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Avoiding problems at the table

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4th August, 10.00am

Interesting Hands
Wednesday Night - Board 9

                                                ♠  A K 2
                                                  8 4
                                                  A K 8 5
                                                ♣  Q 9 3 2

            ♠  9 7 6 4                                            ♠  Q 8 5
              Q 9 7 3                                             K 10 6 2
              9 7 2                                                 J 3
            ♣  10 5                                                ♣  J 8 7 4

                                                ♠  J 10 3
                                                  A J 5
                                                  Q 10 6 4
                                                ♣  A K 6

North opens 1 Diamond, I have no good bid and decide to make a waiting bid of 2 Clubs. This “kind of” backfires when North responds 3 Clubs.
I think this is not a minimum hand else why not open 1NT, too shapely? I have to find out more so I bid 3H, my partner will know this is a 3NT try and not a suit, I would have bid 1H with 4 in the suit, long before bidding a 5-card minor.
I get a 3NT response showing 1½ to 2 stops in spades. Now it is decision time. North sounds like a strongish hand, or a weaker one but with 5 – 4 in the minors or 4 cards in the majors If N is 3 1 in spades and hearts we have probably only one loser in the majors. I hope with my holding in the minors we have no minor losers. I’m going to back my judgement so I bid 6 D.
From the insert table my judgment was correct and we were the only pair to bid it. However a 31 point slam is not going to be easy.

Play
You have 2S + 1H + 4D + 3C and one ruff to give 11 tricks, one shy.
A spade finesse or clubs breaking kindly will give the contract, that is a 50% for the spade and 36% for the club, you must try the club before taking the finesse. OR, a black suit squeeze against either opponent. You have no idea against whom but that does not matter as the squeeze will be of the automatic nature. I.e. split threats which you have, the play, will be about entries / communication.
A spade lead gives the contract right away, a heart lead allows you to duck at trick one and rectify the count, the most difficult lead turns out to be a club.
Club lead, win with the A (you need the Q later) now the A and then Q of diamonds, the suit breaks. Spade A, Now Heart A and another heart. It really does not mater what they do now. A club return, win with K, ruff a heart high, play spade K overtake the small diamond and throw the 2 spades on the last diamond.
You are in dummy with Spade J and club 6. And in your own hand you have the club Q 9.
What two cards has east kept. If the spade Q has not shown, then, has there been a club discard? In this case East has thrown a club and even though West shows out you get the last two tricks.
Not so easy at the table.

Monday 5th March, Board 6

Hand 6 on Monday night appears to have caused a few South a play problem.

Dlr:

East

Vul:

E/W

http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/spade.png AK

http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/heart.png KJ9542

http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/diamond.png J8

http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/club.png 765

 

12

14

5

9

http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/spade.png Q109762

http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/heart.png 10

http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/diamond.png AQ52

http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/club.png J10

East was dealer and passed.

South might be tempted to open 1http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/spade.png but 2http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/spade.png shows the hand better but is as good as it comes.

This will appear to cause West a problem, dependent on the West you are playing against, they will either Double, bid 3http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/club.png or eventually pass. North will now bid 3http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/spade.png. When this comes around to South they will be left wondering whether this is pre-emptive, which is the normal in most partnerships or quantitative. If quantitative South has maximum and should bid 4.

The 2-spade opener has backfired as it has left NS out of control. It is definitely unacceptable for you to take advantage of your partners hesitation, but perfectly correct to take advantage of any hesitation made by the opposition. Thus, your partner knows his cards are lying behind strength and only bids 3, it is trust your partner time and you should pass.

With the hesitation, bid or double the hand is quite easy to play.

West starts with Ahttp://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/club.png and you decline to be rushed.

We do not wish to ruff on the table as our best chance of avoiding a spade loser is to find the suit breaking 2 - 3.

You have two clubs and two diamonds to lose, plus a heart and perhaps a spade. There are 19 points missing and we are inclined to put 14+ with our LHO. So, West has at the most 5 points. We need to concentrate in counting his hand, we are highly hopeful that West has the Ahttp://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/heart.png, If so then there is room in East’s hand for heart Q or diamond K.

At this point we decide that the first card we are going to play when in is 10http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/heart.png.

Now we play 5http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/club.png etc, West continues with K http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/club.png East playing upwards, and, after some thought, west continues with a third club, East playing the http://www.bridgewebs.com/bwicons/suits/club.pngQ you mentally note that East has only 3 points left. You ruff and immediately play the heart.

Now it does not matter what West does. Plays the A you will play two rounds of trump, cash the heart K, ruff a heart, draw the last trump and play a small diamond towards the Jack, 9 tricks.

If west does not take the ace go up with the K, now play a heart and rough, a small spade to the K and a second round of spades and ruff a third-round heart. Draw the last trump and play a small diamond towards the table, losing two clubs and the diamond K as the hearts broke as did the spades.

So, 140 or 170 seems like the par score for the board. So how come as defenders we got 10% when our declarer made 9 tricks.

Moan moan,

The odds are against it

Hand 17 on Monday night (23 Oct) annoyed me. I broke several of my personnel little rules and got 31% for my troubles.
North deals and passes. East opens 1♠  which shuts me up. West passes. Your partner decides to protect your pass with a bid of 2. East passes so round to you.

Now I am a firm believer in, if you are in a hole - stop digging, but decided that 2NT would be better than 2  the trouble with most rescue operations your partner is unaware of your chivalry and, as I should have expected, bid 3NT

The 5 is led, and dummy goes down -

                                                ♠  Q 9
                                                  9 8
                                                  A J 10 4 3
                                                ♣ K 8 6 3

                                                ♠ J 10 7 6 2
                                                  A K 6
                                                  2

                                               ♣  A J 10 4

The club lead gives you at least 3 club tricks, to add to your two hearts and one diamond, and you can set up two spades leaving you one short, at this point I failed to cover the 5 with the 6 blowing the immediate chance of a fourth club when East discards 6.

You need to set about establishing the Spade tricks immediately and lead a spade to the ♠Q, West following with the ♠ 3. East switches to hearts, playing the  2, you rise with the K and West plays the 3. You continue with a spade to the ♠9, which is allowed to hold, West discarding 2♣. You get back to your hand with a club to the ♣A, East discarding the  4♥. You lead ♠ J West reluctantly discards a diamond and you throw a diamond from dummy. East wins and plays the  5 - crunch time - do you win? Alternatively, do you duck?  If you win, what do you do next?

You do not have a perfect count, BUT if the hearts are breaking 4 - 4, then West started with 5 clubs, 4 hearts, one spade and three diamonds and has 2 clubs, three hearts and two diamonds left.

West started with 5 spades, and, if the hearts divide, 4 hearts and 4 diamonds, and has left, two spades two hearts and three diamonds.

The question is, it's Match point scoring, you will get 31% for going one off, 16% for going two off and 98% for making it, So what are the odds for East have held at the beginning exactly 4 hearts to the Q, or three to the Q, to hold the "Marriage" in diamonds. There is every room on the bidding and play for east to have started with 5 hearts to the Q or Q to 4, and you will have to guess on the position of the diamond Q.

The cards lay like this -

                                               ♠  - -
                                                  9 -
                                                 A J 10 4 -
                                                ♣  K 8 - -

                        ♠  -                                                       ♠  - - 8 5 -
                          J 10 7 -                                              Q 5 - -
                          8 7 -                                                   K Q 9 -
                        ♣  Q 9 - - -                                           ♣  -

                                                ♠  - 10 7 - -
                                                  A - 6
                                                 2
                                                ♣  - J - 4

In aggregate or teams the play is easy. Win with the A and return the heart 6 discarding the club 8. In again, East has to give you an extra spade or two extra diamonds. Assume East leads the K, then win with the A and return the J hoping East has the Q, or duck the K and east can trap his own or his partner's Q or give you the spade finesse.
I went lamely one down. Not my night.

Responder's first bid

Board 22 on Monday night, 8th Aug, proved challenging for some players to bid their slam.
Here are the North South hands.

♠  Q J
  K Q J 7
  6 4 3
♣  J 7 6 2

-----------------------

 

♠  A K 9 4
  A 4
  A K 10 7 5 2
♣  A

East, the dealer Passes.
South, with 22 points and 6 quick tricks opens 2C, game force. The requirement of a game force opener is 23 points or 5 quick tricks.

For such a benign hand, it is strange that North's choice of bid is so important.
Those of you who elected to use 2D - negative will have difficulty catching up.
The requirement of a positive is as little as an A and K or 8 points. I.e. 7 points is ok if they are made up of an A and a K.

Bidding 2H would imply 5 cards in that suit.
North's hand has 10 points and is flat and aceless. This is a standard ACOL bid of 2NT, showing 10+ aceless points and a flat hand. This is exactly what North has.
South, looking at a three loser hand, and a partner with at least two diamonds has no problem in bidding the small slam, but needs a mechanism to find if his partner has the  Q to allow the grand to be bid. (Note the diamonds broke two/two and 7 is made, but that is a 50.1% chance and not one worth taking)

If North opts for 2D the bidding is likely to proceed.

            P          2♣        P          2 
            P          3        P          3 
            P          3♠        P          ??

3NT has the touch of the Hideous Hog about it, 4D is slam invitation and implies a first round control somewhere, 5D is just giving in, and, an end of the evening and I want to go home bid.
Us old style ACOL players would remember the old ACOL bid of 2NT, showing 10+ ace-less points and a flat hand, that is, if it was not for creeping senility, and the bid does not come up every year.

Redouble

I do not normally talk about bidding as everyone has his or her own style. However, I have noticed a distinct reluctance to use the redouble as part of your armoury in the first round of bidding. I know the style these days is to bid a new suit, forcing, jump in a weak suit and only redouble when neither applies, so the use of the bid is much less.
I thought it might be worthwhile to review the bid.

The bidding:

            -           1H       x          xx,

 

So what does the xx mean?
It shows 10 or more points perhaps shaded to nine.
It usually means little enthusiasm for hearts, it also promises to speak again. The minimum holding would be something like -
♠ A J 9 7  ♥  10 4  ♦ K 10 8  ♣  Q 10 9 6

 

Now let us return to opener's hand, the bidding sequence is the same for all the examples below.

            -           1H       x          xx            2C       ?

 

a) ♠ A 7   ♥ A Q 8 7 2   ♦ K 9 8 6  ♣ 6 5
Pass: You have your opener and you cannot double Clubs. Let your partner decide, you have a misfit, defending with a misfit is much more fun than playing with one.

 

b) ♠ A K 7  ♥ K Q 10 9 2   ♦ A 9 8 6  ♣ 2
Pass: Game for you is likely, not certain; if partner doubles, you are going to get a big score. Note bidding 2D would show a sub minimum point count. Partner has promised to bid again.

 

c) ♠ 8 4  ♥ A K 7 6 4   ♦ A 5  ♣ K 9 3 2
Double: "Come into my parlour said the spider to the fly". Partner is short of hearts, as will dummy, Partner will be in the uppercut position.

 

d) ♠ 9  ♥ K 9 8 6 5 2   ♦ A Q J 6 4  ♣ 7
2♦ : You are underweight in the high card department, your bid was a perfectly normal weak ACOL opener - note - not a weak two, it is better than that. However, it needs to be played in a red suit and you must tell your partner that it is weak and of no use in defence.

 

e) ♠ J 7 4  ♥ A K Q 10 9 5    ♦ J 9 5  ♣ 6
2♥: To my mind you should have opened a week 2, you have 9 working points, and perhaps one defensive trick, however some partners prefer you to go down rather than open 2H with more than 10 points. That aside the bid shows a weak hand with an excellent suit, and it will play with a dummy void in hearts.

 

Hand c is the only hand where the bid is different if your RHO passes. In c) you would pass.

 

Bye the bye, if your partner is the doubler and is redoubled, then - if you bid, it is not a free bid, discuss this with your partner. Let us give you.

♠ x x x  ♥ x x x x    ♦ x x x  ♣ x x x

Your partner is going to bid spades; your pass says you are weak weak weak.
Your partner is going to be doubled.
If you bid spades, they will think you have a fit and may not wish to double, your partner must realise that this is a probability / possibility.

How about

♠  x   ♥ x x x x    ♦ x x ♣ x x x x x x
You must bid 2C, you must tell partner not to bid on.

 

I said at the beginning that a redouble by you promises another bid. So

            -           1H       x          xx,

            Pass     Pass     2C       ?

You promised your partner another bid so a pass here from you says, I still do not like your hearts, I really hoped they would bid another suit, I do not know where best to play. Partner with 13 points, 5 hearts and 5 clubs will double for penalties. With 15 points will bid 3NT with a double stop in clubs or will bid 3 clubs to find out more.

Too Adventurous

Dlr:

South

Vul:

E/W

 

♠  87

 A875

 QJ76

♣ AJ8

 

 

W
e
s
t

North

E
a
s
t

19

South

 

 

 

12

 

13

 

3

 

12

 

 

♠ AQ5

 K9642

 --

♣ K10752

 

 

Wednesday Night, Hand 19 and I am looking for some sympathy.

As South, I open 1   and West doubles that. Partner bids 2NT, which agrees Hearts and we play it as essentially a game force. Although it looks as if the Spade will be wrong for us, I decide to cue bid with 3♠  . Partner now bids 4♣   and I am now very interested in a slam. I ask and find my partner has two aces, so hopefully no wasted points in diamonds and I bid 6  .

The Diamond A is led which I ruff. Now what I would like is trump to split 2 - 2, but do not mind if they are 1- 3 if the club Q is with West as part of her double. I want the hand play to go. Two rounds of trump, followed immediately by the club finesse. Then the Club A, small to the K and continue the clubs discarding one spade and one diamond from dummy.

Now play the spade A, and cross ruff the hand for thirteen tricks. If the hearts are 1 - 3 then I have to lose one heart.

Why do I need your sympathy? The hearts broke 0 - 4. The only remaining mistery is, why did East, with Q J 10 3 not double?

Punishing Declarer's Mistakes

Hand 25 Wednesday, 17th July.

 

The bidding is simple, North pass; East with 13 points and a flat hand opens 1NT. As South, you lead   4 and the trick goes 4, 6, 5 and 8.

Dlr: North
Vul: E/W
   
spade9
heart76
diamondJ8732
clubAQ643
W
e
s
t
North E
a
s
t
25
South
 
 
spadeKJ6
heartAJ942
diamondK5
clubJ109
 

Declarer now plays  6, you dare not duck so, you play  K and the trick is completed with 2 and 4, from your partner. What now?

The heart three is missing; declarer would have won in dummy if he had it, and so your partner has shown two.

Your partner played  4, and should have three diamonds, or Q x, or A x of diamonds. Declarer has 12 - 14 points. of which 5 are in hearts., If he has the club K then he has 5 club tricks. (He has at least two clubs and thus your partner has at the most three.) Therefore, he has 5 club tricks, at least two hearts and by the look of things, some diamond tricks. Your partner has room for about seven points. None in hearts and if we are right about clubs none in clubs, so Unless declarer opened 1NT with 5 spades, your partner has at least 5 spades with at least one honour, Playing your spades from the top might net the defence 5 spades, one diamond and one heart for one off.

You know declarer has 4 hearts and suspect three diamonds and therefore 6 black cards.

This most likely way to stop declarer making his contract is to stop him making lots of minor tricks.

It is time to assume your partner has ♣ K.

You must hope declarer has blocked the diamond suit and you must now attack his entries.

You play the ♣ J, declarer tries the Q, your partner plays the K and returns the  3. You take the Q with the A and continue with the ♣ 10. The complete deal;

Dlr: North
Vul: E/W
spadeA10532
heart53
diamond1094
clubK85
 
spade9
heart76
diamondJ8732
clubAQ643
W
e
s
t
North E
a
s
t
25
South
spadeQ874
heartKQ108
diamondAQ6
club72
  7  
7   13
  13  
spadeKJ6
heartAJ942
diamondK5
clubJ109
  club diamond heart spade N
N - - 2 3 1
S - - 2 3 1
E 2 2 - - -
W 1 2 - - -

 

Dealer eventually loses two clubs, one diamond, two hearts, and three spades, for two off

As East, you would not have made the same mistake. At rick two you would have led the Q not the 6, or indeed the A followed by the Q.

An Easy Hand for 2017

Here is a very simple hand from the Bermuda Bowl 2003, Italy v USA.
USA played in four hearts, 2 down and Italy played in 3NT making. I have a programme called Jack, that plays bridge, and I, as South played in four hearts.

The bidding was -

            West                North               East                 South
            P                      1♠                     P                      2 
            P                      2NT (15 -17)       P                      4  (With 6 : - my rule is play in the major

                                    ♠  A K Q 4
                                      Q 5
                                      Q 7 6
                                    ♣  K J 8 7

                                    ♠  9 6
                                      A K J 5 3 2
                                      3 2
                                    ♣  10 5 2

The lead was the  A and East played the 8. West now switched to a ♠ . When the ♠ A wins in dummy, you breath a sigh of relief. You play  Q and when all follow you have six hearts, three spades and all you need is one trick from the minors.
Draw trump, your RHO having started with 4. Now a spade to the table and a third spade discarding the last diamond from hand leaving this position.

                                    ♠ 
                                     
                                      Q 7
                                    ♣  K J 8 7

                                    ♠ 
                                      5 3
                                     
                                    ♣  10 5 2
What now?
You have lost one trick and you might make 11 if the ♣ Q is with East.
A no risk play?
However if you ruff a diamond and play the Club, you will get a third diamond returned and when the opposition get in with a second club they will take the fourth diamond as you have no trumps left.
The answer is to play the K or the J off the table while you still have two trumps. You only need one club trick from K, J or 10.

The East West cards were -

♠  J 10 8 5 3 2                          ♠  7
  7                                            10 9 8 4
  A K 9 4                                  J 10 8 5
♣  6 3                                       ♣  A Q 9 4

A club switch at trick two would have sunk declarer, but with six spades, it was tempting to try to find your partner with a void. East must be careful of his discards on the spades; he must discard two clubs before he knows that South is going to make a mistake, otherwise, when in with the second spade he will have only a club left.
I think East is the hardest hand to play.

Deal 23 Wed 7th December

Dlr:

South

Vul:

All

 
♠ 10 6 4 3
♥ A K 6
♦ J 10 7
♣ K J 3

 

 

 
♠ A K J 8 2
♥ Q 7
♦ A Q 3 2
♣ 7 2

W
e
s
t

North

E
a
s
t

23

South

♠ 5
♦ 6 5 4
♣ Q 9 5
 
12
 
16
 
2
 
10
 
 
♠ Q 9 7
♥ J 2
♦ K 9 8
♣ A 10 8 6 4

 

 

Deal 23 from Wednesday 7th December

At our table, South opened 1♣! West overcalled 1♠. North decided that No trump looked the best place to settle and bid 2♠, a two way bid, with the first choice asking if partner could help stopping the spades. East passed.

South bid 2NT and North finished with 3NT and you might think South is going to get everything he deserves.

West started with the ♠A and studied his partner's 5. West can tell it is a singleton or from three, i.e. not a peter.  He can create five tricks for his side by continuing with K and then small. The trouble is from his point of view that is giving declarer a trick, and he may well have eight tricks in hearts and clubs, so West decided to switch to a diamond, ♦2 - 7 - 4 and 8.

Now we will sit in south's seat. If west, has all the outstanding points, which is 18, then why are we not doubled? Clearly East has no spades left so if he gets in: - a diamond will come through, losing two spades, three diamonds and a club for minus 200 and a clear bottom.

In addition, it appears West started with a 5, 4, x, y distribution. He is likely to be in some difficulty on the run of clubs. Thus, a club to the K, and then play the ♣J and run it.

When that stands up, we may be only one off. We run the clubs, on the third club west has to find a discard and ♠2 seems not unreasonable. On the fourth club, things get tight. If West throws a diamond, then declarer plays the last club, two rounds of hearts and exits with a diamond to lose a total of two diamonds and two spades. If West throws a spade, North throws a heart.

The fifth club and West can throw a heart and north a diamond. We have -

Dlr:

South

Vul:

All

 
♠ 10 6 4
♥ A K
♦ J
♣ 

 

 

 
♠  K J
♥ Q
♦ A Q 3
♣ 

W
e
s
t

North

E
a
s
t

23

South

 
♠ 
♥ immaterial
♦ 
♣ 
 
12
 
16
 
2
 
10
 
 
♠ Q 9
♥ J 2
♦ K 9  
♣ 

 

Now two rounds of hearts, if west throws a spade you exit with a spade and make 10 tricks, if a diamond exiting in either suit gets you the ninth trick.