Spade Heart Hayling Island Bridge Club Diamond Club
Play Problem 014
Play Problem 014 - contributed by Graham Broadbent

Not so much a play problem as a test of bidding and defence. This hand was Board 23 at Emsworth on Tuesday. 


Sitting South, both vulnerable and first to bid, I picked up: ♠ KJ84, AJ8,K105, ♣ Q106.  A good 14 count and right at the top of my 1NT range, I opened 1 NT and, with the opponents silent throughout, my partner responded 3 Clubs.

We play a jump to 3 of a minor after a 1NT opening as a mild slam try in that minor.   My hand can hardly be any better, right at the top of the range and ♣ Q106 looks gold dust.   I asked for aces and when partner showed 2, I decided to play in 6NT to protect whichever of my Kings might otherwise be exposed.


The 9 of Spades was played from the table and East contributed the 2!   Clearly West held all the top Spades so the suit was a lost cause.    With one trick in each major and 7 Clubs I needed to find the Queen of Diamonds for my contract.


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Bidding

On the night no one else found a slam.  Two pairs played in Clubs, three played in 3NT and one enterprising soul played in a Heart part-score by E/W!


Do you and your regular partner have a method of dealing with strong minor suit hands after partner has opened 1NT?


Contract 6NT by South - 7 of Spades led
(to see all the hands, click the 'Show All Hands' box under the bidding box.)



I started with 7 rounds of Clubs and watched the discards. West calmly parted with 3 diamonds for his first three, then a couple of Hearts.  East parted with 4 Hearts before starting to squirm, eventually throwing a 5th Heart and then the 7 of Diamonds.  West showed out on the Ace of Diamonds and I picked up the Queen to make 4 tricks in the suit.

Result 6NT plus 1.


DEFENCE

West was being greedy, trying to hold on to all his spades in the forlorn hope of making them all.  If declarer doesn’t claim straight away West should reason that the defence have a potential Diamond winner, so his job is to conceal the Diamond position.


Look what happens if he simply throws 5 Spades away, keeping the Ace.  East must play as she did, keeping ♠ 6
KQ Q9 but now declarer thinks, “West is hanging on to his Diamonds, I will finesse through him”.   Result 6NT one off!


When you have to discard on a long suit, count how many cards you are going to have to part with and decide what you really need to keep, not what you would like to keep.