Join Bridge Winners
Escape Route
(Page of 11)

In a round-robin match in the Open Trials, you must find the best escape route after partner's weak notrump gets doubled.

E-W vul, West deals. As South, you hold:

South
AJ865
J1032
9854
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
?

1NT: 10-12

DBL: Penalties

Your runout structure is as follows:

Pass: Non-committal, either wanting to play 1NT or no place better to go. Opener is on his own. He may pass it out there if he so chooses.

Redouble: Forces 2. Assumed to be a 1-suited runout in a suit other than spades.

2, 2, 2: Assumed to be that suit and a higher suit.

2: To play

The general philosophy after our weak notrump is doubled is that we are willing to play any contract undoubled, even if it is a silly contract. Also, opener never corrects to the 3-level, regardless of what responder has supposedly shown. This gives responder latitude to fool around if he so chooses.

Your call?

South
AJ865
J1032
9854
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
?

Obviously you aren't going to pass. Some suit contract figures to be better.

You have a decent 5-card spade suit. However, there is no rush to get to 2. You can bid something else to test the waters, and use your judgment later. 2 will never run away from you, since partner is not permitted to correct to the 3-level regardless of what you have shown. Therefore, once you bid 2, partner will have to pass.

Your best bet is to start with 2. Maybe they won't double you. If they do, and partner passes the double, you can choose whether or not to run and if you do run what sort of path you should take.

You bid 2. Surprisingly, this ends the auction.

South
AJ865
J1032
9854
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

West leads the 6.

North
104
K96
A652
K1032
South
AJ865
J1032
9854
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

What do you play from dummy?

North
104
K96
A652
K1032
South
AJ865
J1032
9854
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

While West might have any trump holding because this auction screams for a trump lead, it can't be right to go up king. East has most of the enemy strength, so he is a favorite to hold the ace of clubs.

You play small. East wins the queen of clubs and cashes the ace of clubs, West following with the 7. East now shifts to the jack of diamonds. What do you do?

North
104
K96
A652
K10
South
AJ865
J1032
98
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

If the goal is to set up the spade suit, it is right to win the diamond shift in dummy and attack spades. This looks like a shaky plan. You probably won't have the entries anyway, and the spades might not behave.

The heart suit looks like a better source of tricks. You can definitely establish a couple of heart tricks, maybe 3, by taking the heart finesse. You need to be in your hand to do that. In addition you would like to be able to ruff two diamonds if you can, and you prefer to retain the ace of diamonds for control. All things considered, it looks best to ruff this trick.

You ruff the diamond shift. What next?

North
104
K96
A65
K10
South
AJ865
J1032
9
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

Clearly you are going to take a heart finesse. The question is: should you lead an honor or should you lead small? If West has queen-doubleton you would like to slip an honor past him, but it seems clear that he would cover from Qx. Leading small at least guarantees a dummy entry for another diamond ruff if East ducks.

What about if West has Qxx? You would like him to cover, so the suit will be ready to run. He won't cover the jack, since he will know you wouldn't be leading the jack without the 10. However, you might be leading the 10 from 10xxx. For that reason, perhaps leading the 10 is the best idea.

You choose to lead a small heart. West plays the 7. You insert the 9, and East wins the ace. East returns the 7. What do you play?

North
104
K6
A65
K10
South
AJ865
J103
9
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

If West started with 3 or 4 hearts, you can win the ace of spades, run the jack of hearts, lead a heart to the king, and ruff a diamond. This will give you a total of 4 trump tricks, 2 heart tricks, 1 diamond trick, and 1 spade trick. The danger is that West started with Qx of hearts. You get the diamond ruff, but you haven't scored the second heart trick. You would have to lead a spade (preferably the jack)and hope that West has both spade honors. If East has one of the honors and West doesn't play the king, he can win and give West a heart ruff to defeat you.

If you duck, West will win and return a trump to prevent you from getting a second diamond ruff. Now you will need East to have the other spade honor, unless you decide to play West for queen-doubleton of hearts.

East did double 1NT, so he figures to have a spade honor. However, the 7 looks like a fairly high spade, so East could have a small doubleton. All things considered, going up ace looks best. This definitely makes unless West has a doubleton heart, and even if West has a doubleton heart you will survive if West has both spade honors.

You choose to duck the spade shift. West wins the queen, and leads the jack of clubs. You win the king, as East discards a diamond. Now what?

North
10
K6
A65
10
South
AJ86
J103
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

If the king of spades is onside, all you have to do is take the finesse. The heart finesse is marked, so you will have a total of at least 2 spade tricks, 2 heart tricks, 1 diamond trick, and 3 trump tricks. If the spade finesse loses you will probably go down more than 1 trick, although if West started with queen-doubleton of hearts you will still survive.

Another approach is to lay down the king of hearts. If the queen doesn't drop you can play a third round of hearts, and decide later whether or not to risk an extra undertrick or two by taking the spade finesse.

You don't have to commit yourself now. You can cash the last trump without giving up anything. At the least this will get a couple of diamond discards out of the opponents, which may minimize the damage if things go badly.

You choose to lead the 10. East follows with the 3. What do you play?

North
10
K6
A65
10
South
AJ86
J103
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

If East's carding is to be believed, he doesn't have the king of spades. In addition, he might have thought about covering if he had the king. Taking the finesse and being wrong could be costly, since you would also not be able to repeat the heart finesse. Only a part-score is at stake, and 50 points a trick add up. Still it is a good idea to try to make your contract, and you can still survive if West started with queen-doubleton of hearts. Thus, unless you are pretty sure about the location of the king of spades you should finesse.

You choose to back your judgment and go up ace of spades. West follows with the 2. What do you do next?

North
K6
A65
10
South
J86
J103
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P

You now need 3 heart tricks to make, and the only way to get them is to lead a small heart and hope the queen pops up. If it doesn't you will be down 2. Taking the heart finesse will always result in down 1. West will certainly not cover if he started with Qxx.

If your read of the spade suit is right, there is a very good chance that West did start with queen-doubleton of hearts. West is known to have 3 clubs, and if the spade plays are to be believed he has 4 spades. If he had only 3 diamonds that would leave East with 6 diamonds, and East would certainly not have sold out to 2 with that. This gives West 4 diamonds, hence only 2 hearts. Thus, leading a small heart and trying to make the contract looks right.

You lead a small heart. The queen pops up, and you have 8 tricks. The full hand is:

West
KQ92
Q7
Q973
J76
North
104
K96
A652
K1032
East
73
A854
KJ1084
AQ
South
AJ865
J1032
9854
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
2
Q
4
2
0
1
A
5
7
3
2
0
2
J
8
3
2
3
1
2
2
7
9
A
2
1
3
7
5
Q
4
0
1
4
J
K
4
9
1
2
4
10
3
A
2
3
3
4
3
Q
8

How was the defense?

West
KQ92
Q7
Q973
J76
North
104
K96
A652
K1032
East
73
A854
KJ1084
AQ
South
AJ865
J1032
9854
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
2
Q
4
2
0
1
A
5
7
3
2
0
2
J
8
3
2
3
1
2
2
7
9
A
2
1
3
7
5
Q
4
0
1
4
J
K
4
9
1
2
4
10
3
A
2
3
3
4
3
Q
8

The trump lead is clear. A trump lead is almost always right when defending a low-level contract where your side has the majority of the strength and one of the opponents may have ruffing values.

East's jack of diamonds return doesn't look right. Declarer could have the queen of diamonds. It might even be singleton, so if East does shift to a diamond he should lead the king. However, a spade return up to dummy's weakness looks more natural.

What went wrong with the E-W auction?

West
KQ92
Q7
Q973
J76
North
104
K96
A652
K1032
East
73
A854
KJ1084
AQ
South
AJ865
J1032
9854
W
N
E
S
P
1NT
X
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
6
2
Q
4
2
0
1
A
5
7
3
2
0
2
J
8
3
2
3
1
2
2
7
9
A
2
1
3
7
5
Q
4
0
1
4
J
K
4
9
1
2
4
10
3
A
2
3
3
4
3
Q
8

The initial double is okay. After that, it is a matter of partnership agreement. What do doubles by either partner mean? Is a force created? It appears that West thought his pass was forcing, while East didn't think he was in a force. Even so, East certainly should have bid 2, since that figures to be better than defending 2.

Declarer's line of play looks inconsistent, and it probably is. That doesn't make it necessarily wrong. One often goes on one's gut feeling, and that feeling may change during the hand.

72 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top