SpadeHeart 
Beaumont Bridge Club
 DiamondClub
Release 2.19n
Bulletin

Check out "useful Links" for the websites of  The Contract Bridge Association of Ireland (cbai.ie) and the Dublin North Region (dnrbridge.com)

Recent Updates
Home Page
8th May 2021 19:04 BST
Practice Hands
8th May 2021 18:43 BST
0 0 0 0 0 0
Pages viewed in 2021
Practice Hands
WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 27

Sun 20th Sept.

Previous Hands in 'Practice Hands'

The Alcatraz Death Row Bridge Club played to a very high standard. This story revolves around a character by the name of Creepy Cleghorn. Creepy was known all over the USA as the man who admitted to the murders of 15 people, but in the Alcatraz Bridge Club he was known as perhaps the best bridge player to have passed through its gates. Indeed, he was referred to as "The Bridgeman of Alcatraz"

The Bridge Club prided itself on its high ethical standards, it was unheard of for a player to ever criticise his partner. "Just as well they don't allow husbands and wives in here," Spider McCoy often joked.

Creepy was partnered, in the Annual 4th of July Open Gala, with Charlie ("Chainsaw" Charlie) Mulrooney. This was not a match made in heaven. Many people put the source of their rivalry down to the regular beatings Creepy gave Chainsaw in two-handed German Whist. Chainsaw put this down to the bad run he got in the distribution of trumps. This bad run of luck had lasted 15 years, but fellow players thought it unwise to mention this to Charlie.

They were defending against 3NT against Rusty "Razor"Sharpe and Thumbscrew Brannigan.

Chainsaw led the 3♥ , Rusty (Declarer) played low from Dummy, Creepy inserted the 10 and Rusty played the ♥ A. Rusty saw that he only had two Heart winners and thought it might be wise to get rid of the Ace early. Rusty then ran the Q♦ which lost to Creepy's K♦ .

Creepy then played back a Heart. Declarer played low and Chainsaw went up with the K♥. Thumbscrew later maintained that he heard Creepy groan at this stage. Chainsaw then played a club, won by Declarer in hand. He then played a Diamond to the Ace and another Diamond, won by Creepy with the J♦.

In desperation Creepy played a Spade, finessed by Declarer. He then played the J♥ and overtook it with the Q♥, congratulating himself on having earlier played the Ace.

Declarer ended up with the 2 Spades, 2 Hearts, 4 Diamonds and 2 Clubs for a score of Plus one.

"You gave them an overtrick when you played a Spade," said Chainsaw, "I'm surprised you made such a careless play".

"Chainsaw, you are a complete idiot, and the worst bridge player in this club since Spider McCoy's sad demise. All you had to do was duck the Heart I played back to you and let him win on the table. Was it not obvious that we needed to knock the Q♥ off the table before Diamonds were established. Duck the Heart or, if you played it, play another Heart immediately and he wins only 1 Diamond, not 4?"

"I played the King because I assumed that if I let him onto the table all those Diamonds were winners, how was I to know that you had another winner in Diamonds?," said Chainsaw. "If you were as clever as you think you are you wouldn't be in this place," he continued.

"You should have realised that if I didn't have another Diamond our defense was doomed anyway so you needed proceed on this basis and  knock out the Q♥ immediately. And besides, the only reason I'm here is because my ever-loving wife, Phillis, persuaded me to admit my crimes for my inner peace," said Creepy.

"She only did that," replied Chainsaw, "because rumour had it that she  had an eye for Rupert Salsinger"

Creepy lunged over the table and landed a right hook on Chainsaw's chin. Chainsaw replied with a chop to the neck.

"How dare you besmirch my wife's good name, Phillis gave Rupert's advances the brush off. He won't bother her again, as he's now swimming with the fishes," said Creepy.

The wrestling match continued for some time.

"We didn't expect such early fireworks on the 4th July," said Rusty to Thumbscrew.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 26

Wed 9th Sept.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are South in 4 Spades and West leads the Q♣. How should you play the hand?

 

 

South see 3 possible Heart losers and a possible Spade loser.

South may plan to play a Spade to the King and a Spade back to the Ace, after winning the first trick in his hand.

The normal play with 9 trumps, including the Ace, King and Jack, is to play out both top cards and hope that the Queen falls.

The danger of playing that way, in this hand, is that East may have 3 to the Queen. Thus, when you then play on Diamonds East may ruff one before you can discard a Heart on the 4th Diamond. He will then play a Heart through your K and you may lose 3 more trick for down one.

Therefore, at trick 3, South should not play the Ace but finesse the J♠.

Even if this loses to the Doubleton Q♠ Declarer is still in full control. He is not concerned if West plays a Heart.

He can win any return, take out the remaining trump and then play on Diamonds, discarding a Heart on the 4th Diamond.

This way he only losses a Spade and 2 Hearts.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 25

Tues 25th Aug.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You're in 3NT  and West leads a Heart.

You play low from Dummy and East wins with the K and then knocks out your A .

How should you continue?

You have 8 clear tricks. The question is how to develop the extra trick.

You have 2 possible options. 

You can play off 3 Diamond winners and hope for a 3-3 break and win a 4th Diamond.

Alternatively, you can play for the Club finesse.

If you play on the Diamonds and they fail to break you cannot then return to Dummy to try the Club finesse.

On the other hand, if you play for the finesse and it fails you are going to take a pounding in Hearts.

Which should you go for?

This is where a basic knowledge of the percentages is useful.

The chances of the Club finesse working is 50%, while the likelihood of the 3-3 split in Diamonds is only 36%!

So, the best approach is to try for the club finesse and hope for the best!

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 24

Fri.14th. Aug.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are in 2NT and West leads a Spade. You play low from Dummy and East wins with the A♠. 

How do you proceed to make 8 tricks?

Many of us would casually throw a small Spade on the first trick and then win the Spade continuation with the K♠.

If so, too late - your goose is cooked!

Let's look at the hand from the start. You can win 2 Spades, a Heart and a Club.

Therefore, you need 4 Diamonds to make the contract.

Entries to Dummy are limited. You need to get across twice, once to knock out the A and the second occasion to cash the good Diamonds.

If you play the K♠ on the second Spade you will have to play the J♠ on it. You then only have the Q♠ as an entry to Dummy. You will not be able to cash the Diamonds after the A has been knocked out!

The answer to the problem is to play the K♠ on the first trick under East's Ace! 

Now you have the Q♠ AND the J♠ as entries to Dummy to make the contract.

All very straight forward if you take a moment to plan your play at the start!

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 23

Sun 2nd Aug.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are in 6♠ after East opened the bidding 3♦. West leads a Heart.

 How do you plan to make 12 tricks?

The crucial piece of information you have immediately is that West did not lead a Diamond after East's 3♦ bid. It is reasonable to assume she doesn't have any Diamonds.

The best way to play the hand, after winning the opening Heart, is to play off 3 rounds of Spades, play a Heart to the King and ruff a Heart. You now have no Hearts in your hand or on the table.

Play off the A♣ and K♣ and ruff a club on the table. You now have no Clubs in your hand or on the table.

You are now left with 1 Spade and 3 Diamonds in your hand and 1 Spade and 3 Diamonds on the table.

The vital play is now to play a low Diamond from the table. East can win with Q♦ but is then 'snookered'. You now know, for sure, that West did not have a Diamond.

If she plays a low Diamond, you win with the J♦. If she plays K♦ you win with the A♦ and your J♦ becomes a winner.

If, on the other hand, she leads back another suit you can ruff it on the table and throw away a Diamond from your hand.

Either way you end up with 12 tricks!

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 22

Tues 21st July.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

There are times when Bridge can drive you to drink.

Usually when we overbid our hand we get punished on the scoresheet. We console ourselves believing that the same will happen to our opponents when they similarly overbid their hand.

Have a look at this deal we played the other night. I had the East hand.

Why South opened the bidding with that hand is a mystery. He muttered things like "last hand of the night" and "you must bid competitively at Rubber Bridge" but I think it had more to do with the glass of Bailey's in his hand.

So, I had a perfect opening hand and by the time the bidding got to me it was already at 3 Diamonds.

If South's opening bid was out of the blue his rebid of 5D was purely due to the fact that it was his 2nd glass of Bailey's.

I might have been imprudent to Double with only 1 Diamond but it was made because of the smug look on South's face.

My partner lead a Club and South ruffed this, played a Diamond and ruffed a Heart. He they finessed the J♠, losing to the Queen. He won the Club continuation and ruffed another Heart. A Spade was lead to the A♠ and another Heart ruff.

He played another Spade and lost to the 10♠. He now had a winning Spade in his hand. He ruffed the Club again and ruffed his last Heart in Dummy.

He lost only two Spades.

North entered  in the score "100 for 5D, doubled is up to 200".

"Don't forget the 50 extra for the insult", said South, "and 700 for the 2-0 rubber, that's 950. Also, I think E/W had a game in 4 Hearts, that's 120 we denied them. A swing of almost 1,000. I think that deserves another glass of Bailey's"!

 

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 21

Sun 12th July.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

West leads the 4  against 3NT. 3  is played from Dummy. East plays the Q .

How should South play the hand?

Should she hold up on the first Heart?

It would be a mistake to Hold up on the Q. If East then played another Heart knocking out the Aand West got in later with the K♠, she would then run off the remaining Hearts. the 10 on the table would be useless.

If South takes the A immediately the 10 prevents West from running the Hearts later.

South needs 3 Spade tricks to make the contract. The problem is that there is only one obvious entry to Dummy with the A♣. South needs to play the Clubs carefully.

After winning the first Heart she should play the A♠ and then the J♣ overtaking it with the A♣. Then she plays Spades. West can take the K♠ immediately and if she plays off the K and J the 10 on the table becomes a winner. West can play a Diamond to South's Ace. South then continues with the Clubs, hoping that they break 3-2. If so, Declarer can now play the 2♣ and win on the table with the 4♣. She now can play off her winning Spades.

She wins 3 Spades tricks; at least 1 Heart trick; 1 Diamond and 4 Clubs.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 20

Thurs 2nd July.

Previous hand  in 'Practice Hands'

This is a hand we played in the house the other night.

Due to some strange bidding South got into 6D.

West led the K.

How did South do?

South won the Heart with the Ace and played two rounds of Diamonds ending in his hand. He played the J♠, covered by West with the K♠ and taken on the table with the A♠. 

South continued with the Q♠ and 10♠ discarding two Clubs from his hand and then played the 8♠, covered by East with the 9♠ and ruffed by Declarer. 

He returned to the table with a Diamond and played off the 7♠ discarding a Heart.

He lost a Club to the Ace and could ruff his last Heart on the table, losing only a Club!

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 19

Tues 23th June.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You're in 3NT and West leads the 5♠.

Plan your play.

This is a good lead for you. You can take the Q♠ with the Ace and still have another Spade winner for later on.

You must decide whether to attack the Hearts or the Clubs.

You can cash the K♣ and A♣ and then lose a club and hope they break 3-3 and then return to Dummy with one of your hearts.

If Clubs break 4-2 you will not be able to get 3 Club winners to go with 3 Hearts, 2 Spades and 1 Diamond.

Alternatively, you can hope to win 4 Heart tricks. This is possible if East started with the K.

The chances of finding East with the K are greater than getting a 3-3 club break.

So, at trick 2 cross to the table with the A♣ .

But you must be careful with how you play the Hearts. If you first play the J and it wins and then play the 9 you will then find yourself playing from your hand and unable to win with both the A and Q.

You must first play the 9 and play low from your hand, then play the J and also let it run. You will now be able to play a 3rd Heart from the table and trap the K.

You win 2 Spades, 4 Hearts, 1 Diamond and 2 Clubs.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 18

Sat 13th June.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are sitting East and partner has led the K♠ after your overcall of 1 Spade. South is in 3NT.

You play low on the K♠ and partner continues with the Q♠.

How should you play?

You must assume that South has the J♠ for his 2NT bid over your 1♠, otherwise he had only the ♠6,5 and 4 in his hand, most unlikely.

Therefore, you should overtake the Q♠ with the A♠ and then knock out the J♠. 

Declarer must eventually play a Club and you win with A♣ and play off your 2 winning Spades. 

Go up immediately with the A♣ if he plays from the table, otherwise he'll win with the K♣ and make his contract

You win 4 Spades and a Club for one down.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 17

Sun 7th June.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

This is a hand we dealt the other night in the house. South got to 3NT. 

West led the J.

Plan the play.

Declarer won the J with the Q and played the 9♠ and another Spade. West had to eventually take the A♠ and then played the 10 which Declarer ducked and won the next Heart. He then played a Diamond to the J which lost to the K. Now, this is where Declarer ducking the Heart paid dividends. East did not have another Heart to play back to West.

Let's say that East plays back a Diamond. Declarer will now cash his remaining Spades and can now play a Club, confident that the Q♣ will win, for he knows that West started with 5 Hearts to the K and  J and also the A♠, yet he did not bid, therefore he does not have the A♣! The Q can be cashed and Declarer ends up winning 4 Spades, 2 Hearts, 2 Diamonds and 1 Club.

Declarer has asked me not to mention his name (he's a very modest chap, is Andrew).

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-ENJOY THIS- HAND NO. 16

Let me recount to you the story of the Alcatraz Death Row Bridge Club. Many of you will think this is a work of fiction but I'm reliably informed that it took place in the summer of '59. The story revolves around a character by the name of Creepy Cleghorn. Creepy was known all over the USA as the man who admitted to the murders of 15 people, but in the Alcatraz Bridge Club he was known as perhaps the best bridge player to have passed through its gates. Indeed, he was referred to as "The Bridgeman of Alcatraz"

The Bridge Club prided itself on its high ethical standards, it was unheard of for a player to ever criticise his partner.

The popular story recounts that Creepy was sitting East against the contract of 6NT. North had repeatedly bid his Clubs. Creepy's partner, Spider McCoy, lead the Q♥. Declarer won in hand and immediately played the 4♣ and finessed the Q♣. As cool as you like, Creepy played the 3♣. Declarer, delighted with his success, placed West with the missing K♣ and came back to hand with a Spade and planned to repeat the finesses. He was now confident of making 7NT. 

Creepy had other ideas. He was hoping Declarer had only two Clubs and when he repeated the finesse and it lost to the K♣ that would be the end of Dummy's clubs, as there was no other entry.

Before Declarer played another Club he decided to play off his winning Spades. On the 4th Spade West discarded a Diamond and on the 5th Spade he discarded the 7♣. Declared looked at this in amazement. Now West was leaving his K♣ to fall in front of the A♣. So declarer now played the 9♣ and West discarded a Heart. Declarer was dumbfounded. It took him only a moment to realise that it was East who had the K♣ and Creepy was playing very cleverly indeed. Declarer reached for the A♣ and as he did so he turned to Creepy and chuckled. Before he had time to table the Ace, however, Creepy jumped up, leaped across the table and grabbed Spider by the throat and strangled him!

His trial took place the next day. On the bench was the infamous mass murderer Charlie (Chainsaw Charlie) Mulrooney. Creepy's legal team was lead by Rusty Sharpe, known to one and all as Rusty "Razor" Sharpe. Rusty explained to the jury Creepy's cunning plan. "This was a brilliant play" Rusty said, "only spoiled by Spider carelessly discarding the 7♣. He let the cat out of the bag. He should have known that East had the K♣, for if Declarer had it, he would surely have played it at the first opportunity. We are very sorry for Spider's family and friends, but his loss at the bridge table will not be mourned".

The judge charged the jury to very carefully consider their verdict and he concluded "violence at the bridge table was something that no civilised society could tolerate".

Rusty was immediately on his feet objecting, "Chainsaw" he said, "I feel that you are trying to direct the jury to a guilty verdict. Would this have anything to do with the fact that for 15 years you have never beaten Creepy at two-handed German Whist?

"How dare you suggest such a thing" said the judge, "and I'll thank you to address me as "Your Honour". I've a good mind to hold you in contempt and put you in the custody of Thumbscrew Brannigan".

The jury were out for only 2 minutes. Before the judge could ask for a verdict, the foreman, Nubbsy Taylor, shouted out, "Justifiable homicide, innocent, innocent, absolutely innocent".

Well, Creepy's supporters were ecstatic. As he was carried shoulder-high out of the court room, he was met by the Governor. "Ah Creepy, just the man I've been looking for, we have a chair awaiting you down in the basement" the Governor said.

"That's perfectly fine Governor" said Creepy, "can you tell me if I'm sitting North, South, East or West?"

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 15

Sun. 24th May.

You are South in 4 Spades on the bidding shown, West leads the Q

You win with the K in your hand and play the A♠, West plays the Q♠.

What should you do next?

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You know that you have 2 Diamond losers and therefore can only afford to lose one trump.

Do you believe that West had the singleton Q♠?

The correct play is to go over to the A and play 5♠. If East goes up with the 7♠ you play the 9♠, knowing that you are safe.

If the 9♠ loses to either the J♠ or 10♠ then trumps break 3-2 so all's well, you will lose only one Spade.

Here the 9♠ wins.

If East had played one of his high Spades on your 5♠ then go up with K♠, then go back to Dummy with a Club and play another Spade. If he now plays low go up with the 9♠ and leave him with his J♠ winner.

(Do not waste a trump in your hand and a trump in Dummy taking out his winning trump.)

Now play off your clubs. East can ruff when ever he wishes, but he can't stop you from making your contract.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 14

Sun. 17th May.

West leads the 2 against your 3NT.

You can count 3 Spade winners and 1 Heart winner. From West's lead you can tell that she has 4 Hearts.

You need 5 tricks in the Minor suits. This can consist of 4 Diamonds and 1 Club or 3 Diamonds and 2 Clubs if the club finesse works out.

But remember, you have only one entry to Dummy.

Good Luck!

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

Firstly, let us consider the Diamond finesse.

Cross to Dummy with the A♠ and finesse the J . If it wins you cannot return to Dummy to take another finesse. Even if you play off the A and the K falls, this would mean that the other opponent started with 4 Diamonds, so you can only make 3 Diamonds. Now you cannot try the Club finesse, you wasted the entry to Dummy!

Keep the entry to Dummy for the Club finesse.

At trick 2 play off the A and another Diamond. West will win and play her 3 winning Hearts. You can win any return and continue with your Diamonds. Fortunately they break 3-3. Now cross to Dummy with the A♠ and play a small Club, cross your fingers and finesse the Q♣.

You are fortunate that the finesse works out and also that the Diamonds break nicely, but no other approach is going to work!

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 13

Mon. 11th May.

You are in 4 Spades after West has opened the bidding 3 Hearts. 

West leads the K.

How can you guarantee the contract?

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

Be very careful here! 

You must avoid playing the A on the first trick. You know that East has a Heart void from the bidding. If you go up with at A and East ruffs you will lose 2 Hearts, 1 Club and all will depend on the Diamond finesse.

Hold up on the first two Hearts and ruff the 3rd round.

Play 3 rounds of Spades and a Diamond to the K and try the J finesse on the way back. It loses but you are now safe. If West plays a Club play the A♣ and now play the A and throw your small club from hand.

You only lose 2 Hearts and a Diamond.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 10

Sat. 25th. April.

This is a hand we played the other night. Three of us in the house and the other 5km away on Zoom.

No doubt the experts would raise an eyebrow or two at South's second bid of 2♥, on the other hand, I'm not even sure anybody is even reading this not to mention an expert!

They eventually reached 6 via Blackwood. No doubt South thought that the slam was heading for 6 and expected his partner to pass his bid of 6, showing one King. You can imagine his surprise (shock?) when he's put  in 6 and his best Heart is the 7!

West lead the J♠. How did South make his Slam?

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

South won the opening lead with the A♠ on the table and played off 3 rounds of Trumps ending in Dummy. He then played K and another Diamond. He rightly rejected the J finesse (to do so would mean the contract going down) and he played the A. He next played the K♠ and discarded a Diamond from the table. This enabled him to ruff a third Diamond with 8♥,  felling West's Q at the same time. He returned to hand with the A♣ and played off his two winning Diamonds. He lost only a Club to the K♣ .

Well played South and well bid!

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 9

Tues 21st. April.

You are South in 3NT and West leads the J♠

Plan your play to win 9 tricks.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You can count 2 certain Spade winners; one or two Heart winners; 2 Diamond winners and hopefully 4 Club winners.

You can win the opening lead on the table with the K♠.  At trick 2 you play a small club from Dummy, East puts up a small one and you win with the Q♣ . You return to Dummy with a Diamond and play another Club. East plays the 9♣  and you win with the J♣ , West shows out. Now you know East has the K♣ and 10♣. 

Now you play A♣ and the 5♣ and East wins with the K♣. East can play a Spade but you win in hand and play the 2♣. You must now avoid the Heart finesse. If it loses to the East's K♥, she'll play another Spade and the contract will go down. Play off the A and K to make 2 Spades; 1 Heart; 2 Diamonds and 4 Clubs.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 8

You are in 4♠ and West leads the 6, you play low in Dummy and East puts up the 10 which you win with the K.

You see you could possibly lose 1♠ ;2 and 1♣ . Plan your play.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

 You intend to discard a Heart on the K♦ at some stage.

If you try the Club finesse, hoping to win with the Q♣ and then to finesse the Q♠ on the way back you will go down. East will win with the K♣ and play off the A and Q and you still have the K♠ to lose. Even if you go over to the A♣ at trick 2 and finesse the Spade you go down, West will win and play back a Heart to the East's Ace and Queen. AND you still have the K♣ to lose. Therefore avoid this approach.

At trick 2 play off the A, then cross to the A♣ and now play the K and discard a Heart from hand. You can now try the Spade finesse. It loses to West's King who will now play back a Heart. East wins with the A and plays the Q . Be careful to ruff this high as West still has the 8♠. You can now draw the remaining trumps and lose only 1 Spade, 1 Heart and 1 Club. 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING - TRY THIS - HAND No. 7

Your partner opens 1NT, your right hand opponent doubles. You feel that you should just take it out into 2♠ and await any bid by your left hand opponent. But it has been a bad night, things have not gone well for your partner and even worse for you. So you decide that you might as well be "hung for a sheep as a lamb" and bid 4♠ , doubled (unsurprisingly) by East.

West leads the 2♣ and you suddenly regret your competitive spirit as you see that you might lose 2 Spades; 2 Hearts and possibly 2 Diamonds.

Undeterred you cross your fingers and  put up the 10♣ and it wins the first trick.

How should you continue?

(Previous hands in 'Practice Hands' from Left menu.)

After winning with the 10♣ you should play the A♣ and discard the 5♥. Then play the Q♣ and, delighted that East does not ruff, discard the Q♥. This is the crucial play, letting West win with his K♣ .

West can now play a Heart, but it's too late. You can ruff East's A .

Noting that the two clubs in Dummy are now winners you should not consider the Diamond finesse at any stage. 

(If West had played back a Diamond you just cover it with the 9 ).

Best now to play the A♠ and another Spade. East wins but that's her last trick. If she plays back a Heart, ruff it, cross over to the A and discard your 2 remaining Diamonds on the J♣  and 6♣ .

4 Spades +1 x. You lose only to the K♣  and A♠ and if that's not a Top you should just give up and go to Bingo the following week!

 

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING TRY THIS - HAND NO. 6

This time you're East defending against 3NT and your partner leads the  9.

You win this with the  A and get ready to lead back a ♥, hoping partner has the  K and you'll have 5 winners before South has a chance to take all his winners.

But, experienced player that you are, you pause and evaluate the situation.

It dawns on you that partner is unlikely to have the  K from South's strong bidding, indeed partner might have no points at all. Also, if partner has the K then South bid 3NT on 2 or 3 useless Hearts.

So, after due consideration, you come up with a devilishly, devious, cunning plan.

What do you do next?

(Previous hands in 'Practice Hands' from Left menu.)

 Having decided that West is unlikely to have the K you hope that both Declarer and Partner might each have a singleton Diamond !

So you decide to knock out the ♠ A from Dummy by playing the ♠ K! Play another one if Declarer does not take the Ace immediately.

Now, if Declarer plays to the A, he can never get back to all those Diamonds! The best he can do after taking the ♠ A is play a Spade towards the ♠ Q and win 2♠ ; 1 ; 1 ; and 3♣ for 2 down.

If you play back a Heart at trick 2, declarer will win with  K, play  A and cross to ♠ A and play off 6 winning Diamonds . He'll make 12 tricks.

BUT OF COURSE, if Declarer has the 2 remaining Diamonds, this strategy will not work. He will be able to get back to the table. Then there will be plenty of discarding from you and your partner.

Just hope that, during this discarding, partner doesn't slam down the  K and glare at you over the table!!

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 47

Thurs 1st. Apr.

Previous Hands in 'Practice Hands'

We played this hand the other night and it gives a good demonstration of the defence working together.

South was in 1NT  and West led the 3♦. East won this with the Q♦.

How did the game go from there?

East continues with the K♦ and the 10♦ and West overtook with the J♦ and played off the A♦.

East discarded the 10♥ on West's last Diamond. This was Suit Preference, asking for a Spade.

East obliged with the 3♠ , the K♠ was played from Dummy and East won with the A♠ and returned the J♠. 

This was won in Dummy with the Q♠. Declarer next tried the Heart finesse but it lost the Q♥.

Back came another Spade for East to cash his 3 remaining winners. South ended up winning just Q♠, 2 Hearts and the A♣ for 1NT - 3.

Note that Declarer could have made it more difficult for the defence by playing low on the 2nd Spade and taking the 3rd Spade. 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 40

Thurs 4th Feb.

Previous Hands in 'Practice Hands'

This is a hand we played the other night.

I had the West hand in 4♥ and North led the 2♠.

How would you play the hand? (... because I made a bags of it.)

I could see a loser in both Diamonds and Clubs and a possible loser in Hearts, so I wanted to avoid a Spade loser.

If North's lead of the 2♠ was from his 4th best I was reasonably confident he had the Q♠ so I played the 10♠ from the table.

I got a surprise when South put up the Q♠ but not as big as the surprise I got when North ruffed the Spade return.

I had lost the first two tricks, won the Club played by North with my A♣, played off the A♥ and finessed the 10♥, losing to South's Q♥.

South returned a Club to North's K♣ and I still had to lose the A♦. I came in with just 8 tricks, down 2.

"Sorry partner," was all I could say.

"What were you up to?," he asked.

I explained to him that I thought I needed to avoid a Spade loser and that was why I finessed the Spade lead.

"I see," he said. "You do realise that if the Spade finesse was necessary, you could have won the Spade lead with the A♠, tested the Hearts and, if necessary, then played towards your K♠ and 10♠ to finesse?"

"I'm sorry," I said.

"What's more," he continued, "When you played the Hearts, it would have been better to play first to the K♥ on the table and then play the 10♥ and finesse around to North. This would ensure South could not win a Heart trick and lead back a Spade, in case North's 2♠ was a singleton. The Q♥ would have fallen and you would have avoided a Heart loser."

"I'm sorry"

"You then could have knocked out the A♦ and thrown your losing Club on the 4th Diamond".

"I'm sorry".

"That careless play of the 10♠ cost us 3 tricks, the game and the rubber".

"I'm really, really sorry"

Next hand Thurs 11th Feb.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 38

Fri. 15th Jan.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are in 4♠ and West leads the K♣, East overtakes with the A♣ and plays back the 8♣. You play the 6♣  West wins with the 10♣  and continues with the Q♣.

How should you continue?

You have already lost 2 Club tricks and the Heart finesse will lose if East has the Q♥. So you cannot afford to lose another Club trick.

You suspect, from the play to the first two tricks, that East started with a doubleton Club.

If you decide to ruff the Q♣ in Dummy, the danger is that East will overruff with the J♠, if she has it. Then all is reliant  on a successful Heart finesse.

The solution is not to ruff the Q♣  but throw a Heart from Dummy!

West will win the trick, but this will be their last trick.

You can win any return, take out trumps, win two Diamonds, 2 Hearts and then ruff your third Heart in Dummy.

You only lose the first 3 tricks.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 33

Mon 27th Nov.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are South  in 4 Spades after East opened the bidding 1 Club.

West leads the 3♣ and East wins the first two tricks with A♣ and K♣  and plays a third Club.

You ruff and play two rounds of Spades ending in your hand, East and West follow to both rounds.

You plan to finesse Hearts twice, hoping to make one of them. But it strikes you that, from the bidding, East probably has both the J♥ and the K♥.

Is there an alternative plan?

A better plan is to play off both the A♦ and K♦ and ruff a Diamond in dummy.

Ruff your last Club in hand.

Now, in your hand you have a Spade and 3 Hearts. Dummy, likewise, has a Spade and 3 Hearts. East has 3 Hearts and a Club.

It was vital to remove Clubs and Diamonds from both your hand and Dummy's.

You play a Heart from your hand and when West plays low you put up the 10♥. East wins, as you expected, but must then play back a Heart into your Ace and Queen of Hearts.

Alternatively, he must give you a ruff and discard by playing the Club.

Of course, if West had played the J♥ on your Heart lead from hand you play the Q♥. Again East wins (with the K this time) and has the same dilemma.

You lose only 2 Clubs and a Heart.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 31

Wed 4th Nov.

Previous Hands in 'Practice Hands'

We played this hand the other night. South reached 4 Hearts on bidding not worth repeating. However, West had opened the bidding 1 Spade.

West lead the A♦ and K♦ and played a third Diamond, ruffed by Declarer in hand.

He then play a Heart, won by West with the A♥. West then played a Club, taken by Declarer with his A♣.

He played another Heart up to the K♥, but on this, West showed out.  

This left East with the J♥ and 9♥, whereas Declarer had the Q♥, 10♥ and one other low heart. He had already lost 3 tricks and saw a trump loser if he now played off the Q♥.

So, he played off the K♣ and the Q♣ from Dummy, discarding a Spade from his hand. He then played his 4th Club. East knew that if he ruffed this Club South would overruff and then take out East's last trump, so he discarded a Spade. Declarer threw away another Spade from hand.

Declarer then played his 5th and last Club. Again, East discarded a Spade as Declarer discarded his last Spade.

At this stage South had 3 Hearts in his hand, Dummy had A♠, Q♠ and 3♠. East had Q♦, J♥ and 9♥.

When the A♠ was played from Dummy, East knew that if he ruffed he would not win a trick, so he discarded the Q♦. Declarer unfortunately, had to ruff it and then play from his hand, giving the final trick to East.

We studied the hand later (for 20 mins!) and decided that South had an alternative way to try to make the contract.

The solution (we think!) was for Declarer, after playing off the K♣ at trick 6, to reduce his holding of trumps to the same number as East. Therefore, he should next have ruffed a small club, rather than playing his winning Q♣!

Once he does this he has only two remaining trumps. He must now attempt the Spade finesse. When this wins he plays the Q♣. East cannot afford to ruff, so he discards a Spade. South, likewise, discards a Spade. The last club is played from Dummy. East discards the Q and South his last Spade.The last two cards in Dummy will be a A♠ and 3♠ . East and Declarer both have 2 trumps. When a Spade is played from Dummy, East must ruff and South can overruff and win the last trick. By reducing his trumps to only 2 South never has to play away from his hand until the 13th trick.

Simply if you have 20 mins to think about it.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 12

Tues 5th May.

You are in 3NT after the above bidding. West leads the 9♠.

You realise that you have limited access to Dummy.

Think for a moment what you should play from Dummy on the first trick.

What is your plan for making the contract?

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You know that you have 2 Spade winners no matter how you play them so let's see what happens if you, without a thought, go up with the J♠ (or Q♠ ) at the first trick.

East gives it a bit more thought and assumes that you have the A♠ for your 2NT bid. Therefore, knowing that you have 2 Spade winners decides to keep the K♠ for your Q♠. East plays low on the J♠ 

You then play the K. West might hold up on this and when you continue with  the Q and discard from hand she will put up the A

If she then plays the 8♠ you have a dilemma, if you play low, East will play the 10♠ (keeping the K♠ for your Q♠ ) and you win with the A♠. Now you will never get back to all those Hearts on the table! If, on the other hand you play the Q♠ East will play the K♠ and again, you will not get back to the table! You might eventually win 2 Spades, 1 Heart, 1 Diamond and 3 Clubs. 2 down!

We need to go back to Trick 1.

Let's see what happens if you play low from Dummy. It does not matter what East now does. You win with the A♠ and with the Q♠ and J♠ in Dummy you cannot be stopped from getting back to the table for all the Hearts.

You will win 2 Spades, 4 Hearts, 1 Diamond and 3 Clubs for 3 NT +1 all because you paused for a moment before playing to the first trick!

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 44

Thurs 4th Mar.

previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

Let me recount to you the story of the Alcatraz Death Row Bridge Club. Many of you will think this is a work of fiction but I'm reliably informed that it took place in the summer of '58. The story revolves around a character by the name of Creepy Cleghorn. Creepy was known all over the USA as the man who admitted to the murders of 15 people, but in the Alcatraz Bridge Club he was known as perhaps the best bridge player to have passed through its gates. Indeed, he was referred to as "The Bridgeman of Alcatraz"

The Bridge Club prided itself on its high ethical standards, it was unheard of for a player to ever criticise his partner or do anything underhand.

The occasion was the Annual Archibald Brannigan Trophy. The event was sponsored by the prison's executioner, Archibald "Sparky" Brannigan. "Isn't it the least I could do, after all, you lads have always been very good to me",  he said, "sure, where would I be without you?".

Creepy was partnering Rusty Razor Sharpe  and they were up against Creep's arch enemy, Charlie Chainsaw Mulrooney, and his partner Spider McCoy.

Charlie said he wouldn't go to the chair until he got the better of Creepy at the bridge table. He was already 15 years on Death Row with no success to date!

Charlie lead the Q♥ against 4 Spades.

How do you think Creepy went about it?

 

Creepy realised he could lose a Heart trick and 3 Diamond tricks if the A♦ was with West. So, his chances were 50-50 if he went for the finesse of the K♦. But Creepy hadn't got to where he was by leaving  anything to an even chance, except perhaps a race horse.

He though the Clubs might be a better chance. He would be able to discard a loser on a Club from Dummy if they broke 3-3 or 4-2 which Creepy knew was over 80%. He needed to be very careful of how he used his entries to Dummy.

After winning the opening Heart lead he played off the A♠. He then played the A♣ and K♣, noting that Charlie played the 6♣ then the Q♣. He next ruffed a Club with the 10♠, Charlie discarding a Heart.

He then played a low Spade to his 9♠ and again ruffed a Club, this time with J♠. His remaining Club on the table was now a winner. He played low to the K♠, thereby taking out West's last trump. He now played the 7♣ and discarded the Heart from his hand.

He then tried the K♦ finesse, which lost to the A♦ but he was able to ruff the Heart return with the Q♠. He lost only the 3 Diamond tricks.

When they entered the results in the Bridemates it came out as a 100% top. All previous 5 Souths had gone down one. It was clear they had relied on the K♦ finesse from the start.

"We did nothing wrong Spider, obviously some of the South players are of a very poor standard", said Charlie to Spider.

Now, Creepy was never one to lose an opportunity to stick the knife into Charlie (if he could get his hands on a knife).

"Well Charlie", he said, "if you had discarded your Q♣ on my first Club you may have set me on the wrong path. After all, it was going to be of no use to you. Had you played it I would probably have assumed it was a singleton and I wouldn't have played a second one, fearing you'd ruff it. I would then have relied on the the Diamond finesse and that would have been the end of my contract. Did you think of it Chainsaw?".

"Creepy, you're always very full of yourself", replied Charlie, "Someday you'll come crashing down with a mighty shock".

"Did I hear someone looking for my services?" shouted Sparky.

Next hand Thurs 11th Mar.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 43

Thurs 25th Feb.

Previous Hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are South in 3NT and West leads the 3♥ .

You realise that if West has the K♣ you can easily make the contract. However, you are concerned about you vulnerability in Spades.

How should you continue?

You should consider what will happen if the Club finesse loses.

East may play back a Spade. If this happens you will need a Diamond winner at some stage.

Let's say the finesse loses and a Spade comes back. You can play low from your hand once or even twice (it actually makes no difference).

You can play off your 4 winning Clubs but must then try for a Diamond winner. You play from Dummy towards your Diamonds. If East has the A♦ he will realise that at this late stage in the game he must attack. He will go up with the Ace and play off the winning Spade(s).

That sees your contract go down.

The important play is at trick 2. You should win the opening Heart lead in Dummy and immediately play a Diamond!

If East has the A♦ he will most likely play low at this early stage of the game. Even if East goes up with the Ace he may play back a Heart hoping partner has the Ace and catches your King.

If the K♦ wins you immediately try the Club finesse and if it loses there is no damage the opposition can do. You make at least 9 tricks.

Note that if West has K♣  playing a Diamond at trick 2 does no harm, even if it loses. But if East has the K♣ then winning a Diamond is essential and 'stealing' a trick is more likely to be successful early in the game rather than later on when the defence work out what you're up to!

Nest hand Thurs 4th Mar.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 41

Thurs 11th Feb.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are in 3NT and West leads the 3♣.

You can see that if you let this run around to your hand and East plays the K♣ or Q♣ and returns a Club you will win 2 Clubs as well at 3 Spades, 1 Heart and 4 Diamond tricks, giving you 10 tricks.

But is there any danger?

 

The danger is that having let East win the first trick she will switch to a Heart. You can try the finesse, but it will lose and back will come another Heart.

Whatever you do next you will lose 3 Heart tricks and a Diamond, as well as the Club already lost. One down.

Therefore, you should win the first Club on the table with the A♣  and knock out the A♦. The defence may now collect 2 Club tricks, but your 8♣ is a second stopper.

Run off your winning Diamonds and now try the Heart finesse, if a Heart was not already played after you lost to the A♦. The finesse loses but no damage can be done by the defence.

You win 3 Spades,1 Heart, 4 Diamonds and 1 Club trick for 3NT.

The risk of searching for an overtrick was not worth taking!

Next hand Thurs 18th Feb.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 39

Thurs 28th Jan.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are in 3NT and West leads the 9♠. You play low from Dummy and East plays low.

You win with the A♠. It would be a mistake to hold up on this trick. If you played low and won the second trick with the A♠  your Q♠ would now be an exposed singleton.

How should you continue?

You plan to win 1 Spade trick, 2 Hearts, 2 Diamonds, and thus, you need 4 Club tricks.

The danger of playing off your 3 top Clubs is that you might find West with 4. When he gets in with a Club he will play a Spade through your Q♠ and they could run of 4 Spade winners.

The solution is to give East a club trick. His Spade return cannot damage you.

Lead the 9♣ intending to let it run around to East, not worrying if he wins the trick.

West is up to your play and covers the 9♣ with the 10♣. You now need to win on the table and come back to hand with a Diamond (don't dare consider finessing the J♦!!).

Now play the 7♣, again West covers, this time with the J♣. You win on the table again. East does not have a second Club to play. The game is up for West.

Return to hand with another Diamond.

Play another Club, covering whichever card West plays, brings in 5 Club tricks instead of the 4 required.

While all this is happening East is discarding 2 Hearts and 2 Spades.

Next play off 2 winning Hearts. You have now won the first 10 tricks.

When you play a Heart, East wins. He can then cash his K♠, but then must play the J♠ up to your Q♠, rubbing salt into the wound!.

You make 2 overtricks.

Next hand Thurs 4th Feb.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 32

Sun 15th Nov.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'.

You are in 4 Hearts and West leads the J. Plan your play.

 

It seems fairly straightforward that you should play two or three rounds of trumps after winning with the A. Then you play (and lose) the K♠. You will also lose the Diamond return and possibly a Club immediately, but that will be the extent of your losers, you win any return and play a Spade to your winning Spades, discarding your losing Club.

But what happens if the defence duck the first Spade and take the second one? You will be unable to get back to the table to take your winning Spades. 

The solution is to play only two rounds of trumps, keeping the A  on the table. Now play the K♠. Even if they duck this and take the second Spade you still have the A as an entry (and also to take out the remaining trump).

You lose only a Spade a Diamond and a Club.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 29

Tues 13th Oct.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

North responds to your 1 Heart with a bid of 3 Hearts.

When you then ask for Aces, using Blackwood, he bids 5 Clubs, showing no Aces!

What should you now bid?

Missing two Aces you might rush to stop the bidding in 5 Hearts.

But before doing that take a moment to try to visualise North's hand.

Despite not having an Ace North was able to bid 3 Hearts, showing about 10 points.

Thus, it would be reasonable to assume she has may well have at least 3 Queens and a few other bids and pieces.

The Ace of Diamonds is not a worry because of your void.

You would be most unlucky not to make 12 tricks, so try 6 Hearts.

 

The play is very straightforward.

West leads a Diamond to the King and East's Ace, ruffed by Declarer.

Play off 2 rounds of trumps, ending in Dummy. Throw the 9♠ on the Q♦.

Concede a trick to the A♣ and claim the remaining tricks.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING - TRY THIS!

You are South and in 3NT  and West leads the H5.

Plan the play.

If you take the first or second Heart with the Ace you will go down when you run the Club Queen and East wins with the King. East will have another Heart to play back. You will lose 4 Hearts and a Club.

Therefore, duck East's HK and HJ continuation and win the third Heart. Now play the CQ. It loses to the CK but East does not have a Heart to play back. Even if she did have a Heart to return this would mean that West started with just 4 of them and you would only lose 3 Hearts and a Club.

You will now win 2 Spades, 1 Heart, 2 Diamonds and 4 Clubs.

(P.S. Click on 'Useful Links' on the left menu for Bridge Base Online if you wish to play online.)

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 48

Mon 19th April

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are in 3NT and West leads the 3♥ .

How should you play the hand?

You can win the first trick with the J♥.

The secret is to keep East off the lead. If she can lead a Heart through you the contract will surely go down.

You have 4 Club winners as well as one sure Spade winner and the Heart winner. You, therefore, need 3 Diamond winners.

The normal play of the Diamond finesse is too risky. You would be finessing in the hope that West has the Q♦. But, if she has it, there is a better way of playing the hand.

You should immediately take your two Diamond winners. There is the possibility that the Q♦ will fall. If not, then you have a number of options.

You could continue with another Diamond and hope that West has the Queen. Alternatively, you could return to hand and try playing up to  the Q♠.

Fortunately, the Q♦ drops and you make 5 Diamond tricks for 3NT + 2.

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 46

Thurs 18th Mar.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

This is a hand we played the other night. South reached 6♥. The bidding was not very scientific, in fact, to be honest it was dreadful!. Nevertheless 6♥ was the contract.

West led the J♣ and South threw a Diamond from his hand on Dummy's A♣.

He took out trumps and tried the Spade finesse, which lost and he later also lost a Diamond for a score of one down.

Analysing the hand later we realised that South could have made the contract.

How should he have played it?

 

On Dummy's A♣ Declarer should have thrown a Spade.

After taking out trumps he could have played a Diamond to the J♦, losing to the K♦, Whatever West played back he would win, he could then have played off the A♦ and ruffed a Diamond in Dummy, ruffed a Club in hand, ruffed his 4th Diamond on the table. He could now return to hand with another Club ruff. His 5th Diamond is a winner. He can then try the Spade finesse. This will be his only loser. This approach will work if Diamonds break 3-3 or 4-2. A probability of well over 80%.

And yes I was South!

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 42

Thurs 18th Feb.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

Last week I said that an overtrick is not worth the risk. It's a pity I didn't take my own advice!

I was south with this hand the other night. The contract was 1NT.

West led the 2♠. I decided that that was 4th best and he surely had an honour, either the Q♠ or 10♠.

How would you continue?

 

 

I played the 5♠ from the table and East played the 10♠ .

I won with the K♠ and immediately played a Club up to the Q♣, which won, and I played a Club back. Assuming West had the A♣, I played the 9♣ and, sure enough, West had to win with the Ace.

West returned a Diamond, I played the Q♦ from Dummy, East played the K♦ and I played low. East returned the J♦ and again I played low. He then played the 9♦ and I won with the A♦ and also the 8♦ 

I played off the K♣.

I had now won 5 tricks, 1 Spade, 2 Diamonds and 2 Clubs. I had 2 winners on the table, the A♠ and 10♣ to make my contract but I got greedy and decided to take my "certain" Spade finesse for an overtrick.

I played the 9♠ and let it run. I nearly fell off my seat when East won with the Q♠. They then won 3 Heart tricks to go with the Spade trick, 2 Diamond tricks and 1 Club trick already won.

I ended up with 1NT - 1.

"You lead from 4 useless Spades", I said to West.

"I knew they were useless, but the important thing is, you didn't know they were", was his reply.

I licked my wounds.

Next hand Thurs 25th Feb.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 37

Mon 4th Jan 2021.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

I played this South hand the other night in 6NT and went down one (maybe 6H would have been a better contract).

I had 3 Spade, 2 Diamond and almost certainly 4 Club winners, so I needed 3 Heart tricks.

I won the opening Spade lead in hand and crossed to the table with a Diamond and lead the Q♥ and let it run. It lost to West's K♥.

Back came another Spade which I won and when I played the A♥ West showed out, so I could not win 2 more Heart tricks as East had 4 to the 10♥.

6NT - 1 was the final result.

I think I should have played the Hearts better!

 

If Hearts broke 3 - 2 I couldn't play them wrongly. So my concern was for a 4 - 1 break.

At trick two I should have played low up to the Q♥.

This would see me home safely in nearly every circumstance.

The only situation that my play of the Q♥ would have worked is if East started with 4 Hearts holding both  the K♥ and 10♥, most unlikely (8.5% according to my resident statistician!)

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 35

Tues 15th Dec.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are in 4♠ after East opened the bidding 1♦.

West leads the 5♥ on which you play the K♥ and East the A♥, you ruff. When you play the A♠ West shows out.

How should you continue?

You still expect to win 6 Spade tricks, a discard on the Q♥ and also the A♣, which gives you 8 tricks, so you need 2 ruffs.

Next cross to Dummy with the A♣ and play 4♣. East wins and might cash the A♦. Now, she is not keen to play away from her Q♠, or indeed play a Heart, so lets say she plays back a Club (or a Diamond, it makes no difference).

Ruff this in Dummy and throw a Diamond on the Q♥ and ruff a Heart in hand. Ruff your last Club in Dummy.

Now you are in Dummy, having achieved your 2 ruffs, and still a trump left in Dummy.

Play off your last trump and finesse the J♠ and play the K♠, taking out East's Q♠.

You are left with a Diamond loser to go with the A♦ and K♣ losers, but you safely make your contract.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 34

Thurs 3rd. Dec.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are South in 2NT on the bidding shown.

West leads K♥. How should you plan the play?

You plan to make 4 Spade tricks, 1 Heart and hopefully 3 Club tricks without resorting to the Diamond finesse.

But of course the danger is the Heart suit. You could lose 4 Heart tricks, if West started with 5, and also at least 1 Diamond trick.

You decide to duck the first round of Hearts, not that it might do you any good, but maybe it will do you no harm!

You win the Q♥ continuation with the A♥.

You plan to play the 10♣ and let it run if West plays low.

But before you do that you should play 3 rounds of Spades, ending in your hand. You leave the A♠  on the table.

You now should play the 10♣ and let it run to East. If West covers with the J♣ you play the Q♣ .

East wins with the K♣. Now your earlier ducking of the opening Heart trick and playing 3 rounds of Spades pays dividends for you.

East has no Spades or Hearts to play back. She can see from her Club holding that you are going to win the remaining 3 Club tricks. To play a Diamond would be to give you an overtrick.

The best she can do is to play a Club back and let you win A♣, Q♣ and 9♣. You play off the A♠.

You lose the 2 Diamond tricks but make your contract!

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 30

Fri. 23th Oct.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are in 4 Hearts and West leads the K♠ followed by the Q♠ which you ruff.

How should you continue?

It appears there're 3 losers. 1 Spade; 1 Heart (possibly) and 1 Diamond.

But what happens if South plays the hand in the usual manner?

Missing 5 Hearts including the Q♥, it would be normal to finesse the J♥ on the second round.

So, after winning the second Spade in hand, South leads a Heart to the K♥ and finesses the J♥ on the way back. West wins and 'forces' again in Spades. South must ruff again and by this time he has only one trump left in his hand.

He can draw the last trump and lead a Diamond, but when West comes in with the A♦ he will cash the 4th Spade for 1 down.

Even if he can decide not to draw this last trump and lead a Diamond immediately he's still in trouble. Again, West will win and play his 4th Spade, which South must ruff with his last Heart (Ace). Now West's 9♥ becomes the 4th winner for the defense (2 Hearts, a Spade and a Diamond).

The trouble was caused by  the finesse!

Rather than finesse the J♥ at trick 4, the better percentage is to play the Ace, then force out the A♦. West will win and cash the Q♥ and play another Spade. South has a trump remaining, so he can ruff and make his winners in the minor suits, losing only 1 Spade, 1 Heart and 1 Diamond.

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 28

Sat. 3rd. Oct.

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

This is a hand we played the other night in the house.

There was some competitive bidding. South opened 1♦, West jumped to 2♠, passed around to South who now bid 3♣, West went to 3♥ and North reckoned that 4♣ was worth a bid. This was passed by South.

West felt that he would not need much support from his partner to make a game in one of the majors. So he bid 4♥, leaving it to his partner to pass this or convert to 4♠, whichever suited him. Of course, East was only too happy to pass.

South won his partner's 9♦ lead and played back another Diamond, ruffed by West with the 3♥, over-ruffed by North with the Q♥. He then played a club, won by Declarer with the A♣.

He played two rounds of trumps. He then crossed to Dummy with a trump and lead his singleton Spade and finessed to Q♠. The A♠ then took care of South's King. West eventually made the contract plus one.

South scratched his head and said, "my partner won a trick with the Q♥, I had an Ace, 2 Kings, 2 Queens and a Jack and I could only win one trick with all that".

"It could have been worse", said West, "I was hoping you would double me!".

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 11

Thurs 30th April.

You are in 3NT and West leads K .

How do you proceed?

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

With 28 points between you and your partner 3NT should be straightforward, but there are only 8 clear winners. You hope for an additional winner in Clubs. West is the danger hand, for if she gets in she may run off a hat-full of Hearts.

To keep her out the best approach is to hold up for the first 2 rounds of Hearts and win the third. The crucial play comes at trick 4. 

The J♣ finesse looks inviting but it's too dangerous. Think of another strategy. 

You hope for a 3-2 break in Clubs. Play from your hand and put up the 9♣. You are not too upset when this loses. East does not have a Heart to play back. You can win any return and play off the K♣ and A♣. This would not work if West started with 4 clubs, but you would be very unlucky in that situation, given that she started with 5 Hearts. 

If East was dealt 4 Hearts and could play a Heart back after winning with the 10♣ this would mean that West started with only 4, so you are still safe. You with 2 Spades; 1 Heart; 3 Diamonds and 3 Clubs.

WHILE WE'RE WAITING TRY THIS - HAND NO. 2

South is in 3NT and West leads the Club 5.

South can see 2 winners in Clubs, 2 in Diamonds and 1 in Hearts. So, she needs 4 in Spades to make her contract. She can afford to lose one Spade. She can play the SK and a small Spade up to the Ace and then lose one. Now her 2 remaining Spades are winners, however, she will not be able to get to them! She has no entry.

 She can overcome this by losing the first or second Spade she plays. Lets assume she first plays the SK, she then must play a small one from her hand AND a small one from Dummy. She can win any return and still have a Spade to get over to the Ace and her 2 remaining winners. Alternatively, she can lose the first Spade and then play the SK and a small one up to the Ace, this will have the same result.

Notice that if one opponent has 4 Spades this approach will not work. But she can console herself knowing that no other Souths will make the contract either.

 

 

WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 45

Thurs 11h Mar.

Previous Hands in 'Practice Hands'

You are South in 3NT and West leads the J♠ .

How should you play the hand?

You have 1 Spade winner, 2 Heart and 2 Diamond winners.

You need 4 Club tricks to make your contract.

You must find East with the K♣. Thus, you must lead Clubs from Dummy. 

You can play low on the first 2 rounds of Spades and win the 3rd in hand and cross to Dummy with a Diamond.

But you need to be careful how you play the Clubs. If you play the Q♣ and East plays low you will next play the 9♣ (or 4♣ ). You will now find yourself in your hand.

You can play off the A♣, but if the K♣ does not fall you will lose a club and go down in your contract.

The solution is to play the 9♣ before the Q♣. Play the 3♣ from your hand on the first Club, then the 10♣ on Dummy's Q♣. This way you will still be leading from Dummy on the 3rd round of Clubs and you will capture East's K♣ if he started with 4 Clubs. 

XMAS SPECIAL - WHILE WE'RE WAITING-TRY THIS- HAND NO. 36

Christmas eve 2020

Previous hands in 'Practice Hands'

We played this hand in the house the other night. I was South in 1NT and West lead the 5♣ .

My partner, North, put down his hand and said "I have a good hand for you but I don't think 3NT is on".

I looked at both hands and wondered if 1NT was on!

Have a look at the hands and hopefully you can do better than I did!

I played low on the first Club and won the second on the table. I played a Diamond to the A♦ and a Diamond to the Q♦ which lost to the K♦.

Back came a club which I won in hand and played another Diamond to the Q♦ and played off the 9♦.

I had now won 5 tricks with the A♠ still to come. I played a Spade from the table towards my Q♠, hoping that East might play low if he had the K♠.

Not a bit! Up he popped with the King and led the Q♥ which I let run. I also played low on his J♥, hoping that West did not have a third Heart and would have to win with the A♥. But alas, he also played low and won the third Heart with his A♥. He had discarded a Spade on the 4th Diamond.

The defense eventually won 1 Spade, 3 Hearts, 1 Diamond and 2 Clubs for 1NT - 1.

My partner, only playing a few months, said, "I thought we were safe with my 10 points opposite you 12". (13 actually!)

West, never short to tell the opponents where they went wrong (and even quicker to tell his partner) said, "Oh Pops, I think you blundered there, leave that hand out and we'll go through it later to see if we can make an improvement on your play"

"And a Happy Christmas to you to Andrew".

I should have stopped after teaching them to play "Beg of my Neighbour".

AND A HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR MEMBERS AND ALL THE BEST (BETTER) FOR 2021.

HAND NO. 3

You are South in 3NT on the bidding shown.

West leads the S8 and, holding your breath, you play the King and it holds.

How do you continue? You consider playing the CJ from Dummy and let it run to West, but you are concerned that, if she has the CK, you are likely to be in for a pasting in Spades!

You might have to resort to this eventually, if all else fails, but are there any other options to be considered first?

I'm learning more about this gizmo machinery as I go along. Now I realise that you don't have to wait for the solution. I can post an answer and hide it, then all you need to do is click 'Show Answer' and you have it when you want it!

And don't forget to Click 'Show All Hands' as well.

Finessing the CJ is risky, but you might have to resort to it at some time. But there is no hurry. If it succeeds at trick 2 it will also succeed at trick 8.

Firstly, try the Hearts, and if they break 3-3 you can make an extra trick with the H2. If this fails next try the Diamonds, you might make an extra trick here.

When you play off the A, K and Q of Hearts you discover that West started with just 2. So, that puts pay to Hearts. Next try the Diamonds. Play the Ace, cross over to the King and then play the Queen. If this fails to fell the Jack you can now resort to the club finesse.

Fortunately, the DJ falls on the DQ and your D10 becomes your 9th trick and there was no need to rely on the chance of the CK being in East's hand.

Well played!

WHILE WE'RE WAITING TRY THIS - HAND NO. 4

You are in 3NT and West leads the S5, you play low from Dummy and East plays the K.

How should you continue?

Previous Hands are stored in 'Practice Hands' from the left.

You should win the first trick with the Ace. You will still have a 'stopper' in Spades.

Cross to your hand with a Club.

The Heart finesse looks inviting, but be wary, if it loses, East can return a Spade. West will win with SQ and play another Spade, knocking out your stopper and you still have to lose the DA.

Therefore, the best approach is to play a Diamond to the Q and keep playing Diamonds until the Ace appears.

When West wins with the DA the best she can do is play SQ and another Spade, which you win, noting that East had only 2 Spades.

You can now try the finesse of the HQ knowing that if East wins she has no more Spades to play back.

You will eventually win 2 Spades; 1 Heart; 3 Diamonds and 3 Clubs for your contract.

(P.S. Click on 'Useful Links' on the left menu for Bridge Base Online if you wish to play online.)

WHILE WE'RE WAITING - HAND NO. 5

There is nothing for you to solve in this hand, rather it is a hand played by our newest and youngest members, Niall and Andrew.

They had started classes in Sept 2018 and joined the club in March of the following year. They were only there a couple of weeks when they got this hand.

Andrew was South and they got into 7NT. There is no point in going through the bidding with you, because they still have no idea how they got there, but 7NT it was.

Needless to say nobody else in the club got into 7NT that night with only 33 points between them.

The opening lead was H5. Andrew won this in hand with the King. He then proceeded to play off his 5 club winners and his 2 Diamond winners.

He then crossed to Dummy with the SA and played the HA.

He had now won the first 10 tricks.

Dummy now had ♠ 6  Q  7

East had ♠ QJ  Q

South had ♠ K10  10

West last 3 cards were immaterial.

Andrew played the  Q from the table and poor East had a dilemma. She had no safe discard. She eventually threw away the ♠ J and Andrew discarded the  10. He then won the last 2 tricks with the ♠ K and ♠ 10.

7NT was made and a big congratulations from their opponents.

When we got home we analysed the hand.

"That's a perfect Squeeze", I told him.

"What's a Squeeze?" Andrew replied.

"If East discards the  Q you keep the  10 and win the last 2 tricks with the ♠ K and  10, and when she discarded the ♠ J you kept your ♠ 10 and won the last two tricks with the ♠ K and ♠ 10" I said.

"Ah no, no, no" Andrew said "I had no idea what she had in her hand, in fact, I wasn't even looking, I was too busy picking the  10 out of my hand to throw away"

We can only put it down to beginners luck!