. Maybe, like me, you call “tails” twice. I hope your bridge guessing is better than your calling of the toss!

toss lost.jpg

Toss lost!

Richard Solomon

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