Our new 12-week program of Bridge continued this week with another successful evening. Thanks to everyone who came along and especially to those people who had never played in a club before.
Sally lead a four-table Mini-Bridge session for a mix of complete beginners, rusty returners and some more experienced helpers. Meanwhile, there was a ten-table Mitchell movement of friendly, relaxed Bridge for everyone else.
To see the full results and the hands click HERE. For Sally's commentary on Board 4, see below.
Next week - 7th April - will be No Trumps, see HERE for more information.
Board 4 - A race between declarer and defence! Everyone played this in spades, some in 3S and some in 4S, with a mixture of success, mostly making 10 or 9 tricks.
I think a likely auction could be:
East is slightly on the weak side to bid 2H, I do like to keep my 2 level responses up to 10+ points if possible, so I think 1NT is the right bid here. This response is not always a classic NT type shape, it's sometimes referred to as the 'bucket bid' or the 'dustbin bid' because you just throw all the hands into this bid if you have 6-9 points but cannot respond with a suit at the 1 level.
And W is strong enough with that lovely S suit to want to have a crack at game, even if partner is minimum.
So now the play... and also the defence... The 10D lead looks good, top of a sequence, a nice safe lead here. Dummy goes down and declarer hopefully has a think and counts up winners and losers. Always the first step as soon as dummy goes down. Here, winners look quite promising - 7S, 1D, 2C and potential for 1H too, if the AH is nicely placed in the N hand - the 2C tricks might need a bit of thought, but we'll come back to them...
Losers could be more of a worry unfortunately. Definitely 1D and 1C, and the worry is if S has the AH, then we have 2H losers.
When we're in this situation, with a discrepancy between our winners and losers (10 winners + 4 losers does not equal 13 tricks!), then there can generally be a way in which declarer can get rid of a loser - if he can do it before the defence take their 4 tricks to stop him. And here, the answer for declarer could lie in the C suit. Once the AC has been taken, declarer has the QC and then the KC on dummy still to take, if he can get over to that KC then it would allow him to discard a H loser - bingo, we're down to 10 winners and 3 losers. But it becomes a bit of a race, which side will get their tricks first?
So, S wins the opening lead with the AD, and most likely continues with a D here. Declarer wins this and gets going with that C suit, playing the QC. N will win this with the AC and now has to decide what to do. He can count up that all the Ds have gone, so continuing with that suit does not look like a good plan, perhaps giving declarer the chance for a 'ruff and discard' (when both declarer and dummy are out of a suit then it can be very helpful to be able to ruff in one hand and discard from the other, here ruffing in dummy with 9S and discarding a H from W). If N decides on another C or a S then declarer can also make this contract. If it's a C then declarer wins in his hand and plays AS and a small spade over to dummy's 9S - the only way to get over to dummy to make that KC. Then takes the KC discarding the H. If N plays a trump, then the same plan, declarer wins the AS, takes the JC before playing a low S to dummy's 9S again, exactly the same.
You can see the only way N can defeat this contract is to switch to a H and take their 2H tricks immediately. Often in defence it is right to sit back, not open up new suits, make declarer do all the work - in other words, be very passive. But on this hand, it's important to be more attacking and get your tricks quickly before it's too late. Very much a race between declarer and defence.