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King Cup (Ladies Open) 4th Nov 21 at 11 am

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HAND OF THE WEEK
Analysis for 19th October 2021: Board 6:

      This board was misplayed by the majority of N/S pairs.      East has a near opener but should pass as dealer.   South opens 1H and after West passes, North responds 1S.        South rebids 2NT to show a strong hand amd now North should bid 3S showing 5 spades and offering a choice of games between 4S (with 3 card support) or 3NT.      This bid is commonly misunderstood by beginers as it is systemically forcing because you should not be playing in 4-3 fits rather than NT and you should not "sign off" in 3S if weak - just pass 2NT!      Over 3S, South could bid 4C to show slam interest and CA but North has a weak hand and is not interested, merely signing off with 4S.

      East probably leads HK and dummy wins HA, declarer shedding a diamond.      Now it is important to play on your side-suit (clubs) before touching trumps and you play CA followed by C6.      When West does not play CK you should duck, hoping that East holds CKx doubleton.       West wins with C10 and probably switches to S2 which you win with SQ, ruff a club with SA, cash SK when the clubs break 3-3, ruff a heart back to hand and draw the remaining trumps, cash winning clubs, then DA and concede just one club and one diamond for +450 and a near-top!     Note if the clubs are 4-2 you need to ruff two clubs in dummy and hope the trumps are 3-2.

Analysis for 12th October 2021 : Board 13:

     My favourite (?) board number: 13 had interesting points in the bidding and play for N/S.       North has a routine weak 1NT and South transfers to 2H having a five card major.      The standard meaning of the now natural bid of 3D is game forcing - not my favourite meaning - and inviting a slam in one of the red suits.      If this is your interpretation then you have to bid 2NT showing 11-12hcp which will be plenty high enough if partner passes.      Over 2NT, North bids 3H intended to play - showing 3 card support and bottom end of the 1NT range.        When the eight card fit has been announced, South should bid 4H having extra playing strength when the fit has been found.   

     East is likely to lead DQ which is helpful to declarer because of the combined strong middle cards held.      However, it is necessary to tackle trumps straight away otherwise you risk a diamond ruff.      So you win DK and play HAK (noting West has a trick with HQ) and now you should lead a club playing C9 assuming West plays low.     You need to stop West gaining the lead when two trumps can be drawn for one by cashing the master HQ.      East will exit with a club to your CA but you lead D8 to D10 and dummy's DA and exit with D3 to your D7 setting up D9 in dummy for a spade discard.       You can then cross ruff spades and clubs allowing West to overruff at some stage but making the rest but one and chalk up an overtrick. 

Analysis for 5th October 2021: Board 19:

      A bidding problem for N/S this week where only 1 in 4 pairs reached the optimum 3NT.        If North were the dealer the bidding could go uncontested 1D-2C-3D-3NT.        However on the actual deal, after a pass by South, West will open 1H despite the lack of Aces and minimal hcp plus a poor suit.      Playing weak jump overcalls at this (favourable) vulnerability North should double which when bidding over partner's new suit response shows similar values to the jump rebid as suggested above.        South bids 2C and over North's 2D can make a forward-going natural bid of 2NT which North raises to 3NT expecting 5 or 6 tricks in diamonds.        West leads H6 to East's H9 and declarer's HQ and D2 is led intending to finesse but when DQ pops up you run six diamond tricks discarding a heart, two spaes and a club and play CA and a club to C9 placing West with CK to make up opening values.       If this loses to CJ you settle for your ten top tricks but if it forces CK you have eleven or twelve tricks for a clear top. 

Analysis for 28th Sept 2021 : Board 7

      A play problem for N/S this week.      After routine passes by South & West, North opens 1H, South has just enough to respond 2C, North rebids 2NT and South offers a choice of games with a forcing bid of 3H showing three card support.       North naturally raises to 4H and East leads a club (C10 usually in case CJ is in dummy).    West wins CA and continues with C8, won by declarer with CK.      The normal way to play this trump suit is to cash a top heart and cross to dummy and lead a heart to H10 or duck with H2 if West plays HK in case West has HQJxx when you can re-enter dummy and finesse H10 and cash the HA drawing trumps.      If the H10 loses on the second round then the suit is breaking 3/2 and HA will draw the last trump.      When you cash HK the HQ drops so you lead a diamond to D9 and when it wins you lead a trump to H10, cash HA and give West the master trump.      Whether West leads a club (which you ruff throwing a spade from dummy) or a spade (which you win with SA, cash DA and repeat the winning diamond finesse throwing two spade losers on the 4th and 5th round of diamonds.        In this way you claim an overtrick.

Analysis for 21st Sept 2021 : Board 4

     A tiny part-score hand for a change this week.      West has an obvious opener of 1D as it is losing policy to open a weak 1NT with two suits wide open, not to mention being 1hcp light.     North should overcall 1S to show a decent five card rather than make a take-out double to suggest strength.     East has a routine 2C response and West rebids 2D having had the hoped-for 1S rebid stolen by the N/S opposition.      North passes because South could not raise a bid and East has to contemplate further action.      With a better six card club suit East could make a forward going but not forcing bid of 3C but with the current hand should pass and settle for a makeable part-score.      The traditional lead for North from CAK doubleton is the King hoping to follow with CA, put partner in and get a club ruff in return.        However, seeing dummy, North switches to a trump in an attempt to stop a spade ruff in dummy.      Declarer should refuse the free finesse against DJ and rise with DK, follow with DAQ (fortunately drawing the outstanding trumps) and lead CJ to North's now bare CA.      You now have four discards on dummy's set-up clubs together with the major Aces and your last two trumps to garner eleven tricks and +150.       This score was, surprisingly, hardly ever achieved.     Note that if you let the diamond run to your hand and cross to DK in order to lead a club the defence will be able to switch to a heart (preferably HK) to kill dummy's only entry to these winning clubs.

Analysis for 14th Sept 2021 : Board 4

       A bidding problem for E/W this week.      West opens the obvious 1D and East responds 1S rather than raise partner's suit as it is winning bridge to explore for major suit fits rather than play in a minor suit.       South is well worth a butt-in of 2H and West should consider the best way forward to describe the hand held.       A pass would show a minimum opener and 3C a minimum opener with a good side-suit but you have extra values.      A double would not be for penalties but showing 15+hcp so that is a possible rebid.       However the best bid is a jump to 4C which although not forcing is forward going and showing the true potential of the hand.       Over 4C, East, with a good fit and SA should jump to game with a bid of 5D.

       There are no problems to the play of the hand and after the defence try to cash two hearts you ruff, likely draw the trumps in two rounds (three rounds if necessary) and then knock out the CA to secure eleven tricks and your contract. 

Analysis for 7th Sept 2021 - Board 5:

       Today's hand has points of interest in the bidding and the play.       North should open a weak 2H, albeit being minimum for the bid and South should go direct to 4H.     3NT+1 is the top score you might say but needs a misdefence and is a losing option in the long run.      Play in North's long suit as entries to develop South's suits will be sparse.      East usually will lead D10 and you should win in dummy and cash HA, cross to hand with a club ruff and consider how to play the trrump suit.       If the suit is 3-3 it makes no difference how you continue but if the trumps are 4-2 the remaining possible doubletons start off as either HKx, Jx, 9x or 64 (since H52 went on the first round of trumps).       The other point to consider is th So I think the right card to play now is HQ which gains aginst both Jx or 9x.       West wins  HK and exits with a club but you discard a spade to ensure you don't lose a spade trick.       You then cross to DK to lead H10 to East's HJ and ruff a club back to hand to draw West's H6 with your H8 and cash two winning diamonds and SA.        Although the spades lay favourably you couldn't safely play on spades without riking your contract but 4H making should be well above average.    

Analysis for 20th August 2021:

       The trump break is unfortunate as you know from the bidding that East probably has DK as well as HKQxxxx to justify a weak 2H opener.        You need to hope that the club suit will provide a discard for your second diamond and you must thus play carefully in case West has a singleton club - if clubs are 5-Nil you will have to rely on the diamond finesse after all!.        You win HA and SQ and then must cash CA at trick 3, cross back to SAK and lead C4 towards dummy.       If West ruffs in you play small from dummy and win West's diamond exit with DA and cash CKQ5 (discarding D8) and claim.        Therefore West must play low to give the defence a chance and you win CQ,  ruff a heart back to hand and repeat the process, winning CK.       However now you can ruff the fourth round of clubs and do not care if West overruffs and you can enter dummy with DA and discard D8 on C5.

This will be my last daily hand of the week - until the next pandemic! - as I am on holiday for two weeks.

Hand of the week will resume on Tuesday 7th September in the usual format discussing one of the night's hands and I hope to see you all face to face for the first evening of bridge.

Analysis for 19th August 2021:

        The opposition bidding suggests that East has opened on probably minimum values since West has raised to 3H.       Therefore West is showing some playing strength and/or shape vulnerable and East is likely to be shapely.       Although the odds of a singleton King are practically 50%, this means that probably neither opponent is likely to have a singleton trump King as it woulld be suicide for West to raise without some outside playing strength, i.e. DK and/or SK.       The best plan is thus to finesse SJ after winning HA and cashing CAK and HK.      When the trumps behave all you lose is DK and raack up your contract.       If East shows out you have to win SA and exit with a spade hoping West has the finessable DK and has to lead away from DK or give you a ruff and discard.

 

Hand for 20th August 2021:

                                                     North:      S       Q   2

                                                                      H       6   4   3

                                                                      D       A  Q   J

                                                                      C       A  K   Q   5   3

 

                                                     South:      S       A  K  10   6   5   4   3  

                                                                      H       A

                                                                      D       8   6

                                                                      C       6   4   2

 

East opens a weak 2H, you jump to 3S (Intermediate), partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5C (3 of 5 Aces) and partner jumps to 6S.       West leads HJ to your HA but trick 2 is made up of S37Q plus East discarding H7.      Plan the play.

Analysis for 18th August 2021:

      The bidding suggests that West likely has CK in addirion to HKJxxx and so it would not be a good plan to rely on the club finesse so you are in danger of losing two clubs and two diamonds.       The best plan is to win HA, ruff a heart, cash SA & CA, cross to SK (drawing the last outstanding trump) and lead a club from the table, ducking when East plays C10.       If East is left on play (a) a club sets up a diamond discard on the thirteenth club (or CQ as the case may be), (b) a heart gives you a ruff and discard and you ruff in your hand and discard a club from dummy and  (c) a diamond into dummy's DAJx allows you to win DA over a defence diamond honour and lead DJ to set up D10 by force.        If West overtakes East's club and switches to a diamond you allow it to run to East's diamond honour and is end-played as above.

 

Hand for 19th August 2021:

                                                    North:      S      Q  8  7  6  5

                                                                     H      A  K

                                                                     D      A  Q  6  4

                                                                     C      A   6

 

                                                    South:      S      A   J 10  9  8  2

                                                                     H      8   6

                                                                     D      J   3   2

                                                                     C      K  9 

 

West opens a weak 2H, partner doubles for take-out, East raises to 3H,  you bid 3S, partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5D (1 of 5 Aces) and partner jumps to 6S.      West leads HQ.      Plan the play.

Analysis for 17th August 2021:

         You have two spades and a club to lose and so appear to need trumps 3-2.        With West showing six spades on the bidding the odds of a 4-1 break are likely to have increased from the normal one in four chance.      However you can prevail if you can ruff (diamonds) twice in your hand.        Therefore you start by winning SA (East has a singleton on the bidding so you must not duck), then cashing HKA (West discarding a spade), cashing DKA, ruffing a diamond low, crossing to CAK and leading a fourth diamond from dummy ruffing if East follows suit or discarding a club if East ruffs in when you eventually making HQ6 by force.

 

Hand for 18th August 2021:

                                                   North:       S       K  J  9  8  3

                                                                     H       A  2

                                                                     D       A  J  5

                                                                     C       6  4   2

 

                                                    South:      S       A  Q 10  7  4

                                                                     H       9

                                                                     D       10  4  2

                                                                     C        A  Q  4   3

 

You open 1S, West overcalls 2H, partner cue-nids 3H showing a spade raise, you rebid 3S and partner raises to 4S.        West leads H7.       Plan the play.            

Analysis for 16th August 2021:

       With East opening a weak 2H on HKQxxxx it is probable that West has one or both of the minor suit Kings and so the best plan is to try and keep East off lead and hope that West has to eventually give you a trick.       Therefore you win HA, draw trumps with SAK and lead a club covering East's C7 with C8 and West's C9.      West will lead a club to East's CQ and your CA but you lead S7 to dummy's S8 and lead a third club from the table.       If the clubs are 3-3 you can discard a diamond on the thirteenth club and take the diamond finesse for an overtrick.        All is not lost when East shows out as West can win and cash another club  but you discard a diamond from dummy.        West is then end-played to lead a diamond into your DAQ or give you a ruff and discard when you ruff in your hand and discard a diamond from the dummy eventually ruffing DQ for ten tricks.

 

Hand for 17th August 2021:

                                                     North:      S      A  8  3

                                                                      H      A  7  5

                                                                      D      A  7  4  3

                                                                      C      A  K  6

 

                                                     South:      S      7  5   2

                                                                      H      K  Q  6  4  2

                                                                      D      K  6

                                                                      C      8   4   3

 

West opens a weak 2S, partner doubles for take-out, you bid 3H and partner raises to 4H.     West leads SK.

Plan the play.

Analysis for 15th August 2021:

       The bidding tells you that since East has DA then West has CK so there is no point leading up to your CQ in the hope that East has CK.        Also the opposition spades are likely to be 4-3 as West would probably overcall 1S if holding SA10xxx rather than double for take-out.       This means that West's likely shape is 4-1-4-4 or 4-1-3-5 since East obviously has long diamonds from the four-level intervention.       You have lost a diamond and a spade and so you need to restrict your club losers to one!      The best plan is to draw trumps in one or two rounds (as necessary), cash your last top spade and then lead CQ intending to run it but covering CK with CA.       You are playing for East to have CJx or C10x or CJ10 and you then cross back to hand with a trump to lead C2 towards C953 in dummy.      If East plays an honour under dummy's CA, the C9 will either win a trick by force or if East wins a club honour but then has to concede a ruff and discard allowing you to ruff in dummy and discard a club from hand.

 

Hand for 16th August 2021:

                                                     North:      S      K  Q  8  6  4  2

                                                                      H      A

                                                                      D      7   6  5

                                                                      C      5   4  3

 

                                                      South:     S      A   J  9  7  3

                                                                      H      3

                                                                      D      A  Q   8

                                                                      C      A   J   8  2

 

East opens a weak 2H, you overcall 2S, West bids 3H but partner jumps to 4S.       West leads HJ.

Plan the play. 

Analysis for 14th August 2021:

       You ruff the second spade and draw trumps in four rounds and unfortunately the bidding has not suggested the location of DQ.     With West holding at least nine cards in the majors it is unlikely that length is held in either minor so it would be unwise to rely on the diamond finesse.       Marginally the best plan is to cash DAK gaining if DQ is doubleton with either East or West, then cashing CK and crossing back yo CA to cash your last trump (discarding two diamonds from dummy), cross to DAK and play CK and cross back to CA.     When you now play your last trump discarding DJ from dummy you will prevail if the hand that holds DQxx also holds three or four clubs when either the DQ will be discarded setting up your D10 or the CA7 will win the last two tricks.

 

Hand for 15th August 2021:

                                                     North:      S     5  4  2

                                                                      H    10 9  6  5  2

                                                                      D    10

                                                                      C     A  9  5  3

 

                                                     South:      S     K Q  J

                                                                      H     A  K  Q  J  8  7

                                                                      D     J

                                                                      C     Q  4   2

 

You open 1H, West doubles for take-out, partner jumps to 3H pre-emtively, East bids 4D and you bid 4H.

West leads DK (East overtaking) and switching to S9 (West winning SA over SJ and exiting with S3). 

Plan the play. 

Analysis for 13th August 2021:

      The bidding tells you that West has led a singleton diamond with East holding seven to DKQ.        So there is a good chance that West has more trumps than East which is all you need to make your contract despite an apparently useless CAK in dummy.         You win DA at trick 1 and cash SA at trick 2.        If both opponents follow you continue with S2 and then hopefully West wins and has to lead a club or a heart to give you an entry to dummy to throw your D3 on CK.        When East shows out you cash SAK and exit with S2 achieved the same ending.      Note it does West, holding S103 to jettison S10 as then dummy wins S8 and cashes CAK to end up with an overtrick.

 

Hand for 14th August 2021:

                                                    North:      S      8   4

                                                                     H      6   2

                                                                     D      A   K  J   3   2

                                                                     C      K   Q  7  5

 

                                                    South:      S      9

                                                                      H     A   K  Q  J  10  8

                                                                      D     10  6  4

                                                                      C      A   6  2

 

You open 1H. West overcalls 1S, partner doubles for take-out, you jump to 3H, partner bids 4C, you bid 4H, partner invites slam with 5H and you bid 6H.        West leads SK and West overtakes with SA and exits with S2.         Plan the play.

Analysis for 12th August 2021:

      You have on the face of it five hearts, three spades and DA and if the trumps are 3-3 you can set up dummy's clubs for a diamond discard or possibly squeeze West who you know from the bidding has DK & CQ.       If you overruff East at trick 3 you need trumps 3-3 to be able to enjoy SJ as the only way back to hand is a club ruff.     The main flaw in this plan is that a 3-3 break is against the odds and a 4-2 break is roughly 50%.        Therfore the best plan is to not overuff at trick 3 but discard a diamond instead.       You can then win East's exit of a diamond or spade, draw four rounds of trumps, cash three top spades, ruff back to hand and cash SJ amounting to ten tricks.

 

Hand for 13th August 2021:

                                                    North:       S      8   5

                                                                      H      J  10  7

                                                                      D      J   8   2

                                                                      C      A   K  8  5  2

 

                                                    South:       S      A   K  Q  J  7  6  4  2

                                                                      H      A   K   6

                                                                      D      A   3

                                                                      C      Void

 

East pre-empts 3D and you jump to 6S.       West leads D4.        Plan the play.   

Analysis for 11th August 2021:

     You try SQ at trick 1 but East plays SK and you win SA.       The bidding tells you that West who would surely have led a club otherwise has probably CAQJ, SJ, DQ & a guarded HK to make up a 12hcp 1NT and therefore there is no point in taking the trump finesse.       The only conceivable way of playing the contract is to win SA, finesse D10, cash DA, cross to HA and discard a spade on DK before leading a trump to West's HK.       Eventually you ruff a spade in the dummy and just concede two clubs and one trump in making ten tricks.

Hand for 12th August 2021:

                                                    North:      S     A  K Q

                                                                     H     4  3  2

                                                                     D     A  7

                                                                     C     J  8  6  4  3

                                                     South:     S     J  8  3  2

                                                                      H    A  K Q  J  10

                                                                      D    Q  9

                                                                      C    10 7

West opens a weak 1NT, you overcall 2H after two passes and partner raises to 4H.      West cashes CAK and leads C2 which East ruffs with H8.      Plan the play. 

Analysis for 10th August 2021:

       The play to the first two tricks places the spade honours and suggests that East is short in clubs are that this suit will not break 3-3.      However, the good news from the bidding is that West appears to have the DK as East would probably have opened 1S rather than 2S with SAQJxxx and an outside King.       Therefore the best play is to plan for a dummy reversal, ruffing four times in hand and using dummy's three trumps to draw the oppositions trumps.        You start by winning CA at trick 2, ruffing a spade, finessing DQ, ruffing a spade high with HA, crossing to DA, ruffing a diamond high with HQ, leading a trump to dummy's H9, ruffing a diamond with HJ, crossing to dummy with S10, cashing HK (discarding a club) and cashing CKQ for twelve tricks.

 

Hand for 11th August 2021:

                                                     North:       S        Q  5

                                                                       H        Q  9  7  6

                                                                       D        A 10

                                                                       C         9  5  4  3  2

 

                                                      South:       S         A  7

                                                                        H         A  J 10 8  5  4

                                                                        D         K  J  3

                                                                        C        10  8

 

West opens a weak 1NT, you jump to 3H after two passes and partner raises to 4H.       West leads SJ to SQKA.

Plan the play.       

 

Analysis for 9th August 2021:

         You have two potential diamond losers if the suit breaks 4-1 (a one in four chance) plus a spade as the bidding tell you that the spade finesse is not likely to succeed and only one discard on the third top club.        You can give yourself a slight extra chance by playing an elimination.        Win H10 at trick 1, cross to SA, cross to HQJ (drawing the outstanding trumps), cross to CK, cross baxk to CAQ (discarding SQ), ruff a spade and lead D4 playing D2 when East follows with DJ.         As long as either East or West does not have DQJ109, your contract is safe against any other 4-1 break.        On the actual hand shown if East wins  with the singleton Jack then a ruff and discard follows, you ruffing in one hand and throwing a diamond from the other so you can ruff your fourth round diamond loser in the hand you have just discarded from.         It does West no good to overtake DJ with DQ and lead D10 as you play low from the following hand, win a top diamond and finesse against the D9 to make three diamond tricks in all!.

 

Hand for 10th August 2021:

                                                     North:       S        K  10  9

                                                                       H        K  10  9

                                                                       D        A   Q  3  2

                                                                       C        A   3   2

 

                                                     South:       S        2

                                                                       H        A   Q   J  4  3  2

                                                                       D        5    4

                                                                       C        K   Q   5  4

 

East opens a weak 2S, you overcall 3H, partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5D (1 Ace), partner enquires with 5H, you bid 6C (HQ & CK) and partner signs off with 6H.       West leads S7 which East wins with SJ and switches to C10.

Plan the play.

Analysis for 8th August 2021:

      The bidding tells you that West probably has DAKxxx & CQJ10xx and probably 6/5 shape as well to justify intervention at the three level vulnerable.       Therefore it is likely that East has a singleton heart and a singleton trump or both and cashing SAQ indicates a singleton trump and so you draw the last outstanding trump with SK.        You are in danger of losing two diamonds and two hearts but you can end-play East by cashing CKA and leading a diamond to dummy's Jack.       East can win but cashing DK gives you a heart discard on DQ with SJ as entry or you ruff a club exit in one hand and discard a heart from the other, eventually ruffing a fourth round of hearts for ten tricks, losing just one heart and two diamonds.        Were East to have a second heart you merely play H10 and the hearts are 3-2 and so you have a fourth round heart winner.

 

Hand for 9th August 2021:

                                                   N orth:       S       9  5

                                                                      H      K  Q  J  10

                                                                      D      K  7   5   4

                                                                      C      A  Q   8

 

                                                  South:         S      A  Q

                                                                      H      A   9   8  7  6

                                                                      D      A   8   3  2

                                                                      C      K   4

 

You open 1H, West overcalls 1S, partner cue-bids 2S to show a good heart raise, you rebid 2NT, partner bids 4NT (RKCB) and jumps to 6H after your 5C response (3 Aces).     West leads H4, East following with H2.     Plan the play.

Analysis for 7th August 2021:

      You have eleven tricks on top as you can pick up 5 clubs on any 5-0 split by first cashing CA and if West shows out you finesse C9 or if East shows out you finesse C8.        However the bidding tells you that the normal play of leading towards HQ hoping East has HK will fail.       You could win SK, cash your eight minor suit winners and play SA and another expecting West to win and be forced to lead away from HK but that would fail if East has S10xx and West unblocks SJ.        The best line is to duck the SQ lead and hope that West has three or four spades when a positional squeeze will occur.        You win SK, cash five clubs discarding two hearts from dummy, cash HA (known as a Vienna Coup which occurs when you cash a winner in the hand opposite the squeeze card), cash DAQ and cross to DK.       This leaves you with just HQ and S5 and dummy with SA6.        If West has not discarded HK (when you can cash HQ & SA) then SA6 will win the last two tricks.

 

Hand for 8th August 2021:

                                                   North:       S      K  J  8  5

                                                                     H      6   5  4  3

                                                                     D      Q  J  7

                                                                     C      K   9

 

                                                   South:       S       A  Q 10  6  3

                                                                     H       A  K  10  8

                                                                     D       6   4

                                                                     C       A   2

 

You open 1S, partner responds 2NT showing a good raise to at least 3S, East doubles conventionally showing an unusual 2NT overcall (5/5+ both minors), and you jump to 4S.       West leads HQ, East playing H7 to your HAand East discards a club on your second top spade.       Plan the play. 

Analysis for 6th August 2021:

     Your contract depends on a 3-2 split in diamonds or spades or possibly just the diamond finesse if as expected you have two heart tricks.        You thus play H10 at trick 1 and win HA over East's HQ.       The bidding tells you that West is long in clubs and likely long hearts as well and so the possibility that West has a singleton diamond or spade is strong.        If you go for spades breaking and they break badly then you can be prevented from enjoying a good break in diamonds as you have no certain entry therafter to dummy.         Therefore the best plan is to cash DK and if DQ is singleton, cash DJ, cross to SQ, cash DA and give up a diamond with SK as entry.      If the diamonds break 3-2  then you cross to DA and give up a diamond with SKQ as entry.         In either case you make  five diamonds, two spades, a heart and a club at least.      If the diamonds prove to be unsetupable then you cash SKQ and hope the spades break normally 3-2 with CA as entry for your four spade tricks making six spades, two diamonds, a heart and a club at least.

 

Hand for 7th August 2021:

                                                   North:       S       A   6   3   2

                                                                    H       A   8   5

                                                                    D       A   Q  8

                                                                    C       Q   8   3

 

                                                   South:      S       K   5   4

                                                                    H       Q   7

                                                                    D       K   6   2

                                                                    C       A   K   J  9  2

 

You open 1C, West overcalls 1H, partner doubles for take-out, you rebid 1NT, partner invites slam with 4NT and you accept with 6NT.       West leads SQ.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 5th August 2021:

      The bidding and lead tell you that East probably hash CAQJ10x(x) plus HAQ or at least HA so you are in danger of losing a club, a diamond and two hearts.      The best plan is to set up dummy's diamonds assuming they break normally (3-2).      The trouble is that if West wins the third round of diamonds a heart switch may defeat the contract straightaway.      An alternative plan is to play CK at trick 1 losing to CA and instead of ruffing the club continuation discard a diamond and ruff the third top club high with SA, cash SKQ, cash DAK, ruff a diamond with SJ and cross to S10 to discard two hearts on D85.       If all is well you end up just losing two clubs and one heart.

 

Hand for 6th August 2021:

                                                     North:       S       K  Q

                                                                       H       J  10  2

                                                                       D       A   7   6   5   4   3

                                                                       C       8   3

 

                                                     South:       S       A   8   6   5   4   2 

                                                                       H       A   3

                                                                       D       K   J

                                                                       C       A   J   4

 

You open 1S, West overcalls 2C, partner bids 2D, you rebid 2NT and partner raises to 3NT.       West leads H4.

Plan the play.

 

      The bidding tells you that East has DQJxxx(x) so may be short in spades plus probably CK.       The best plan therfore is to win DK at trick 1, draw trumps with HAK, cash SAK & DA and lead D10 and discard your losing spade as East wins DQ.       If East can exit with a third spade, you ruff and hope that spades are 3-3 when you can throw CJ on the thirteenth spade.        If East has only two spades then he or she is end-played to either give you two club tricks or a ruff and discard when you throw a club from hand and ruff in the dummy.

 

Hand for 5th August 2021:

                                                    North:       S       10  6  2

                                                                      H        K  8

                                                                      D        A  K  8  5  4

                                                                      C        K  8  4

 

                                                    South:       S        A  K  Q  J  8  5

                                                                      H        J   7   4

                                                                      D        7   3   2

                                                                      C        5

 

Partner opens 1NT, East bids an intermediate jump overcall of 3C and you bid 4S.      West leads C9.     Plan the play.  

Analysis for 3rd August 2021:

      East has opened 2H on a very poor suit and so is likely to have a seven card suit plus either DK plus one or both of CAK.      With four spades, three hearts and DA you only need to generate one extra trick.       If you lose a diamond to East you will go down if West has CAJ9x or CKJ9x.        Therefore the best play is to cash DA aftert winning HA at trick 1 in case East has a singleton DK.       Note leading DQ from hand does not promote a third diamond trick and you are safe from losing four clubs if West wins DK.       When DK drops you just cash out for an overtrick.

 

Hand for 4th August 2021:  

                                                     North:        S       K   7   6   5

                                                                        H       J   9   8   3

                                                                        D       A  10  9

                                                                        C       A  10

 

                                                    South:         S       A   3  2

                                                                        H       A   K  Q  10  7  2

                                                                        D       K   4

                                                                        C       Q   J

 

You open a Benji 2C, partner bids 2D, West doubles for a diamond lead, you rebid 2H, partner jumps to 4NT (RKCB) , you respond 5C (3 "Aces") and partner signs off with 6H.East opens a weak 2H, you bid a strong 2NT and partner raises to 3NT.       West leads D3.       Plan the play. 

Analysis for 2nd August 2021:

       The contract is straightforward if the trumps are 3-2 or 4-1 with a singleton Jack but the bidding tells you that trumps 4-1 is a distinct possibility.       The normal way to play trumps with this combination is to cash HAK and if West shows out you can take the marked finesse of H10 and not lose a trick.       However having ruffed the first heart you are in danger of being defeated if West has HJxxx as careful defence will result in West ruffing the fourth round of clubs denying you the fifth round winner.      Therefore the best way to play the hand is first cash SAQ at tricks 2 & 3 and if either hand has SJx left you continue by playing top clubs until the defence ruffs in, win the next trick with DA or a spade ruff with the last trump and finally cross to HK in order to discard one of your diamond losers on the fifth club.

 

Hand for 4th August 2021:

                                                    North:       S       Q  J  7  3

                                                                      H       A  4

                                                                      D       A  8  4  3   2

                                                                      C       6  3

 

                                                    South:       S       A  K  9 

                                                                      H       K  Q  J

                                                                      D       Q  J   6

                                                                      C       Q 10  8  7

 

East opens a weak 2H, you bid a strong 2NT and partner raises to 3NT.        West leads H5.         Plan the play.

Analysis for 1st August 2021:

        The bidding tells you that East has both minor Aces in addition to the missing spade honours.       So you start with Two spade winners and a spade ruff on the table with H2 and lead a diamond to East's D10 and your DQ.       With five trump winners in addition to the first four tricks all you need is one more diamond winner.      If trumps are 3-3 you have no problems if the diamonds are 3-2.     However you should consider what would happen if East has DA109 and West DJx and you try a low diamond from hand at trick 5.     Then West will win DJ and switch to CJ, forcing you to ruff the second round of clubs and you will have lost control if trumps break 4-2 with the odds as you cannot lose a third diamond to East's Ace without CA forcing a trump winner for the defence.       The safe way to play the hand is thus to exit with DK  at trick 5.       West can win DA but H9 is there to take care of a spade force and CK is there to stop you being forced in clubs so you have the tempo to give up a third diamond trick provided the suit breaks normally, i.e. 3-2.        You just need to draw trumps in four rounds and cash a fourth round of diamonds.

 

Hand for 2nd August 2021:

                                                    North:      S      K   7   4

                                                                     H      8   7   4

                                                                     D      3   2

                                                                     C      Q  J   8  3   2

 

                                                    South:      S      A  Q  10  6  5

                                                                     H      Void

                                                                     D      A   6   5   4

                                                                     C      A   K  10  9

 

East opens a weak 2H, you double, partner bids 3C, you bid 3S and partner raises to 4S.      West leads HA.

Plan the play.

Analysis for 31st July 2021:

      Having lost (fortunately only) two clubs you cannot make your contract if you lose a spade and a trump.       If you try the spade finesse and it fails the best chance is to assume that trumps are 3-2 with West holding HQx or HQxx.      Therefore it is prudent to first finesse the SQ at trick 4.        When it wins you can afford to make a safety play in trumps by cashing HK and then leading H2, playing H9 if East follows, otherwise play HA and follow with H6.        This manoevre guarantees only one loser in trumps if either East or West has HQ10xx.

 

Hand for 1st August 2021:

                                                  North:       S       8   5

                                                                    H       9   2

                                                                    D       8   5   4   2

                                                                    C       K   8   5   4   3

 

                                                  South:       S       A   Q   6

                                                                    H       A   K   Q   J   10

                                                                    D       K   Q   5    4    3

                                                                    C        2

 

East opens 1S, you double for take-out, partner bids 2C, you jump to 3H and partner raises to 4H.      West leads S4.

Plan the play. 

Analysis for 30th July 2021:

       The bidding and play so far indicate that West has HA10742 precisely (since H3 in in dummy) plus singleton DK and presumably at least one club honour as well.     You would have had an easy ride if West held DKx(x) but instead you try CA and another.      This runs to C10 from dummy and East exits with H9 after winning CK.       West wins HA and clears the hearts by leading H2, dummy winning HQ.      Now cashing DQ puts pressure on West and when a spade is thrown rather than a club you know the initial shape was 4-5-1-3 and you know SQKA will draw the remaining opposition spades and S10 will give you your ninth trick.     If a club was thrown on DQ you have a guess whether to finesse S10 or play for the drop but you should probably play for the latter as the overcall on 10hcp would be more likely than 9hcp including a poor suit and a singleton King.

 

Hand for 31st July 2021:

                                                North:       S      A  Q  2

                                                                  H      K  J  4  2

                                                                  D      K  J  5

                                                                  C       4  3  2

 

                                               South:        S       J 10 4

                                                                  H       A  9  6  5

                                                                  D       A  Q 3

                                                                  C       Q  9  8

You open a weak 1NT, partner bids 2C (Stayman), East doubles for a club lead, you bid 2H and partner raises to 4H.

West leads C6 and East plays CAK10 but fortunately West follows to all three rounds.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 29th July 2021:

          The 3-Nil trump break is not unexpected given East's bidding on such a poor hand.        However the fact that East must have CK for the opening bid makes the contract a certainty.        You cash a second round of trumps, cash SA, cross to SK, discard a spade on DK, ruff a spade, finesse CQ, ruff a fourth round of spades and exit with a trump.      East either has to give you a ruff and discard when you ruff in dummy throwing a club from hand and ruff a club for your twelfth trick.       Otherwise if East exits with a club you run it to your CJ.

Hand for 30th July 2021:

                                                   North:       S     Q   2

                                                                     H     Q  J   3

                                                                     D     Q  6   4  2

                                                                     C     J  10  4  3

 

                                                  South:        S     A  K  10 5

                                                                     H     K   8   6

                                                                     D     A   9   5  3

                                                                     C     A   7

 

You open 1D, West overcalls 1H, partner raises to 2D, you invite game with 2NT and partner raises to 3NT.

West leads H4 which runs to your HK.  You cash CA , lead C7 to dummy's C10 and CK from East who exits with H9.  Plan the play.

Analysis for 28th July 2021:

       The spade finesse unexpectedly losing was a bitter blow as you have now lost three tricks and cannot afford a diamond loser as well.       The only hope left is to hope that East has the three trumps and so you can squeeze West in the minors and so you must risk cashing your last two spade winners (discarding D3) and then lead a trump to your HJ.      You now hold just DQ10 and H8 and dummy holds DA8 & C6 with West holding C10 & DKJ.      When you cash your last trump (H8) West has no answer (a) If a club is thrown dummy ditches D8 and DA & C6 win the last two tricks and (b) if a diamond is thrown dummy ditches C6 and DK falls under DA so you win the last trick with DQ.

 

Hand for 29th July 2021:

                                                   North:       S      A  8   6

                                                                     H      A  K  7  5  4  3

                                                                     D      J

                                                                     C      J   6  5

 

                                                   South:       S      K   5  4  3

                                                                     H       9   8  6  2

                                                                     D       A  K

                                                                     C       A  Q  9

 

East opens a weak 1NT, partner doubles, West rescues to 2D, partner cue-bids 3D, you bid 3H, partner bids 4H, you bid 4NT (RKCB), partner responds 5C (3 "Aces"), you bid 5D and raise partner's signoff of 5H to 6H.  

West leads D7 to DJQA and discards D2 on HA.    Plan the play. 

Analysis for 27th July 2021:

        The only danger to your contract as the trumps are not 5-Nil on the opening lead is if West holds all three missing clubs and DA is off-side.        However all you need to do is draw trumps (in four rounds if necessary) and lead specifically C9 and duck if West plays CJ or C10.        If East wins and switches to diamonds you only can lose two diamonds and one club as CA will draw the remaining outstanding club.       If West shows out on the first club you merely play Ace and another setting up the clubs and again you only have three possible losers.       If East shows out on the first club and exits with a spade you play Ace and another club (following with C89) giving West a second club trick but effecting an end-play since a spade lead sets up a spade trick in dummy to discard D4 using C5 overtaking with C6 as entry to dummy.        Otherwiser a diamond exit by West gives you a trick with DK.  

 

Hand for 28th July 2021:

                                                North:      S      A  K  J  9

                                                                 H     Q 10  6

                                                                 D      A  8

                                                                 C      K  Q  6  5

 

                                                South:      S     10  4  3

                                                                  H     K   J  9  8  4

                                                                  D     Q  10 3

                                                                  C      4   3

 

Partner opens 1C, you respond 1H, West butts in with 2D, partner doubles for take-out, you bid 2NT, partner bids 3H and you settle for 4H.      West leads CJ to CQA, East exits with C7 to West's C8 and your CK, HQ is won by West with HA, you ruff C10, cash HK(both opponents following), lead S10 which runs to East's SQ and win the S2 exit in dummy with SJ.       Plan the further play       

Analysis for 26th July 2021:

       You win the HA at trick 1 as the bidding tells you that this suit is breaking 1-5.     However the bidding also tells you that East holds DQ to justify a 1H overcall on such a poor suit.       So you cash SQA, finesse DQ, cash DA and ruff a diamond high before crossing to S10 and cashing your last two trumps (discarding  clubs from dummy).       With four cards left you hold H43 & CAJ in your hand with dummy holding HKJ9 & C6,        If East has only thrown one of his original five hearts you cash CA and lead a heart to dummy's H9 and when East wins this the forced heart exit runs to your major tenace in dummy.      If East has thrown two  diamonds when you cash your remaining trumps you also lead a diamond to D9 but win the spade exit with SA and cash HKJ as HQ will now drop under HK.

 

Hand for 27th July 2021:

                                               North:       S       Q   J   6

                                                                 H       K  10  8

                                                                 D        5   3

                                                                 C        A   6   4   3   2

 

                                               South:       S        A

                                                                 H        A   Q  J   9   5

                                                                 D        K   4

                                                                 C        Q   9   8   7  5

 

West opens 1NT,  East transfers with 2H, you double, West bis 2S, you bid 4C and partner bids 4H. 

West leads H6 and East follows with H3.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 25th July 2021

      The bidding tells you that the diamond suit is Nil-6 otherwise East would surely have led partner's overcalled suit.      So you win HA at trick 1 but must draw trumps straightaway with SAQ - they turn out to be 2-2 - and ruff a heart.      When you cross to CK and ruff another heart East follows and you thus know  East's shape is 2-3-6-2.      You cross to CA stripping East of clubs and lead a diamond covering East's card so D8 will win unless East splits DKQ when you win DA.       Now in either case a diamond to North's D10 end-plays East who can win and give you a marked finesse in diamonds or a ruff and discard which you ruff in hand and discard a diamond from dummy, eventually ruffing your diamond loser in dummy.

 

Hand for 26th July 2021:

                                                North:       S      A  K  5  3

                                                                  H      A  K  J  9

                                                                  D      4   2

                                                                  C      6   3  2

 

                                                South:       S      Q  J 10 7  2

                                                                  H      4   3  2

                                                                  D      A  Q  3

                                                                  C      A   J

 

Playing 5 card majors, partner opens 1C, East overcalls 1H, you bid 1S, partner jumps to 3S and you sign off in 4S.

West leads D8.       Plan the play.            

Analysis for 24th July 2021:

        With six trumps and Ace and an Ace-King your tenth trick should come from a spade ruff in the dummy.        However if you let East win trick 1 and switch to a trump yhe defence will be able to prevent you ruffing a spade by playing trumps at every opportunity.        It is therfore right to rise with DA at trick 1 and lead a spade.        Now the defence cannot stop you ruffing a spade as you can ruff a third diamond high or win CK and exit with a second spade.       The nine top tricks and a spade ruff add up to ten tricks and you fulfil your contract.

 

Hand for 25th July 2021:

                                                North:       S       A  Q  9  8

                                                                  H      10  5  2

                                                                  D      10  5  4

                                                                  C       A  K  2

 

                                                South:       S       K  J  10  7  6

                                                                  H       A

                                                                  D       A   J   8  2

                                                                  C       8   5   4

 

East opens 1D, you overcall 1S, partner cue-bids 2D, you bid 2NT and partner jumps to 4S.        West leads HJ.

Plan the play. 

Analysis for 23rd July 2021:

       You naturally duck SQ lead to cut the defence's communications but there is no value in ducking a second spade allowing a switch to hearts so you win SA at trick 2.         Now the simple way home is to unblock CAK and exit with a spade.        West can cash two spade winners but any subsequent exit allows you entry to dummy to claim ten tricks and an overtrick.

 

Hand for 24th July 2021:

                                                North:       S       J   5

                                                                  H       A 10  6

                                                                  D       A   8  5  2

                                                                  C       A   5  4  3 

 

                                                South:       S      10  9  8

                                                                  H       K  Q  J  9  8  7

                                                                  D       J  10

                                                                  C       K   J

 

You open 1H, West overcalls 1S, partner doubles for take-out, East bids 2S, you bid 3H and partner raises to 4H.

West leads D6.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 22nd July 2021:

      The bidding and lead tell you that West has SKJxxx(x) so there is no point ducking the first spade and might indeed lose a tempo which enables the defence to switch to trumps to attack dummy's entries.      You should win SA and take an immediate diamond finesse.        When it unexpectedly loses to DK, West leads S6 to East's SJ and exits with a trump.       However, you still have the time to play for split honours in diamonds as you can win a trump exit in hand, cash DA, cross to CK and lead D10 for a ruffing finesse.       You can thus discard your losing third heart on D9 and just lose two tricks to exactly fulfil your contrac.

Hand for 23rd July 2021:

                                                 North:       S       A  4   3

                                                                   H      Q  J

                                                                   D      J  10

                                                                   C      Q  J  10 8  7  5

                                                 South:       S      6   5   4

                                                                    H     A   7   5

                                                                    D     A   K   4  3  2

                                                                    C     A   K

You open 1D, West overcalls 1H, partner bids 2C and you rebid 3NT.    West leads SQ, following with S2 to East's SK.  Plan the play. 

Analysis for 21st July 2021:

      You are in danger of losing two trumps if the hearts are not 2-2, a club and a diamond if you misguess whether East or West has DQ.        West appears to have most of the hcp to justify the 1S overcall but you should plan to avoid this guess.        You should win CA at trick 1, cash HA and SAK, ruff a spade and exit with your second club.       Whoever wins this trick is end-played and if West wins and exits with a winning spade you ruff in dummy and if East can overruff you restrict your trump loser(s) to one only and obviously a red suit exit by West will similarly cut your possiblr losers by one.        If East wins the second club you just cover East's red suit exit and restrict your losers  in either suit by one.

Hand for 22nd July 2021:

                                                  North:       S        A  Q  7

                                                                    H       10  9  3

                                                                    D       10  9  3   2

                                                                    C        K  Q  3

 

                                                  South:       S        10  9

                                                                    H          A  K  2

                                                                    D          A  Q

                                                                    C          A  J  10 9  8  2

 

You open 1C, partner responds 1D, East butts in with 1S, you bid 3C, parner bids 4C and you raise to game with 5C.

West leads S5.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 20th July 2021:

         The diamond switch seems to indicate that East has DKQ as well as Jxx and West therefore has SK to justify an opening 1H bid.      You do not want West to exit in clubs at a late stage and force you to lead a diamond off the table.       So you should start the trumps by leading SQ from hand and sure enough East discards a club.        However you think West's likely distribution is 4-6-1-2 and you should cash CAK before leading a trump to SA and exiting with SJ.       West cannot do anything bettewr than exiting with a heart and you ruff, cash S10 and you are just left with trumps and a winning club.

 

Hand for 20th July 2021:

                                                  North:       S      A  K  2

                                                                    H      5   4  3

                                                                    D      A  J   6  5  3

                                                                    C      3   2

 

                                                  South:       S      4   3

                                                                     H     A   Q  9  8  7  6

                                                                     D     K  10  4

                                                                     C     A   4

 

You open 1H, West overcalls 1S, partner bids 2D, East bids 2S, you bid 3H and partner bids 4H.      West leads CK (East playing CJ).        Plan the play.

Analysis for 19th July 2021:

      If trumps are 2-2 you have an easy thirteen tricks.        However when the opposition bid vulnerable at the two-level on minimal values you should expect bad breaks and plan accordingly.        You cannot prevail if West has all four missing trumps but there is a safety play available if East has all four of them.       You should start by winning HK(discarding DK), cashing HA(discarding DA) and lead a trump from dummy playing S9 if East follows with S8.       If this wins you cash SAK and run winners until East ruffs in making twelve tricks.       If it loses then SAK will draw the remaining trumps unless the clubs are 5-Nil and you lose a ruff.       If East plays an honour on the first round of trumps you cover, cross to C10 and lead a second spade, winning as cheaply as possible and cross to CK to play a third trump towards your S97 and East can only make one trump trick.

 

Hand for 20th July 2021:

                                                North:      S       3  2

                                                                 H       5  4

                                                                 D       A  J  10   8  6  4

                                                                 C       A  K  Q

 

                                               South:       S       A  Q  J  10  8  7  6

                                                                 H       Q  3

                                                                 D       3

                                                                 C       J  10 9

 

West opens 1H, partner overcalls 2D, East bids 2H and you bid 4S.       West cashes HAK and exits with D5.

Plan the play.

Analysis for 18th July 2021:

    You routinely duck the second spade and win the HA exhausting West of the suit.        However for reasons explained below you must discard a heart, say HA (for style) on the SA.        To make your contract you need to bring in the diamond suit and four diamonds, three hearts and SA & CA add upp to nine tricks and your contract.       Although you expect DQ to be with the spade overcall, you intend finessing into the 'safe' hand (West) anyway as the defence cannot then cash spade winners.      Therefore you cross to DA, cash HKQ and lead DJ.       If East covers with DQ then dummy's D10 will block the run of the suit but instead of continuing diamonds you simply cash HJ (discarding the blocking D10) and cash D98 and the black Aces for an overtrick.         You obvioisly have no problems on any 3-2 diamond break if DJ is allowed to hold.

 

Hand for 19th July 2021:

                                                  North:        S        4   3   2

                                                                     H        A  K

                                                                     D        Q  8   7   6   3

                                                                     C        K 10  2

 

                                                  South:        S        A  K   9   7   6   5

                                                                     H        Void

                                                                     D        A  K

                                                                     C        A  Q   J   5   3

 

West opened a weak 2H, you double after 2 passes, partner bids 2NT, you bid 3S, partner bids 4S & you jump to 6S. 

West leads HQ.      Plan the play.

Analysis for 17th July 2021:

      You appear to be in danger of losing a club, a diamond and two top trumps.     The best plan is to try and lose a trick to East when holding a doubleton honour in trumps and only hearts left and therefore is forced to concede a ruff-and-discard.     So you start with a trump at trick 2 after winning HA.     West wins SA bare and leads DQ (East discarding a heart as SK would be ruffing a loser) and so you win DK and lead CK.     West wins and leads a second diamond but you win DA (East discarding another heart), ruff a club, cash HK, ruff a heart, ruff a club and exit with a second round of trumps and East has to lead a heart or a club allowing you to ruff in dummy and discard your third losing diamond from hand.

 

Hand for 18th July 2021:

                                                North:      S      5   3

                                                                 H      A  K  Q

                                                                 D      A 10  9

                                                                 C      A  J  10  3  2

 

                                                South:      S      A  8   7

                                                                 H      J  10  3

                                                                 D      K  J   8  7  6

                                                                 C      5   4

 

Partner opens 1C, East overcalls 1S, you bid 1NT, partner raises to 2NT and you bid 3NT.        West leads S9.

Plan the play.

 
Analysis for 16th July 2021:

        If the spades break normally, viz. 3-2 you can throw a spade on the third top heart and ruff the third round of the suit in order to discard your second diamond on the fourth round spade winner.        However if spades are 4-1 you will prevail if the hand with four spades also holds DK so the play is to run all your trumps except one (discarding a spade and a diamond) and cah HAKQ (discarding a spade) and play SKA.       If either opponent discards on SA, you cash DA (dropping DK if the same opponent has four spades & DK), ruff a spade back to hand and cash DQ.       If both opponents follow to SA you persue the original plan and ruff a spade, cross to DA and discard DQ on the winning S8.

 

Hand for 17th July 2021:

                                               North:      S      10  8  6  5  4

                                                                H       K  9  4

                                                                D        8  6  4  3

                                                                C       10

 

                                               South:      S        Q  J   9  7  2

                                                                H         A  5

                                                                D         A  K  9

                                                                C         K  8  4

 

East opens a weak 2H, you make a strong 2NT overcall, partner transfers with 3H and you jump to 4S.

West leads H8.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 15th July 2021:

      You ruff the first heart and cash SKA noting that East shows up with two trumps and test the clubs with CAK.        If the clubs are 3-2 you just take the diamond finesse for an overtrick.       If West turns up with four clubs you just concede the fourth round and West has to either lead into your major tenace in diamonds or give you a ruff and discard enabling you to discard a diamond from one hand and ruff in the other and then ruff the third round of diamonds to make your slam.      If East turns up with four clubs all you need to do is cash DAK and exit with a club end-playing East.       This is because East's shape is known to be 2-6-1-4 and you simply discard a diamond from one hand and ruff the heart exit in the other hand.

 

                     

Hand for 16th July 2021:

                                                North:      S      A  8  7  4  2

                                                                 H      A K  Q

                                                                 D      A  7

                                                                 C      5  4   3

 

                                                 South:     S      K  6  3 

                                                                  H      5  3

                                                                  D      Q  4

                                                                  C      A  K  Q  J  10  9

 

You open 1C, West overcalls 1D, partner bids 1S, you jump to 3C, partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond (2 Aces + KQ), partner bids 5NT and bids 7C over your 6D (1 King).       West leads C6 (East following).

Plan the play.

Analysis for 14th July 2021:

      The bidding tells you that all the suits are breaking badly and you will need a degree of luck to persevere.      With East holding at least 5 diamonds and hearts and hopefully two spades otherwise the 5-1 trump break will kill you, it means that at most a singleton club is held so you are in danger of a club ruff as well as DA being ruffed if you don't take it at trick 1.      If you start on the trumps however the first round will be ducked by the defence and losing the second round exposes you to three diamond losers!        It's best to play and hearts by lead HQ and hopefully East has just one of the missing heart honours to go along with DKQJ.       Either you ruff out East's top heart and lead SK or West has a problem on winning HK when you throw a club on HQ (loser on loser).      West cannot lead a diamond and a heart spears East's HA so you win a club exit and lead SK.      West can win SA and give East a club ruff but cannot stop you from ruffing a diamond on the table with S9, not making your contract but you don't overbid on the next hand at least! 

 

Hand for 15th July 2021:

                                                North:      S      K  Q  9  5  3

                                                                 H      2

                                                                 D      9   7  3

                                                                 C      K  Q  5  4

 

                                                South:      S      A  J  10 9  4  2

                                                                 H      Void

                                                                 D      A  K   J

                                                                 C      A   6   3  2

 

East opens a weak 2H, you jump to 4S, partner bids 4NT (RKCB) and jumps to 6S over your 5C response.

West leads H5 to East's HQ.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 13th July 2021:

       The contract is not good and you need some luck with a favourable distribution of the side-suits.      The bidding tells you that West has HQJ10xx plus probably the SK to justify the vulnerable overcall and HQ lead.      You have no problems if the clubs are 3-3 but that is against the odds so you initially plan to just cash two rounds of clubs and two rounds of trumps and lead towards your CQ hoping that whoever had the short clubs also had short trumps.     However there is an extra chance available to this plan of dropping SK doubleton with West which is quite possible with the heart holding held.     The best plan is thus to win HA lead, play DA, cross to D9 and ruff a spade.        When SK falls you cross to DK (drawing the last outstanding trumps if 3-2), discard a heart on SQ and claim an overtrick if the clubs are 3-3.       Were the trumps 4-1 then you can cash DK, CA, DQ, HK, SQ (discarding a heart) and then try the clubs for an overtrick.

 

Hand for 14th July 2021:

                                               North:      S       9  2

                                                                H      Q  J  10  3

                                                                D      A   5   2

                                                                C      A   K  Q   7  

 

                                               South:      S      K  Q   J  10  3

                                                                H      Void                                                                                                                                       

                                                                D      10  7   4   3

                                                                C       9   5   4   3

 

Partner opens 1C,  East overcalls 2NT (Unusual, both red suits 5/5+), you bid 3S and partner bids 4S.

West leads D6.       Plan the play.      

Analysis for 12th July 2021:

       The trump break is disappointing but the bidding tells you that West has DJ10xxxx and probably a club honour or two but just one of the top heart honours (else HAK may have been led.     It is thus necessary to play on hearts (as one opposition ruff will be with East's natural trump trick) and you can prevail if all you lose is two hearts and one trump.     You win SJ and must avoid playing your winning diamonds too early as you know from the bidding that East has only two as West has six and so you lead H6 towards dummy.      If East wins a top heart and leads a heart to West to obtain a ruff, you can just cross to DQ to take a trump finesse, draw a third round of trumps and eventually ruff a fourth round of hearts in dummy.      If West wins a top heart and exits with diamonds you finesse the SQ, cash SA & CAK and discard a club on DK.       East can ruff in or wait until HQ loses to East and cash a top trump but North has the 13th trump and HJ for ten tricks.

 

Hand for 13th July 2021:

                                                North:       S       Q  7  6  2

                                                                  H       A  K  3

                                                                  D       K  9   2

                                                                  C       6   3   2

 

                                                South:       S       A

                                                                  H       7   6   4

                                                                  D       A  Q  J  10  3

                                                                  C       A  K  Q   5

 

You open 1D, West overcalls 1H, partner makes a negative double, you jump to 3C, partner bids 3D, you bid 3H, partner bids 4NT (RKCB) and over your 5C response jumps to 6D.       West leads HQ.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 11th July 2021:

      The bidding tells you that West has long spades headed by SKQ and probably the HK to justify a vulnerable two level bid so the simple method of the heart finesse for your twelfth trick is not a good idea.       You should aim to end-play West to lead away from the HK.      Therefore you should start by winning SA and ruff a low spade with C10 before drawing trumps in two or three rounds as necessary.         Now cash DAKQ and lead SJ, discarding H2, a loser on loser play.      West can win SQ but then has to either lead a heart into your major tenace or lead another side-suit which you ruff in dummy and discard HQ from hand.

 

Hand for 12th July 2021:

                                               North:       S      8  6  5  4  2

                                                                 H     Q  J  2

                                                                 D     A  Q

                                                                 C     6   3  2

 

                                               South:       S     A  Q  J  3

                                                                 H     6   5   4  3

                                                                 D     K  6   2

                                                                 C     A  K

 

West opens a weak 2D, you bid a natural strong 2NT after two passes, partner transfers with 3H and you jump to 4S.      West leads DJ and you win DA and lead S4 to SJ (West discarding D4).       Plan the play.

Analysis for 10th July 2021:

       When the oppoosition open the bidding on minimal values you can expect bad breaks to your suits and the fact that a spade was led suggests at leadt five are held as the suit is so poor.       Also West might have started hearts holding HAK but is likely to hold four or five hearts because of the sub-minimum strength of the opener (Major suits are more important too get into the bidding).       You have no problems if you can guarantee five club tricks so the best plan is to eschew the free S10 spade trick and rise with SQ and lead a club to the C10 unless East plays the Jack.       This proves to be a good investment as West throws a diamond and you cash CA, cross to DA, run four more club tricks and two more spades for an overtrick.     Note you cannot afford to lose a club trick to East if East holds HK9x as H9 lead through your holding and a further heart after winning the second round with HA allows the defence to take four or five heart tricks to defeat your contract.

 

Hand for 11th July 2021:

                                                North:      S      A   J   3

                                                                 H     10  8   4

                                                                 D      Q  5   3

                                                                 C      9   7   6  5

 

                                                South:      S      2

                                                                 H      A  Q   2

                                                                 D      A  K  10

                                                                 C      A  K   Q  J  10 8

 

You open an artificial game-forcing 2D, West butts in with 2S, passed round to your 3C, partner raises to 4C, you cue-bid 4D, partner cue-bids 4S and you jump to 6C.        West leadss SK.        Plan the play. 

Analysis for 9th July 2021:

      The bidding tells you that East has five spades but not necessarily both SK & SQ.      The normal play on the lead is S7 to guarantee a trick with SJ or S10 but that is not the whole story.      If East pays a spade honour at trick 1 and you play on clubs, East will win the second round and exit with a spade to dummy's SJ locking you in dummy and the defence is a tempo ahead and you are unlikely to come to nine tricks.     The best plan is to play SJ at trick 1 and win SA over East's SQ.      East will continue spades if you duck the first spade but if you win SA and knock out the CA you expect that the defence will give you your ninth trick with DQ or S10 in order to reach your three winning clubs.

 

Hand for 10th July 2021:

                                                North:      S      K  Q  6  5

                                                                 H      3

                                                                 D      A

                                                                 C      K  Q  9  8  7  6  2

 

                                               South:       S      A 10  4

                                                                 H      Q 10  7  6

                                                                 D      J   6   5  4

                                                                 C      A  10

 

West opens 1S, partner jumps to 3C (Intermediate) and you bid 3NT.       West leads S5.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 8th July 2021:

         When the opposition bid vulnerable at the two-level or above on minimal values you can bet your bottom dollar that they have plenty of shape.      You can tell from the bidding on this hand that West has at least five spades and five hearts and two trumps unless holding 6-5 shape as the club lead is an obvious singleton.    (a)  If East has DA, then West will give West a diamond ruff and be able to cash a heart to defeat the contract unless the shape is 6/5-1-1.       (b) If West has DA, a heart lead to East's HA or HK will allow West to obtain a club ruff for one off.       (a) is more likely as West would probably have led a top heart holding HAK and so the best plan is to win the club lead, cash SK, overtake SQ with SA and lead S10 discarding HQ when as likely from the Michaels' intervention  West has SJ.      You can then ruff West's heart exit and force out DA and you will make your contract if West has DA as expected or West has started with only one trump.       This manoevre is called a Scissors Coup, named by the late bridge great Terence Reese owing to it snipping the defence's communications with each other.      

Hand for 9th July 2021:

                                               North:      S       J   7

                                                                H      A  Q  5  4  2

                                                                D      A   7  5  4

                                                                C      Q  4

 

                                               South:      S      A  10  6

                                                                H      J    7

                                                                D      Q   8   6

                                                                C      K   J  10  9  8

 

Partner opens 1H, East overcalls 1S, you bid 2C, partner bids 2D, you bid 2NT and partner raises to 3NT.

West leads S4.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 7th July 2021:

     With a likely two spades plus a club to lose you are reliant on no loser in both trumps and diamonds.       You win SA and realise that you need East to hold HK and CAK if DK is off-side as East has not got a second spade to lead to his partner's two spade winners.      If trumps are 2/1 any trump lead at trick 2 will suffice but if East has HK108 you need to lead HJ.        If East covers to win HA and lead D9.        West may cover with DK but you win DA and lead H2 to your H9, cash HA & DQJ and lead H4 to dummy's H5 to discard a black suit loser on D10, thus making a well-deserved overtrick.

 

Hand for 8th July 2021:

                                               North:       S      A  10 5

                                                                 H      5   4  3

                                                                 D      9   8  7

                                                                 C      K  Q 10 9

 

                                               South:       S      K  Q

                                                                 H      Q

                                                                 D      K  Q  J 10 6  5

                                                                 C      A   J  7  2

 

You open 1D, West cue-bids 2D (Michaels', both majors at least 5-5), partner bids 2S (showing a stop), you rebid 4D and partner raises to game with 5D.       West leads C3.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 6th July 2021:

        The contract is secure if the clib side-suit breaks normally, i.e. 3/2.       However the bidding tells you that bad breaks are likely so you should ruff the DK lead (carefully with H5) and start on the clubs by cashing CK and leading CQ.       If either hand ruffs you cash HAK drawing the remaining outstanding trumps (even if they originally broke 3-Nil), following with H67 and can then set up the club suit by a ruff with H8 and lead H2 to dummy's H3 in order to cash CA76 (discarding S34Q).

 

Hand for 7th July 2021:

                                               North:      S      A  7  4

                                                                H      J  5  3  2

                                                                D      A 10 8  7

                                                                C      Q  J

 

                                              South:       S      5  3  2

                                                                H      A Q  9  7  6  4

                                                                D      Q J  9

                                                                C      6

 

You open a weak 2H, West overcalls 2S and partner raise you to 4H.      West leads SK (East following with SJ).

Plan the play.

Analysis for 5th July 2021:

       The bidding tells you that West holds SK & CK in addition to the DA lead and presumably the lead is a singleton owing to the potentially dangerous heart switch.        Hopefully West with long spades will not have four hearts as well and you should play for a partial elimination and throw-in.        You carefully follow to DA with D5, cash HA & HK, ruff a heart high, lead D6 to dummy's DQ (drawing the outstanding trump) and lead S10, discarding a club when East cannot cover.       West has to lead a black suit and either (a) a spade allows you to take the marked finesse of SQ in order to discard CQ4 on SAQ or (b) a club exit allows you to win CAQ, lead D2 to dummy's D3 and discard C4 on SA.

 

Hand for 6th July 2021:

                                              North:       S       6  5

                                                                H      A  K  3

                                                                D      10 4

                                                                C       A  7  6  5  4  2

 

                                              South:       S       A  Q  4  3

                                                                H      10  9  8  7  6 5  2

                                                                D       Void

                                                                C       K  Q

 

West pre-empts 3D, you bid 4H after two passes, partner bids 4NT (RKCB) and bids 6H over your 5D response.

West leads DK.       Plan the play.

 

Analysis for 4th July 2021:

       The bidding tells you that East has HSJxxx(x) and you hope the H9 lead is a singleton and duck the first round in both hands.        Note that it is a losing play to play H10 from dummy at trick 1 as then you have no chaance of avoiding an inconvenient heart continuation holding only HAK as  entries to your hand.       However, West continues with a heart which you win perforce with HK.      The bidding tells you that East also probably has  CA as the heart suit is only HQJxxx.        Although it seems that your only winning option is to play West for CJ, it does you no good to run C10 as  East will win CA and knock out HA leaving you with only two club tricks (CKQ) as you have no way of reaching hand to cash C98.       Your only chance therefore is to play West for CJx doubleton and play CQ at trick 3 and follow with CK when East correctly ducks.       When CJ drops you have four clubs, two hearts, two top spades and DA for nine tricks and your contract.


Hand for 5th July 2021:

                                              North:        S      A  Q  10

                                                                 H      A  K   5  2

                                                                 D      K  Q   3

                                                                 C      6   5   3

 

                                              South:        S      Void

                                                                 H      9   6

                                                                 D      J  10  9  7  6  5  2

                                                                 C      A  Q   4  2

 

West opens 1S, partner overcalls a strong 1NT and you jump to 5D.          West cashes DA and switches to H7.      Plan the play.

Analysis for 3rd July 2021:

          It looks as if you have to set up tour heart suit via a finesse and a couple of hesrt ruffs but the best plan is to win CK and lead C4 hoping that West's lead is not a singleton and then play on a high cross-ruff.      If West follows to the second club you just need to win CA, cash SA & HA and cross ruff hearts and spades knowing you cannot be overruffed.

 

Hand for 4th July 2021:

                                              North:      S       A  K  9

                                                               H      10 5  3

                                                               D       A  J  4  2

                                                               C       K Q  2

 

                                             South:       S       8  2

                                                               H       A  K  6

                                                               D       6   5  3

                                                               C      10  9  8  7  6

 

Partner opens 1D, East overcalls 1H, you bid 1NT, partner invites with 2NT and you bid 3NT.     

West leads H9.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 2nd July 2021:

     The bidding and play so far tells you that the hearts are 6-4 and West has DK or CK or both minor kings.       You can deduce from that that if the CK finesse works then so will the DK finesse and also that if the diamond finesse is wrong then the club finesse will also be wrong!        There are three plans to consider (a) Ruff at trick 2 and cash SAKQ.       If the trumps are 3-3 you then make either 11 or 12 tricks depending on where DK is positioned.  (b) ruff the second trick and lead S2 (losing to East probably) and winning the club exit, cashing SAKQ and relying on West holding DK and thus making 11 tricks.  (c) Discard a club on the second heart, winning the spade exit and cashing AKQ and leading another if the trumps are 4-2 and making ten tricks if DK is on-side.       It is unlikely that West - holding six hearts - has three spades as well and I think the choice is between line (b) and (c) and I give the vote to (c).

 

Hand for 3rd July 2021:

                                              North:      S       A  10  5  3  2

                                                               H      10

                                                               D       A  Q  J  8

                                                               C       A  5   2

 

                                             South:       S       9

                                                               H       A  Q   8  5  4

                                                               D       K  10  9  7

                                                               C       K   6   4

 

You open 1H, partner responds 1S, East overcalls 2C, you pass, partner cue-bids 3C, you bid 3D, partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5H and partner signs off with 6D.        West leads C7.       Plan the play.

                                                                                   

:.        

Analysis for 1st July 2021:

       You contract is a good one but when the opposition bids at the four level vulnerable you should expect exotic distribution and should plan your card play carefully.     When West leads HK not expecting many tricks in the suit it is unlikely that a singleton in one of the other two side-suits (although a void is possible in any suit including trumps).      You have two losing hearts and a possibly losing SJ and you cannot afford to ruff H3 with S8 as East is likely to overruff and exit with a trump leaving you with an inescapable heart loser.      The best plan is to win HA, ruff H3 with SA!, Cash CA, ruff a club and ruff H6 with S8.      If East can overruff you have to hope that West at least one diamond when you can win East's exit in hand and draw trumps.      The reason I played on clubs rather than diamonds is because West is more likely to hold CK than East owing to the positive 4H overcall.

 

Hand for 2nd July 2021:

                                               North:      S      7  5

                                                                H      J  2

                                                                D      A  Q  9  8  6  2

                                                                C      8   5  3

 

                                               South:      S      A  K  Q  6  2

                                                                 H     10

                                                                 D      J 10  3

                                                                 C      A  Q 10  4

 

West opens 1H, partner overcalls 2D, you jump to 3S and partner raises to 4S.       West leads HAK (East petering to show an even number).      Plan the play.    

Analysis for 30th June 2021:

      The bidding tells you that you are in danger of losing two diamonds and two spades with West almost certainly holding SA considering the spade overcall.      The best plan is to hope diamonds break normally (3-2) and set up two late diamond winners in order to discard two spades so that all you lose is two tricks.         Therefore you should start by ducking the opening HQ lead.  West can switch to a diamond but you win DA, cash HAK (discarding your last two diamonds), ruff a diamond high, cross to C9, ruff a diamond high, cross to c10, draw the outstanding trump (if necessary) with CQ and cash D108 (discarding S34).         All you lose is a heart and SA.

 

Hand for 1st July 2021:

                                               North:       S      A  8

                                                                 H      8

                                                                 D      7  6  4

                                                                 C      A  8  6  5  4  3  2

 

                                               South:       S      K  Q 10 9 7  6  5

                                                                 H      A   6   3

                                                                 D      A   K

                                                                 C      Q

 

You open a Benji 2C, West overcalls 4H, you bid 4S after two passes, partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5C, partner asks with 5D, you bid 5D (SQ & DK) and partner bids 6S.      West leads HK.      Plan the play. 

Analysis for 29th June 2021

        The bidding tells you that West has five or more spades and probably DK for the overcall but you should give yourself other chances.         You should win CQ, cross to H8 , cross to SA, cross to H9, cash CAK (discarding SJ), ruff a spade with HA, lead HQ to HK and lead a diamond, playing D8 if West does not play an honour and then claiming your contract since East will be end-played to either give you DAQ or lead a black suit allowing you to ruff in one hand and discard a diamond from the other.       If, however, West inserts D9 , D10 or DJ you win DA, cross back to HJ and lead a diamond which wins if West puts up DK or if East started with DKx doubleton when the above end-play similarly applies.

 

Hand for 30th June 2021:

                                                 North:       S      7   5

                                                                   H      A  K   6

                                                                   D      A  10  8  7  6

                                                                   C      Q  10  9

 

                                                 South:       S       K   6   3

                                                                    H       2

                                                                    D       5   3   2

                                                                    C       A   K  J  8  7  6

 

You open 1C, West overcalls 1S, partner bids 2D, East bids 2S, you bid 3C, partner cue-bids 3S and you setlle for 5C.

West leads HQ.       Plan the play. 

Analysis for 28th June 2021:

     You ruff the third diamond and lead a spade to SJ which holds.     You only appear to have problems if the trumps are 4-1 (a one in four chance, so you should plan ahead for this eventuality).     If West has four spades you will go down if you play a third round of trumps as a fourth round of diamonds will force you if dummy has no trump left but if East has the length a diamond lead will not be possible.     So lead S5 at trick 5 to your SK and continue with a low spade to SQ when West shows out.      East takes SA on the third round of trumps but can do no damage as you can win CA or HA and draw the last outstanding trump with S10 and cash your club & heart winners.    If East shows out on the second spade you can stil prevail as long as West has at least three hearts as SQ in dummy is available for the fourth round of hearts if West ruffs in.

 

Hand for 29th June 2021:

                                                 North:       S       A  J

                                                                   H       A  Q  10  7  4  2

                                                                   D       A  Q   8

                                                                   C       Q  2

 

                                                 South:       S       10  2

                                                                    H       K  J  9  8  6

                                                                    D        5  4  2

                                                                    C        A  K  9

 

You open 1H, West overcalls 1S, partner bids 4NT (RKCB) and bids 6H over your 5H response.       West leads CJ.

Plan the play.

Analysis for 27th June 2021:

The trap on today's hand is to draw trumps - you should virtually guarantee your contract by cross-ruffing and leaving clubs and trumps alone!         Win SA, ruff a spade low. cross to DA, ruff a spade high, cash DK, ruff a winning diamond, ruff a spade high, ruff a winning diamond, ruff a spade high and a high trump in dummy adds up to ten tricks.      East can ruff West's winning club trick at the end!

 

Hand for 28th June 2021:

                                                 North:       S       Q  J   5

                                                                   H       Q 10  4

                                                                   D        8  7   3

                                                                   C        K 10  7  6

 

                                                 South:       S        K 10  8  6  2

                                                                   H        A   K  J  7

                                                                   D         9   2

                                                                   C         A   3

You open 1S, West overcalls 2D, partner bids 2S, you invite game with 3S and partner raises to 4S.

West leads three top diamonds (East following upwards to all three rounds).      Plan the play.

Analysis for 23rd June 2021:

    The trump break is unfortunate but you should have no problem as you do not need to play the heart finesse which anyway appears to be wrong on the bidding.      You win SA, cash SK & CK, cross to CA, ruff a club, cross to DA, cross to DK, ruff a diamond, cash HA and throw East in with the third round of trumps.      East is then forced to lead a heart into dummy's HKJ tenace.

I am away for a few days.     the column will resume on Sunday 27th June 2021:

Hand for 27th June 2021:

                                                  North:      S      A   5  4  3  2

                                                                   H      A  J   9

                                                                   D      A  2

                                                                   C      8   5   3

                                                   South:     S      6

                                                                   H      K  Q 10  2

                                                                   D      K  Q  J  10

                                                                   C      K   J  9   4

You open 1H, West overcalls 2C, partner bids 2S, you bid 2NT, partner bids 3H and you bid 4H.

West leads SK.      Plan the play.

Analysis for 22nd June 2021:

       The contract appears safe with just two diaonds to lose and so you can try for overtricks.      If clubs break 2-2 you have no problem throwing a diamond on the fifth club for twelve tricks.       However the clubs are more likely to break 3-1 and so you have no discard on the fifth club.       The bidding tells you that East has led a singleton so East is the danger hand.       You should win DA and cross to S10 and lead H7 on which East will probably play HA in case you have HK singleton.       You ruff and lead a trump to SQ and lead H10.       If East covers you ruff, draw the last outstanding trump and cross to CK and lead H9.      If East cannot cover you throw a club and claim the rest as West cannot lead a diamond and you thus discard D95 on CA54 (after cashing CQ and leading C9 to CA) and claim two overtricks.

 

Hand for 23rd June 2021:

                                              North:      S      K  9  7  4  3

                                                               H     K  J  2

                                                               D     K  6  3

                                                               C     K  2 

                                              South:      S      A  8  6  5  2

                                                               H      A  4  3

                                                               D      A  7

                                                               C      A  9  4

 

Partner opens 1S, East overcalls 2H, you cue-bid 3H showing spade support, partner cue-bids 4C, you bid 4NT (RKCB) andsign off in 6S over partner's 5D response.      West leads SQ (East discarding a diamond).       Plan the play.

 

                                              

                                                                    C     K  2 

 

P     :.

       With tops in all the side-suits and no apparent losers it is easy to misplay this hand and win CA in order to lead a trump but that line leads to defeat as West will draw three rounds of trumps limiting you to only two ruffs in dummy and two ruffs in hand and therefore a trick short.       You don't mind losing all of HAKJ as long as they come from overruffs so play CK, ruff a club, cash DAK, ruff a diamond, cash SA, ruff a spade, ruff a diamond and ruff a spade for your tenth trick before leading a trump.

 

Hand for 22nd June 2021:

                                                  North:      S      Q  10

                                                                   H     10   9  7

                                                                   D       8   4  2

                                                                   C      A   K  5   4  3

 

                                                 South:       S      A   K  J   9  8  3

                                                                   H      Void

                                                                   D      A   9   5

                                                                   C      Q   9   7  6

 

You open 1S, partner responds 1NT, East overcalls 3D (an Intermediate Jump Overcall), you bid 3S and partner raises to 4S.       West leads D3.       Plan the play.                                                                        .

Analysis for 20th June 2021:

      It appears that West who overcalled 2D will likely have most of the missing SK, CA and HA.       However, East may have one or two of these cards if West's overcall was based on a long suit of seven cards.       This  is also likely when the suit strength is minimal (and you hold DAKJ).        Despite this, you need not concern yourself with the heart position as you should win SA at trick 1 and lead HJ intending to finesse.        If you lose to singleton HK in the West hand then the defence has no safe exit as a spade allows you to set up SQ for a club discard by ruffing and a minor suit card enables you to win a minor honour.        Naturally if East shows out on the HJ lead from dummy you rise with HA and then play HQ to West's HK effecting the same end-play as mentioned above.       If HJ wins you lead SQ for a ruffing finesse discarding CQ if not covered before cashing HA and ruffing a diamond in the dummy.

 

Hand for 21st June 2021:

                                                 North:       S      A   7  3  2

                                                                   H      8   6  5  3  2

                                                                   D      6   3

                                                                   C      A   8

 

                                                 South:       S      4

                                                                   H      Q  10  9   7   4

                                                                   D      A   K  10  8

                                                                   C      K   9   4

 

West opens a weak 1NT, passed round to your 2H overcall and partner raises to game with 4H. 

West leads CJ.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 19th June 2021:

        It seems from the bidding that West - missing AK of the suit overcalled  - will have CK and SA and therefore it does not appear to be a good plan to lead up to SK hoping East holds SA.      The best plan is to try and set up a fifth spade if spades break 4-2 or 2-4 as expected.         So win the DK and lead S2 from hand hoping the trumps are not 4-Nil.       You then win the diamond continuation and continue with SK to West's SA.       West can cash a third round of diamonds but cannot lead a club as you let it a low club run to your CQ and probably exits with a trump which you win with H10, ruff a spade with HK, cross to HQ, ruff a spade with HJ, cross to HA (drawing the last outstanding trump), discard a club on S8 and claim the rest with good trumps and CA.

 

Hand for 20th June 2021:

                                                 North:      S      A  Q  J  4 2

                                                                  H      J 10  8  4

                                                                  D      6   5

                                                                  C      4   3

 

                                                 South:      S      7

                                                                  H      A  Q  9  7 6  5  3

                                                                  D      A  K  J

                                                                  C      A  Q

 

You open 1H, West overcalls 2D, partner raises to 2H and you raise to game with 4H.      West leads S5.

Plan the play.

Analysis for 18th June 2021:

       The bidding tells you that West has long spades and so it is unlikely that your diamond side-suit will break 3-3 and therfore it is prudent to hope that diamonds does not break worse than 4-2 which anyway is the most likely split for that suit.       You should therefore cash DAK at trick 3 after winning the spade lead and ruff a low diamond with HK (West discarding a spade).        It is now not the time, however, to start on the trumps as you should cross to CA, ruff a fourth round of diamonds with H6, ruff a spade and then lead a trump.        The defence can win HA but you ruff their exit card and draw trumps (hopefully they are not 0-5) and cash the fifth round of diamonds.

 

Hand for 19th June 2021:

                                                North:      S      8  7   6  5  3

                                                                 H     A  Q 10

                                                                 D     6   3   2

                                                                 C     A  9

 

                                                South:      S     K  2

                                                                 H     K  J  9  8  7  6

                                                                 D     A  K  7

                                                                 C     Q 10

 

You open 1H, West overcalls 2D, partner bids 2S, you cue-bid 3D and partner jumps to 4H.

West leads DQ.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 17th June 2021:

      You ruff the third club in dummy and are surprised to see West follow suit, then a trump to S10 holds and you take stock.       When both the opposition bid on minimal values you should not expect normal breaks as they are bidding on distribution and so it is quite possible that trumps are 4-1 (a one in four chance).       Unless East has miscounted or misbid, West has one of the major Queens outside of the CAKQxx already shown and East has HKQ or HK & SQ.        Further it is likely that East is 5/4/3/1 shape as 1NT has not been opened and six clubs are not held according to the first three tricks.       If you cross to D10 to repeat the "working" trump finesse and West wins SQ a diamond continuation will lock you in dummy leaving you with two heart losers to go with two clubs.      The only way to guarantee your contract is to lead SJ at trick.        Now you have a trump in dummy to cover a club exit by the defence and/or you win a diamond exit and draw the outstanding trumps before claiming the rest with diamonds and HA.

 

Hand for 18th June 2021:

                                                North:      S     10  8  6  5  2

                                                                 H      K  6

                                                                 D      7   3

                                                                 C      J   9  7  3

 

                                               South:       S      A

                                                                 H      Q  J 10  9  8  7

                                                                 D      A  K  Q  4  2

                                                                 C      A

 

You open a Benji 2C, West overcalls 2S and you bid 4H after two passes.   West leads SK.    Plan the play.                         

  :: .

Analysis for 16th June 2021:

        It looks natural to play S3 from dummy at trick 1 but in fact this play jeopardises your contract.       All would be well if East plays SK at trick 1 as you can win the next spade with SA.         However, an astute defender will play a low spade at trick 1 (or cover S10 with SJ) and although you can then force out DQ you will be denied an entry to cash winning diamonds even if you discard SA on DA.       The bidding tells you that East has SK so the simple way to make your contract is to rise with SA at trick 1, overtake DK with DA and lead diamonds until the DQ is won by the defence.      They cannot then prevent you from leading a spade from dummy to eventually score SQ and three winning diamonds.

 

Hand for 17th June 2021:

                                                 North:      S      6   5   3   2

                                                                  H      8   5

                                                                  D      A   K  Q  J  10

                                                                  C     10  6

 

                                                 South:      S      A  K  J  10

                                                                  H      A  J   9   7

                                                                  D      6   3

                                                                  C      J   3  2

 

East opens 1C, you make a take-out double, West responds 1H, partner doubles for take-out, you bid 1S, partner invites with 3S and you raise to game with 4S.        West leads C7 and East plays CAKQ (West following with C68).      You ruff in dummy and lead a trump to S10 which holds.       Plan the play. 

Analysis for 15th June 2021:

      The bidding tells you that both black suits are likely to break badly as West has at least five spades and five hearts and also you haven't had a singleton diamond led.      Also you know that East has at most one spade and may have all the outstanding trumps.      You thus need to play carefully as you have to ruff at least two of your spade losers knowing East can overruff a low trump from dummy and the opening lead has taken an entry to dummy out before you can unblock DK.     I think the best plan is to win HA, cross to SA, overtake DK with DA and lead a second spade from dummy.     If East ruffs in you retain your SK in hand and East can do you no damage as you will then be able to cash CA (West discarding a heart), ruff two spades high and lead a small club from dummy to your C10.     If East does not ruff you win SK, cash CA and play as above ruffing two spades high and conceding a spade at the end.     If East shows out on the first spade lead you should duck a second spade lead in both hands and follow the above plan.

 

Hand for 16th June 2021:

                                                 North:     S     A  10  3

                                                                 H     A   J  10  2

                                                                 D     K

                                                                 C     A   J  10  4  3

 

                                                 South:     S     Q   5   2

                                                                 H      7   5

                                                                 D      A   J  10  9  8  7

                                                                 C      8   6

 

Partner opens 1C, East overcalls 1S, you bid 1NT & partner raises to 3NT.    West leads S7.    Plan the play.

Analysis for 14th June 2021:

        The bidding has been quite instructive with West showing six or seven clubs and four hearts plus SAK when East turns up with CK at trick 1 when you try CJ and you win CA.       This leaves West with at most one diamond and possibly a void.       If East has a singleton club you cannot avoid a ruff but you start with a spade hoping to make something of SQJ.       West wins SA and exits with HAQ to dummy's HK and you should now take the risk of a diamond to D10 and exit with S9.        After West wins SK and HJ you can win any return and cross to DK, ditch a club on SQ, finesse DQ and cash DA (dropping East's DQ ) and claim the rest of the tricks to fulfil your contract.

 

Hand for 15th June 2021:

                                                  North:       S      3   2

                                                                    H      A  9  8  7

                                                                    D      A  3  2

                                                                    C      Q  J  3  2

 

 

                                                  South:       S      A  K  8  5  4

                                                                    H      2

                                                                    D      K

                                                                    C      A  K  9  7  5  4

 

You decide to open 1C, West cue-bids 2C (A Michaels' Cue-bid showing 5-5+ with both majors), partner jumps to 4C, you bid 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5C (3 Aces) and partner signs off with 6C.       West leads HK.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 13th June 2021:

       The exact duplication of distribution of your hand with dummy means the hands do not fit well and you need a lot of luck to make your contract.     The bidding tells you that East has at most two cards in hearts and at most two cards in spades but West's bidding without SAQ & HAK suggests a 6-5 shape is more likely than 5-5 and East is probably not 0-10-1-1 and so may be 2-1-9-1.       As West has sole control of the third round of both majors it is disappointing that you do not have a side-suit winner to effect a squeeze.       I think the best plan is to win HK at trick 1, cross to DA, finesse SQ and cash SA.       Now the coup-de-gras :-  lead a small trump from dummy which East perforce has to win but with only diamonds left you ruff in hand (discarding H2 from dummy), cash CQJ10 and lead C9 to dummy's CA and cash dummy's C8 (discarding S5 from hand).      Dummy has S2 & H3 remaining and you have HA5 left.      If West has two hearts left you cash dummy's S2 and lead to your HA at trick 13.      If West has a heart and a spade left (and you have a perfect count of the hand as West's shape is known to be 5-6-2-0) then HA5 win the last two tricks.

 

Hand for 14th June 2021:

                                                  North:      S      Q  J  8  5  3

                                                                   H      K 10 7

                                                                   D      K  6  2

                                                                   C      J   8

 

                                                  South:      S     10  9

                                                                   H       9  8  5

                                                                   D       A  J 10  8  5

                                                                   C       A  Q  4

 

West opens 1C, partner opens 1S, you bid 1NT, West rebids 2H, you bid 3D after two passes and everybody passes.

West leads C10.      Plan the play.                

 

Analysis for 12th June 2021:

       The diamond switch is worrying and if East has a singleton the defence will ruff the diamond continuation to defeat your contract.    However, on  the actual hand the diamond continuation is not ruffed but you must take your only chance for the contract and delay touching trumps.      You either win the second diamond with DJ or cross to CJ and lead a heart to HQ, the finesse being marked by the bidding as working in order to discard your third diamond on HA.         Then it is time to lead a trump to SK and West's SA.       You can now overruff when West leads a third diamond and all you lose is the defence's three Aces.

 

Hand for 13th June 2021:

                                               North:      S       A  Q  2

                                                                H       K  3  2

                                                                D       3

                                                                C       A  8  7  6  5  4

 

                                               South:      S       5  4  3

                                                                H       A  5  4

                                                                D       A

                                                                C       Q  J 10 9  3  2

 

You open 1C, West bids 2C ( A Michaels' Cue Bid showing both majors), partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5S (2 Aces & CQ) and partner bids 6C.      West leads HQ.       Plan the play.        

Analysis for 11th June 2021:

          The bidding and play so far tells you that West has five or six hearts headed by the HK and probably at least two of the missing three Kings as well to justify a vulnerable overcall on a weakish suit.         You win HQ at trick two and can count four tricks outside of diamonds with at least four diamonds (five if West has DK) and possibly another trick in spades.        If, however you lose a trick then a further two rounds of hearts ( you naturally ducking the second round to severe the defence's communications) will allow West to set up two further heart winners so you cannot afford to play on diamonds at first.        The card to play at trick 2 is SJ.        This may slip through West's SK and you then run DJ not caring if East has DK as you have nine tricks with two spades, two hearts, four diamonds and a club.         If West wins SK and plays a heart you duck, win the next heart and then try the diamond finesse ending up with nine or ten tricks depending on the position of DK.

 

Hand for 12th June 2021:

                                                 North:       S       9  8  4

                                                                   H      A  Q  7

                                                                   D      K  Q  6  5

                                                                   C      K  Q  5

           

                                                 South:       S      A  Q  J  10  6  2

                                                                   H      4

                                                                   D      J   8  7

                                                                   C      J   9  6

 

You open a weak 2S, West overcalls 2D and partner bids 4S.        West leads C10 to CQ & CA and East exits with D8.

Plan the play.

Analysis for 10th June 2021:

        You appear to have no problems unless the outstanding diamonds break 3-1 (the expected break) plus the trumps being 4-1 (a 1 in 4 chance).      If West has HK1098 then you are doomed but if East has this holding it is prudent to plan ahead for bad breaks without risking your contract on normal breaks.      Therefore you start by ruffing the first spade in hand and play Ace and another heart (East playing H910 as you win the HJ with West showing out.       With hopefully two clubs, two spades and three trumps already in the bag you cash DA and now require just two tricks from HQ76.        You cross to CAK, cash SAK, ruff a second spade with H6 and exit with a diamond.        West can cash DQJ but the last two tricks are you holding HQ7 over East's HK10 and you must come to a trick with HQ.

 

Hand for 11th June 2021:

                                                  North:      S       5  4

                                                                   H       6  3

                                                                   D       A  Q  10  8  4

                                                                   C      10  7   6   2

 

                                                  South:      S       A  Q   J

                                                                   H       A  Q   2

                                                                   D       J   9   7  2

                                                                   C       A   J   4

 

You open 1D, West overcalls 1H, partner raises to 2D and you sign off with 3NT.       West leads H7 to East's HJ.

Plan the play.

Analysis for 9th June 2021:

        When a player shows length in one suit and instead leads the lowest card in a another side-suit you can be fairly sure it is a singleton (especially if the overcalled suit is raised although this is not the case here).       You win CK at trick 1 and lead a spade to dummy's S10 and unfortunately East's wins SA and continues with CQ which you know West can ruff and obviously switch to HK since the bidding marks West with six hearts and DJ to justify a vulnerable overcall.        It is essential now to duck CQ to correct the timing for a squeeze.       East will lead another top club and East ruffs and as predicted switches to HK but now you win HA and cash all four trumps left.       The last trump will either squeeze East in clubs and diamonds if four diamonds are held or in the hand given squeeze West in hearts and diamonds as the play so far indicares that West's shape is 2-6-4-1.

 

Hand for 10th June 2021:

                                                 North:      S      A  K  6  2

                                                                  H      A  4

                                                                  D     10  7  6  3

                                                                  C      A  K  9

 

                                                 South:      S      Void

                                                                  H       Q  J  7  6  5  3

                                                                  D       A   8  5  4  2

                                                                  C       5   3

 

Partner opens 1D, East overcalls 1S, you bid 2H, partner bids 2NT and you sign off with a bid of 4H.

West leads S8.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 8th June 2021:

         The diamond honours appear to be with West so there is no reason not to win the second trick.     You appear to have one spade, three hearts and one diamond and so four club tricks will add up to the nine required.       However, you should play the hand through in your mind before committing to the decisive play.        If you win the  second trick and cross to CA to finesse CJ and it loses you have your four required club tricks but cannot make your expected nine tricks as East would be certain to switch to a spade and you cannot untangle your winners.        The recommended line is thus to lead C2 from dummy at trick 3 and play C5 from hand.       West can win and cash two diamonds but you are now in a position to take the remainder as long as the clubs were 3-2 originally (or if West had four) as you now can unblock HQ, cross to CA in order to cash HAK and take the marked finesse of CJ to win the rest of the clubs.

 

Hand for 9th June 2021:                                                                                                                                                                                                             North:      S      10  4

                                                              H       A   2

                                                              D       A   K  8  7  5

                                                              C       8    6  4  3

 

                                             South:      S       K   Q  J  9   7

                                                              H       J    7

                                                              D       Q   6

                                                              C        A   K  5   2

You open 1S, West overcalls 2H,partner bids 3D, you cue-bid 3H, partner bids 3S and you bid 4S.       West leads C7 and East plays C9.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 7th June 2021:

         You ruff the third spade carefully with H9 but you should forget about first drawing all the outstanding trumps in three rounds and then taking the diamond finesse for a possible overtrick (throwing your singleton club on D7 if West held DKx(x).       This is because the bidding tells you that East holds both DK and CA as otherwise West would have opened the bidding 1S!       You then lead C7 to dummy's C9 not caring if East holds CJ as you let the trump exit run to dummy's H8 and play the ruffing finesse in clubs, ruffing out East's CK, drawing trumps and using DK to get to dummy to throw DQJ on the two set up club winners.

 

Hand for 8th June 2021:

                                               North:      S      8  7  4

                                                                H     Q

                                                                D      A   7  5  2

                                                                C      K   J  4  3  2           

 

                                               South:      S      A   5   2

                                                                H      A   K   3  2

                                                                D      8    6   4

                                                                C      A    6   5

 

You open 1H, West makes a take-out double, partner re-doubles, you rebid 1NT and partner raises to 3NT.

West leads DK and follows with D10.      Plan the play.

                                                                                   H

                                                           .

Analysis for 6th June 2021:

        You win CK lead with CA and cash SA knowing that the contract is secure if the trumps break 1-1 as you just lose one club and ruff your other minor cards in dummy.      The bidding tells you that West has long clubs and therfore may be short in hearts and/or trumps.      In the unlikely situation that West is void in spades you should play on hearts by cashing HAK (discarding a club), ruff a heart, cash DA, ruff a diamond, ruff a heart, ruff DQ and hopefully throw a second club loser on the fifth heart which will be a winner if the hearts are 4-3.      If East is void in spades the heart play above is unlikely to work as it needs West to hold at least four hearts.      With only three hearts West will overruff with SK and cash a club.     Therefore, the best plan is probably to cross to HK and take the diamond finesse at trick 3 in order to discard a club from dummy on DA.

 

Hand for 7th June 2021:

                                               North:      S       4   3  2

                                                                H       8

                                                                D       A  10  7  3   2 

                                                                C       K  Q  10 9

 

                                               South:      S       10  6

                                                                H        A   K   Q   J  10  9  7

                                                                D        Q   J   8

                                                                C        7

 

After three passes you open 4H which concludes the auction.     West leads SAKQ (East playing 578).   Plan the play.     

Analysis for 5thJune2021

       The bidding suggests that West has the vast majority of the missing hcp and so  it is probably best play to win CK at trick 2 and try to cash CA as that suit is your best source of tricks.          If West does not have CQ then DQ is likely to be finessable and if West has a second club then you ruff the third round setting up the suit not caring if West overruffs.       Even if the CA is ruffed the trick may come back when you cash SA. You would the win West's diamond exit with DA, ruff a heart and then lead CJ for a ruffing finesse.      Your plan is to ruff one heart on the table and throw the other losing heart on a club winner playing West for SK and not more than two more trumps.       As the cards lie you cash CJ at trick 4 discarding a heart and when West ruffs the most you lose is a heart and two spades to make your contract exactly.

 

Hand for 6th June 2021:

                                               North:       S      8   7  6  5  4

                                                                 H      A  K  7  3  2

                                                                 D      7

                                                                 C      6   4

 

                                               South:       S      A  Q  J 10  9  3

                                                                 H      5

                                                                 D      A  Q  6

                                                                 C      A   5  3

 

You open 1S, West overcalls 2C, partner bids 4S and you bid 6S.       West leads CK.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 4th June 2021:

        The bidding tells you that East has both red Kings to accompany CKQJ10x(x) so you should win CA, ruff a club, finesse HJ, ruff a club, finesse HQ, ruff a heart with SA, cash SK (East discarding a spade), cross to S10 and cash SQJ (drawing all the outstanding trumps) and cash HA & AD for twelve tricks.       East would have bid hearts with five rather than clubs but you must delay playing trumps to allow for a bad trump break.

 

Hand for 5th June 2021:

                                              North:       S      A   7

                                                                H      J

                                                                D      K  J  4

                                                                C      A  K  J 10  7  4  3

 

                                              South:       S      Q 10  9  6  5  3

                                                                H      Q   7  4

                                                                D      A   5   3

                                                                C      5

 

West opens 1H, partner bids an intermediate jump overcall of 3C, you bid 3S and partner raises to 4S.

West cashes HK and switches to C2.        Plan the play.

 

Analysis for 3rd June 2021:

        The bidding marks East with long hearts (because of the scarcity of hcp held) headed by HKJ and probably one or both side-suit Queens as well.       So it is a reasonable bet that the diamond finesse is right and you have an easy eleven tricks.      On the other hand the long hearts suggest short diamonds and tghus DQ could well be off side.        The best time to take a finesse is when you are not bothered if it fails but an alternative way to play the diamond suit is cash DAK and lead a third round - if East has DQ all you have lost is an overtrick as East cannot hurt you by winning more than one heart.        There is another line to play safe for the contract by winning HA at trick 1 and finessing S10.        You expect it to lose but you now have the chance of spades 3-3 producing your ninth trick.       You win East's diamond exit and cash SAK and if the suit breaks evenly you cash S2, DA and three clubs to fulfil your contract. 

 

Hand for 4th June 2021:

                                               North:       S       A   K   6  5  3

                                                                 H       4   2

                                                                 D       A   Q   6  4  2

                                                                 C       9

 

                                                South:      S       Q   J   10  2

                                                                 H        A   Q   J   6

                                                                 D        8    5

                                                                 C        A    8   7



You open a weak 1NT, partner transfers with 2H, East overcalls 3C, you bid 3H (natural but showing 4 card spade support and a maximum 1NT opener), partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5S (2A+SQ) and partner bids 6S.

West leads C4.       Plan the play. 

Analysis for 2nd June 2021:

        The contract is not good as you only have eleven tricks (fice clubs, four hearts and two diamonds).        However the defence does not know they have two cashing spade tricks.      The bidding tells you that East has DQJ10xx(x) and at least SA or SK to justify the overcall of 1D.      You will have no chance if East has both SAK but you have a reasonable chance if West has one of them.       Therefore, you should win DK at trick 1, lead HJ to dummy's HK - West may think East has HQ! - and lead S2 inserting SJ when East plays low.       West will win but if West continues partner's suit (diamonds) you win DA and cash five clubs followed by four hearts  (discarding S10 from dummy).        East will then be squeezed in diamonds and spades as one of SA & DQ has to be discarded setting up either D9 or SQ as your twelfth trick.

 

Hand for 3rd June 2021:

                                              North:       S      A  K  10  2

                                                                H      Q 10  2

                                                                D      10  9  2

                                                                C       A  K  9

 

                                              South:       S       7   6  3

                                                                H       A   4

                                                                D       A   K   J  8  6

                                                                C       Q   J  10

 

You open 1D, partner responds 1S, East overcalls 2H, you double (showing hcp), partner cue-bids 3H and you bid 3NT.       West leads H9.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 1st June 2021:

       The bidding suggests that East holds CKJxxx(x) and therefore the option of setting up the club suit if breaking 4-3 is not a worthwhile option.        The contract is thus poor and you need a great deal of lick and should hope for a favourable distribution of the high cards.        If HA is right that probably the spade honours will be wrong to justify East's intervention.      You should thus ruff the club lead in hand.and lead a trump hoping West has HA.          This passes off OK when the King drops HJ from East..      Now you try cashing DAQ and exit with a trump hoping that East would win and have to lead a black suit.         If East can exit with a diamond you lead a spade to dummy's S10 hoping to end-play East.

 

Hand for 2nd June 2021:

                                                North:      S     Q  10  2

                                                                 H     A   K   3

                                                                 D     8    5

                                                                 C     K   Q 10  9  8

 

                                                South:      S     J    5   4

                                                                 H     Q   J  10  9

                                                                 D     A   K   9

                                                                 C     K   J   2

 

Partner opens 1C, East overcalls 1D, you bid 1H, North decides to rebid 3C and you decide to bid 6NT. 

West leads D7 to East's D10 and your DK.         Plan the play.        

        You appear to have six top trumps, two top diamonds, two diamond ruffs in dummy and HA and therefore need one further trick to fulfil your contract.       All will be well were the SA with West but the bidding (and lead) tell you that that is a forlorn hope and it seems you require the diamonds to break 4-3.       With West holding length in spades West may hold length in diamonds and so you should have a second string to your bow!        Having lost trick 1 to SQ you win West's club exit in hand perforce and cross to HA and ruff a heart before cashing DA and ruffing a diamond.         Now ruff a second heart, ruff a low diamond and ruff a third hear before cashing your last two trumps.         With dummy holding SK4 & H9 and you holding S5 & DKJ you can count West as having DQ10 and (hopefully) SJ.        The coup-de-gras occurs when you lead S5.        If West plays SJ you duck in dummy and if East allows SJ to win you win the last two tricks in hand with DKJ and if West overtakes SJ with SA you win the last twoo tricks in dummy with SK & H9.       Easy, peasy!

 

Hand for 1st June 2021:

                                                North:      S      A  Q 10

                                                                 H      K  7

                                                                 D      A  Q  6

                                                                 C      A  Q  8  4  3

 

                                                 South:     S      9   5  4  3

                                                                  H    10  9  8  7  5  4

                                                                  D     K  9  5

                                                                  C     Void

 

       Partner opens a Benji 2C, East doubles (penalty), you bid 2H, partner bids 2NT(21-22), you bid 3S, partner 3NT and you settle for 4H.      West leads DJ.       Plan the play.  

Analysis for 30th May 2021:

       The bidding suggests that West has HKQ, DK & CAK to justify the bidding.      Before you play a card to trick 1 therfore you should envisage how the play will go throughout the hand and not make a hasty play.       Suppose you win HA, cross to DA, cross back to SK and follow with DQ (discarding a club).      West can then win DK and cash CAK and dummy is in trouble, not being able to discard a heart or SA and so discardsa diamond winner.      Now a spade exit by the defence leaves West in control as you can cash your diamond winners but West with HQ and a spade to lead to partner's SQ.       So it is imperative to duck HK at trick 1.      Everything  is plain sailing then as declarer wins whichever major West continues, unblocks DQ and enters dummy in the suit West has not led, i.e. if a spade then win SK, cross to DA,  finesse HJ and lead DQ forcing out DK and CAK can do you no damage.       Otherwise you win HJ on a low heart, cross to DA, cross to SK and lead DQ to force out the defence's DK.

 

Hand for 31st May 2021:

                                               North:       S       K  4  3  2

                                                                 H       A  9  8  4  2

                                                                 D       8

                                                                 C       8  7  6

 

                                                South:      S       5

                                                                  H      6

                                                                  D      A  K  J  5  4

                                                                  C      A  K  Q  J 10 9

 

You open 1C, partner bids 1H, East overcalls 1S, you reverse into 2D, partner jumps to 4C, you bid 4NT (RKCB), partner responds 5D and you sign off with 6C.     West leads SQ which you allow to win and switches to C4 (East following with C2).    Plan the play.  

Analysis for 29th May 2021:

       A 5-Nil trump break will defeat the contract and a 3-2 trump break will make the contract a trivial make.       Therfore, you hatch a plan for trumps 4-1 and start by ruffing a small heart from dummy and follow by cashing SAKQ.      If West has four trumps you follow with CAK & DA and exit with a trump.         In this case, West has to either give you two tricks with HA & CQ on which you discard your two losing diamonds or lead a diamond giving you four diamond tricks if diamonds break 3-2.         If East has four trumps you should cash CAK & DAK and exit with a trump hoping that East has only two diamonds.

 

Hand for 30th May 2021:

                                                North:      S       A  K

                                                                 H       A  J  10

                                                                 D       Q  J  10  9  6  5  3

                                                                 C       5

 

                                                South:      S       J  10  9 

                                                                 H       4   3   2

                                                                 D       A

                                                                 C       Q  J   9  7  3  2

 

Partner opens 1D, you respond 1NT, West makes an intermediate jump overcall of 3H and partner bids 3NT.

West leads HK.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 28th May 2021:

         When you are in a bad contract you look for favourable distributions to allow you to succeed.       Conversely, if you are in an apparently good contract you should prudently look for snags.       On today's hand you expect to lose two trumps only if the trumps break normally.       However, if trumps are 3-Nil you could lose three trumps and a heart unless you play perfecrly.       The 100% line is to win DA at trick 1 and folllow with CQ and a club to C10 without touching trumps.       East ruffs in and leads HQ but you win HK and ditch a heart on CA as East ruffs in again and exits with HJ.       You are still in control however as you win HA and lead CK discarding your last heart as East ruffs in again but now you ruff H10 in hand and claim ten tricks and your contract as all you lose is SAKQ.

 

Hand for 29th May 2021:

                                                North:       S      5

                                                                  H      A  6  4  3  2

                                                                  D      J 10  3  2

                                                                  C      Q  J  7

 

                                                South:       S      A  K  Q  7  6  4  2

                                                                  H      Void

                                                                  D      A   K  6  4

                                                                  C      A   K

 

East opens a weak 2H and you decide to bid 4S.        West leads H9.         Plan the play.     

 

 

 

Analysis for 27th May 202;1

         The bidding tells you that East will not have CKQ as well as the HAKJ implied by the play to tricks 1 and 2 because of the failure to open the bidding in first seat.      Thus you are in danger of losing at least two clubs, one heart and so you appear to need trumps 3-3 which is well against the odds.      However you can throw two clubs on dummy's long diamonds (having drawn trumps).      Therefore you should take precautions against the likely 4-2 trump break by ruffing the second heart at trick 2 and leading S5!       East will win but is stymied because a third heart lead can be ruffed in dummy and you would then cross to DK to cash SAKQ (drawing East's SJ10x) and cash CA & DQAJ9.       Otherwise you win East's club, diamond or trump exit and again draw trumps with SAKQ followed by the rest of your winners to add up to ten tricks.

 

Hand for 28th May 2021:

                                                North:      S      J  9  7  4

                                                                 H      A K  5

                                                                 D      A

                                                                 C      A  K  J 10 6

 

                                                South:      S     10  8  6  5  3  2

                                                                  H      7  6  4  2

                                                                  D      3

                                                                  C      Q  3

 

West pre-empts 3D, partner doubles and raises your 3S bid to game with 4S.       West leads DK.        Plan the play. 

Analysis for 26th May 2021:

       The only danger to the contract is that all three red-suit finesses lose, i.e DKQx with East and HK with West.       In order to give yourself the best chance you should win SQ lead with SA , draw trumps with CAKQ (West discarding two spades) and lead the HA and a low heart from hand.        If the heart finesse was right all along then East win win HK and exit with a heart but you cash HAQJ and run DJ end-playing East.        A diamond would give you two diamond tricks and a spade gives a ruff and discard allowing you to ruff in dummy and discard a diamond from hand.        If West wins HK - it is likely that West will duck form HK and H10 wins when you continue hearts and a diamond now will likely end-play East when you play low from dummy - and switches to a diamond you duck and East is end-played if the hearts are 4-2 otherwise you need split honours in diamons to bring home your contract.

 

Hand for 27th May 2021:

                                                North:      S      9  7

                                                                 H     Q  6

                                                                 D     A  J  9  6  2

                                                                 C     9  6  3  2

 

                                               South:       S     A  K  Q  3  2

                                                                 H     10

                                                                 D      K  Q 10

                                                                 C      A  J   5  4

 

East passes as dealer, you bid 1S, partner responds 1NT, East overcalls 2H, you double, partner bids 3D and you settle for 4S.       West leads H9 to East's HJ and HK.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 25th May 2021:

       There is no certain way to play this contract but given the pre-empt showing seven or eight clubs it is likely that West is short in hearts, diamonds and/or trumps.        I would hope that West has two hearts at least - East is likely to have the greater length - and (leaving trumps alone) try to cash  HAKQ.        If West follows to all three you ditch a club from dummy and just continue with SA and C6 and all will be hunky-dory unless West has eight clubs as you ruff a club in dummy with S6 and rely on the trumps behaving.       If West has two hearts only (very likely) and ruffs the third heart then you overruff. cross back  to SA and lead a club, ruffing in dummy unless West ruffs high.       If West ruffs with SK you merely throw a club, win a diamond exit, cash SA and ruff a club in dummy.

 

Hand for 26th May 2021:

                                               North:      S     5

                                                                H    10  6  2

                                                                D     A  8  5  3  2

                                                                C     A 10 9  4

 

                                               South:      S     A

                                                                H     A  Q  J  4

                                                                D     J 10  9

                                                                C    K  Q  J   8  3

 

West opens a weak 2S, passed round to your take-out double. partner bids 2D, you bid 4C and partner raises to 5C.

West leads SQ.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 24th May 2021:

     On the bidding East is likely to hold both red Kings but there is no immediate entry to dummy to take advantage of their location.      The best plan is to win SA at trick 1 and lead HQ.      If the trumps break normally (2-1 or 1-2) East will win HK, cash two spades and switch to a club but you win CA, lead H7 to dummy's H8, run DQ, cross to DA, lead H5 to dummy's H6, lead DJ for a ruffing finesse and discard C5 on this trick if East plays low or on D10 using H8 to dummy's H10 as an entry to cash the set up diamond winner.       The above plan is slightly better than the alternate plan of just winning SA & CA and exiting with a black card in which case whoever wins has to give you an entry to dummy by leading a red sui,        This is because the recommended line wins if West has HK singleton or HKx doubleton as well as East holding both red Kings.. 

 

Hand for 15th May 2021:

                                                North:       S      J  6  2

                                                                  H      8  4

                                                                  D      A  9  7  6  5  3

                                                                  C      3  2

 

                                                South:       S      A  Q  7  5  4  3

                                                                  H      A  K  Q  J

                                                                  D      2

                                                                  C      A   6

West pre-empts 3C, passed round to your double, partner bids 3D and ypu end procedings with 4S. 

West leads CK.       Plan the play.

 

.

Analysis for 23rd May 2021:

        The Nil-5 trump break is a bitter blow but there are still chances if East has three or four diamonds to fulfil your contract.    You start with cashing SQJ & DKAQ before ruffing a club (overruffing if necessary).        If East shows up with four diamonds and has not ditched one on the second club you are safe to cash DK (discarding SK from dummy), ruff a spade with HQ and ruff a third club (overruffing if necessary), cross to HK and lead a fourth club with just HA 10 left over East's HJ9.        If East discards a diamond on the second club you are safe (as East's shape is 3-5-4-1) to lead to dummy's SA in order to lead the third club and as before cross to HK at trick 11 to lead a club towards your trump tenace.

 

Hand for 24th MAy 2021:

                                                North:       S      6   5  3

                                                                  H     10  8  6  2

                                                                  D      Q  J 10 4

                                                                  C      8   6

 

                                                South:       S      A   4  2

                                                                   H     A  Q  J  9  7  5

                                                                   D     A   5

                                                                   C     A   5

 

You open a conventional 2C, partner bids a negative 2D, East overcalls 2S, you bid 3H and partner bids 4H.

West leads S8.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 22nd May 2021:

       Having lost three clubs you cannot afford to lose a trump.         If trumps are 3-2 you have no problems and if West has HJ9xx you must lose a trump so you should allow for East holding HJxxx.       If this is the case, it is crucially important to win DA at trick 4 and ruff a diamond straightaway.      If East has HJxxx then West must be 4-1-44 on the bidding and the play to the early tricks.       You follow with HA and H6 to dummy's HK, ruff a second diamond, cash SK, lead a spade to SJ and lead CJ discarding SK if East does not ruff in.      Otherwise you are in dummy at trick 12 and can overruff East and draw the last trump to fulfil your contract.       It was necessary to reduce your trump length to be the same as East's in order to perform a trump coup.

 

Hand for 23rd May 2021:

                                                North:       S       A  Q  J

                                                                  H      K  Q  5

                                                                  D      A  Q   8

                                                                  C     10  8   6  3

 

                                                South:       S      K   8  4

                                                                   H     A  10  8  7  4

                                                                   D     K   J   9  5

                                                                   C     5

 

You open 1H, West pre-empts 4C and partner bids 6H.         West leads CK, East overtakes with CA and exits with H2 and dummy wins H5 as West discards a club.         Plan the play.

Analysis for 21st May 2021:

       The contract is over-optimistic but at least has chances.      You could just draw trumps and play West for CQ & CJ but that is only a 25% chance.       The bidding tells you that after trick 1 East is in sole charge of the second round of hearts and you should be able to effect a double squeeze which is a better chance.       You win HA and DA (drawing the outstanding trumps), cash CAK hopefully leaving West in sole charge of the third round of clubs and run run all your trumps coming down to S9 & H8 at trick 12.       Dummy (discarding after West) has kept SA8 & C8 and therefore discards C8 (unless West has thrown both CQ & CJ.      The screw then passes to East who has to discard from HK and two spades.         If East has discarded HK, HQ & H9 you cash H8 but if neither C8 or H8 are now goof then neither East nor West can hold on to two spades and SA8 win the last two tricks.       A perfect double squeeze that just needs East to hold less than three clubs or West to hold CQJ which is quite possible when East holds six hearts.

 

Hand for 22nd May 2021:

                                                 North:      S      A   J  5

                                                                  H      K   3

                                                                  D      A   J  4  2

                                                                  C      J   7  6  2

 

                                                 South:      S      K  Q  2

                                                                   H      A  Q 10  8  6  2

                                                                   D      9

                                                                   C      10  5  3

 

West opens 1C, passed round to your itermediate jump overcall of 2H, raises to 4H by partner.      West leads CAKQ (East discarding a spade on the CQ).       Plan the play.

Analysis for 20th May 2021:

       The bidding places East with HKQ9xx and probably the CA to make up an opening bid and so it is important to block the run of the heart suit at trick 1 by rising with dummy's H10 and ducking East's HQ who switches to C3.        It is important now to rise with CK and duck a diamond to keep communication with dummy in the likely event that diamonds will break 3-1 before West can continue the defence's heart attack before you have set up nine tricks.        You make two spades, one heart, six diamonds and one club for an overtrick.

 

Hand for 21st May 2021:

                                                North:       S       A  8  5

                                                                  H       A 10 4  3

                                                                  D       A  9  8

                                                                  C       A  K  8

 

                                                 South:      S       9

                                                                   H      8  2

                                                                   D      K  Q  J 10  7  6  5  3

                                                                   C      10 9

 

East opens a weak 2H, you bid 5D, partner bids 5NT and you bravely accept partner's grand slam try and bid 7D.

West leads HJ.       Plan the play. 

Analysis for 19th May 2021:

       There are no problems if the trumps split normally (2/1) or if the club finesse is working.       However, the club finesse figures to be off-side with the vulnerable overcall but there is no need to commit to the finesse straightaway.        So you win SA (discarding a diamond from dummy) and cash HA  (East discarding a spade) & follow with HK and DA in the hope that West's spirited bidding was based on DK singleton and plenty of possible ruffs.       When DK drops you are home by following with D5.      West is ruffing a loser if D5 is ruffed and then it is a simple matter to set up the diamond suit with one ruff using a spade ruff and CA as entries to return to dummy and discard C4 on a set-up diamond winner.       Similary if West discards on D5, you win DQ and ruff a diamond not caring if West overruffs or not and using a spade ruff and CA to ruff the fourth round of diamonds and return to dummy to again discard C4 on a set-up diamond winner.

 

Hand for 20th May 2021:

                                                North:       S      5  3

                                                                  H      J 10 6

                                                                  D      A  K  8  6  5  4  3

                                                                  C      J

 

                                                 South:      S       A  K  9  4

                                                                   H      A   5  3

                                                                   D      7   2

                                                                   C      K  10  9  6

 

West leads H5 to dummy's H10 and East's HQ which you correctly duck and East switches to C3.        Plan the play. 

Analysis for 18th May 2021:

        You have no problems if the trumps behave normally (3-2) and so you should envisage how to possibly recover from a 4-1 Break (A 1 in 4 chance).      You win CK at trick 3 and cash SA and lead S2 to SK discovering the 4-1 break.        If trumps had been 3-2 you jusr ruff a heart back to hand and draw the last trump with HQ and claim twelve tricks conceding a club at the end.        If West has the four trumps then you will go down but otherwise you ruff HJ, cash DAK, cross to CA, ruff DJ and exit with C3.       Whoever wins this trick allows you to make both SQ and S10 as you are playing after East's SJx and thus fulfil your contract.

 

Hand for 19th May 2021:

                                                 North:       S       Void

                                                                   H       A  3  2

                                                                   D       Q  7  6  4  3  2

                                                                   C       A  Q 10 9

 

                                                 South:       S       A   5

                                                                    H      K   J   8  7  6  5  4

                                                                    D      A   5

                                                                    C      J   4

 

You open 1H, partner bids 2D, East overcalls 2S, you bid 3H, West bids 4S, partner bids 5H, East bids 5S and partner bids 6S.       West leads S4.       Plan the play.

Analysis for 17th May 2021:

     Although the bidding suggests that the diamond finesse will be successful you should look for a better plan.         Forewarned by the bidding that a dummy reversal and 4-3 heart break is not going to happen you need to envisage a winning distribution of the opponents cards and plan a cross-ruff instead.      It is best to win HA, cash DA & DK, CK & CA before ruffing a heart, ruff a club,ruff a heart (overruffing if necessary), ruffing a club and lead a heart for another ruff or overruff with SA on table for your twelfth trick.         If  East ruffs in with S9 or S10 you can throw your losing diamond, win the spade exit in dummy and lead another heart (overruffing as necessary).

 

Hand for 18th May 2021:

                                                North:      S      K   6

                                                                 H      J   5  4

                                                                 D      J   4  2

                                                                 C      A   8  6  5  4

 

                                                South:      S      A  Q 10  9  7  2

                                                                 H      10  3

                                                                 D       A   K

                                                                 C       K   3  2

 

You open 1S, West overcalls 2H, partner doubles showing hcp, you jump to 3S and partner raises to 4S.

West leads HAK (East following with H2 & D5) and switches to D3 (East playing D10).        Plan the play.

Analysis for 16th May 2021:

      Prospects are not good on the bidding as CQ figures to be with the overcall strength but you should first duck a diamond in case the suit breaks 3-3 or to prepare for a squeeze if the hand with four diamonds has CQ.       A secondary chance is if CQ drops doubleton.        You ruff the third spade high, draw trumps in three rounds and duck a diamond in both hands.      East wins and continues diamonds so you win with DK, cash CAK and lead your last trump.      If C10 is not a winner at this stage then it is likely that DA6 will be both be tricks.

 

Hand for 17th May 2021:

                                               North:      S       A   Q  J

                                                                H       A   J  7  6  3

                                                                D       K   J  8

                                                                C       K   7

 

                                               South:      S       K   8  6  5  2

                                                                H       10

                                                                D        A   6  4

                                                                C        A   8  5  3

 

You open 1S, West overcalls 2H, partner doubles showing hcp, you rebid 2S, partner bids 4NT (RKCB), you respond 5C (2A +KS), and partner settles for 6S.        West leads HK.      Plan the play.                                                                    .

Analysis for 15th May 2021:

       With five hearts, four diamonds and two black aces, you need to generate an extra trick tn order to make your slam.        One (but hopeless) idea is to duck the lead, win SA on spade continuation, cash HJ & HA, play four rounds of diamonds discarding a spade (hoping the hand with long trumps cannot ruff in), ruff a spade, cash CA, ruff a club, draw trumps and cash winning diamonds.         However you have the perfectly reasonable line of a dummy reversal which just depends on trumps being 3-2.         You win SA at trick 1, cash CA, ruff a club, cash HA, cross to HJ, ruff a club, cross to DK, ruff a club, cross to DA, draw the outstanding trump with HQ (discarding a spade) and cash DQJ for twelve tricks.

 

Hand for 16th May 2021:

                                                 North:        S        Q   9  3

                                                                    H        K   J  6

                                                                    D        A   6  5  4

                                                                    C        A   J  7

 

                                                 South:        S        4   2

                                                                    H        A  Q 10  8  4

                                                                    D        K   3  2

                                                                    C        K 10  2   

 

Partner opens 1D, East overcalls 1S, you bid 2H, partner bids 2NT, you bid 3H and partner bids 4H.

West leads S8 to East's S10, and East leads SAK.        Plan the play.         

Analysis for 14th May 2021:

       With only seven tricks on top you need a heart trick (or two) so it seems you must duck the first club as the clubs will probably be 2-5 on the bidding.      This manoevre is in order to stop the defence from winning three  and two hearts.    However, you don't want the defence to switch to diamonds so you should follow with C10 under CJ at trick 1 to encourage a club continuation by the defence.         You thus win the second club honour at trick 2 and lead a heart hoping for split honours in the suit.        In this case, if West wins a top heart the defence cannot continue clubs and if East wins a top heart and clears the club suit hopefully West has the other top heart and East has no immediate entry to cash the set-up club suit.  Before leading a second heart you should unblock SKQJ as a matter of standard technique but you should win four spades, two hearts, two diamonds and one or two clubs to fulfil your contract.

 

Hand for 15th May 2021:

                                                 North:       S       A  5  4

                                                                   H      Q  J  6

                                                                   D      A  K  6

                                                                   C      A   8  6  4

 

                                                 South:       S      9   8  3

                                                                   H      A  K 10  8  5

                                                                   D      Q  J  8   3

                                                                   C      Q

 

Partner opens 1C, you respond 1H and West overcalls 1S, partner jumps to 2NT and you bid a forcing 3H.        Partner cue-bids 4C to show secondary heart support and CA, you bid 4NT (RKCB), partner responds 5C, you enquire with 5D, partner bids 6D to show DK & HQ and you settle for 6H.         West leads SK.       Plan the play.         

Analysis for 13th May 2021:

       The bidding tells you that East probably has seven or more clubs and thus you should expect a bad trump break with West holding the length.       So your first step after winning CA should be to cash SA - if East plays S10 then the odds would favour running SJ next but on today's hand East discards a club and West thus has SQ108 left and a certain trump trick.       Your only hope now is that West follows suit when you cash your winners and you can force a ruff at trick 11 which means West needs to have at least three diamonds and three hearts and a second club.        Winning the DAQK indicates that East has a doubleton diamond and so you are safe to cash DJ discarding a heart.         You  now need to reduce your trump holding to the same length as West in order to effect the end-play and so you ruff a club, follow with HQAK, ruffing the third heart,       Now the coup-de-gras : ducking a trump in both hands and West has to lead away from SQ10 enabling you to take the last two tricks with SJ & SK.

 

Hand for 14th May 2021:

                                                North:       S       K  Q  J

                                                                  H       Q  J   7  6

                                                                  D       K   7  5  3

                                                                  C       8   2

 

                                                South:       S       A  10  7  3

                                                                  H       10  9  4

                                                                  D        A   6

                                                                  C        A  10  9  6

 

You open 1NT (12-14), partner bids 2C Stayman, East doubles for a club lead, you bid 2S, partner cue-bids 3C and you bid 3NT.        West leads C7 and East plays CJ.         Plan the play.

Analysis for 12th May 2021:

      West has shown normally six  spades and thus is unlikely to hold four or more diamonds.        The contract depends on not losing two diamonds.         If the suit breaks 3-2 you can just draw trumps and just lose at most DK.         However you cannot afford to lose DK and a ruff so it is prudent to draw three rounds of trumps before tackling the diamond suit.        Of the 4-1 breaks, West has a singleton 9 or 10 twice as often as a singleton King so you should lead CJ after winning SK at trick 1 and drawing trumps in three rounds.       East can cover with DK but you win DA, cross to SK in order to lead D3 intending to just cover East's card.       If West wins D6 with D8 the the suit is 3-2 and the remaining diamond (S10) will drop when you cash DQ.       If East plays D7 you win DQ, and concede D6 to East's D10 thus making D8 the winning diamond (on the fourth round) and so you make twelve tricks with four diamonds, five hearts, one club and two spades.

 

Hand for 13th May 2021:

                                               North:       S        K  5  2

                                                                 H        A  K  6

                                                                 D        K  J  9  7

                                                                 C        8   5  3

 

                                               South:       S        A   J  9  6  4  3

                                                                 H        Q   J  4

                                                                 D        A   Q 10

                                                                 C        A

 

East pre-empts 3C, you jump to 4S, partner bids 4NT (RKCB) and over your 5C response (3 Aces) bids 6S.

West leads C9 to East's CJ.       Plan the play.  

Analysis for 11th May 2021:

        The bidding tells you that West has the remaining Queens to make up a 1NT opener and probably has four trumps as well when East plays SJ at trick 4 when you can SA.       All you need therefore is to make three more trump tricks to go with the ruff at trick 3, SA, DAK & HAKQ so you merely need West to follow to three hearts and three diamonds in order to make your contract.        You then cash SK, HAKQ, DAK, ruff a diamond and lead your fourth heart.       If West ruffs high, S10 is now the master trump and otherwise S10 wins a trick "en passant"  as you know that East cannot overruff.

 

Hand for 12th May 2021:

                                                 North:        S       A  4

                                                                    H       A  Q  10  9  6

                                                                    D       J   8    5  4  3

                                                                    C       2

 

                                                  South:       S       K   2

                                                                    H       K   J   2

                                                                    D       A   Q   6

                                                                    C       A   J   10

 

West opens a weak 2S, partner cue-bids 3S (Michaels', hearts and a minor), you bid 4NT (RKCB), partner bids 5S (2 Aces & HQ), and you settle for 6H.        West leads SQ.        Plan the play.

Analysis for 10th May 2021:

           East's double for a diamond lead tells you that rising with DQ is a forlorn hope and the contract appears to rely on a successful guess as to the location of HQ.        However, the best plan is to initially play for split honours in clubs - win DA over East's DJ, cash CA & SA, cross to S9 and lead CJ discarding a diamond if it is not covered by CQ or CK.      You then ruff West's diamond exit, cash HAK and try the ruffing finesse in clubs if HQ has not dropped in two rounds throwing HJ if a club honour does not appear.       When HQ drops doubleton (an 18% chance) you don't need to risk the club finesse and you just claim twelve tricks.

 

Hand for 11th May 2021:

                                               North:       S      10  8   5

                                                                 H       K  4

                                                                 D       K  7   4  3

                                                                 C       7   6   4  2

 

                                               South:       S       A  K   7  3  2

                                                                 H       A  Q   6  2 

                                                                 D       A  10

                                                                 C       J   8

 

West opens a weak 1NT, passed round to your double, passed round to East who runs to 2C (Clubs & a higher suit), passed round to partner who bids 2D, you bid 2S, partner invites with 3S and you bid 4S.        West leads three top clubs (East petering to show an even number).       You ruff and cash SA (East following with HJ).       Plan the play.

Analysis for 9th May 2021:

        The bidding tells you that West has all the missing Kings and Queens and you have to hope that the trumps are not 4-Nil.    The usual way to play this kind of weakish trump fit is to duck one round, take the spade continuation (SQ) and leave the trumps alone thereafter.       As the bidding tells you that West will win the second diamond and cash a third trump you will be unable to ruff a diamond in dummy.       So you should plan for a kind of dummy reversal anticipating to ruff three hearts in hand.        You win HA, ruff a heart, cross to C10, ruff a heart, cross to CJ and ruff a fourth heart.      Even if West can overruff you still come to a trump and two club winners and DA for ten tricks otherwise you cash your winning clubs and DA for ten tricks.

 

Hand for 10th May 2021:

                                               North:       S        10  9  7

                                                                 H         K 10 9  4

                                                                 D         Q  2

                                                                 C         J  10  9  8

 

                                               South:       S         A  K  Q  J  8  5  2

                                                                  H         A  J  3

                                                                  D         A  6

                                                                  C         A

 

You open an artificial 2C, partner responds an artificial 2D, East doubles for a lead, you jump to 3S, partner bids 5S and you bid 6S.        West leads D7.        Plan the play.                                                                              .

Analysis for 8th May 2021:

        The bidding tells you that West has five or more spades heading by the SA only with probably strength in diamonds rather than hearts owing to the opening lead which you naturally win with HK.     It appears that you have a choice of setting up the hearts although it appears that East has the length in the suit and also going for diamond ruffs.      So after HK you cross to DA and ruff a diamond, cash HA to avoid being stuck  in dummy if the defence ducks your later first spade lead, cross to CQ and ruff a  second diamond, cross to CK (noting trumps are 3-1 with West holding the length), ruff a third diamond loser with CJ and lead SJ.       West either has to lead a black card to enable you to cash CA (drawing the outstanding trump) plus SKQ or ruff a possible heart exit in hand before claiming CA & SKQ.        Note the Dentist Coup (Cashing HA as suggested above) , a manoevre named by the late great Terence Reese because of the element of extraction.

 

Hand for 9th May 2021:

                                               North:      S      8   5  2

                                                                H      A 10 4  2

                                                                D      J   3

                                                                C      A  J 10  5

 

                                               South:      S      A   9  7  6  3

                                                                H      Q

                                                                D      A   8  2

                                                                C      K  Q  6  4

 

West opens a weak 1NT, you double after two passes, passed round to East who bids 2D (diamonds and a major),

you bid 2S, and partner raises to 4S.       West leads SK.       Plan the play.

      With only seven tricks on top only due to the spade duplication you need 2 extra tricks which appear to only come from the red suits.       This can come either by winning four diamond tricks if East has DQ or DJ singleton or West has DQJ doubleton or if diamonds are 3-2 and you can manoevre an end-play forcing West to give you a second heart trick.         There is no advantage in ducking the heart lead as West may switch to clubs and you can also block the defence running West's suit by covering a possible second heart lead by East.      So you win HA and cash DK (no honour appearing) and follow with  D2 to dummy's D8 and East's DJ.     When East exits with a spade it is likely that the heart suit is 6-2.      You win SK, cash DA10 and duck a club in both hands, East winning CK and exiting with a spade to your SA.     You can now place twelve of West's cards - six hearts, 3 diamonds, one club and two spades, so you cash CA and SQ and lead H9.      Either West has to allow this to hold for your ninth trick or overtake, cash HQ but concede a trick to your HJ for your ninth trick.

 

Hand for 8th May 2021:

                                             North:      S        J   8

                                                              H        A  K  J  6  3

                                                              D       10

                                                              C        J   9  6  3  2