Join Bridge Winners
Losers and Winners
(Page of 7)

In the first session of the Cavendish pairs, you have the opportunity to make use of a pet convention.

None vul, West deals. As South, you hold:

South
Q752
J94
A
KJ532
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
?

Available to you are:

  • Double: Takeout, shows at least 4-4 in the majors
  • 1NT: 4-card major and a longer minor
  • 2C: Natural
  • Pass, then bid a suit: The bid suit and a higher suit
  • Pass, then double a suit: Takeout
  • Pass, then double 1NT: Penalty


Your choice?


South
Q752
J94
A
KJ532
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
?

As far as shape goes, this hand is made for 1NT showing a 4-card major and a longer minor. The question is whether or not you are strong enough.

Partner is a passed hand and you open all 11-counts, so you don't have a game and the hand probably doesn't belong to you. That is no reason to sit back and pass. It is important to fight for the plus score, either getting to some low-level contract you can make or pushing the opponents up to where you can defeat them. The risk of acting is very small, particularly non-vulnerable. In addition, you have a very descriptive call available which improves your chances of getting to the best strain. Bidding 1NT is clear.

You bid 1NT. The auction concludes:

South
Q752
J94
A
KJ532
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1NT
X
2
P
2
P
P
P

2: Asks for your major

West leads the 3

Your play?


North
K1084
A82
10952
108
South
Q752
J94
A
KJ532
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1NT
X
2
P
2
P
P
P

If you count losers, you get an optimistic picture. You don't figure to lose more than 2 spade tricks, and perhaps not that many. You won't lose two club tricks unless you misguess the clubs. There are no diamond losers. The hearts would have to lie such that the opponents can attack them for you to lose two heart tricks, and if they don't attack hearts you can discard one of dummy's hearts on a club eventually.

The problem with this outlook is that while losers defeat contracts, they don't make contracts. Saying you have only 5 losers isn't enough to make 2. You have to find a way to take 8 winners. Your trumps won't last indefinitely. Where are those 8 winners coming from?

One trick in each red suit for sure. Even pessimistically you should be able to score at least 3 trump tricks, simply by taking a diamond ruff. The rest will have to come from the club suit. If you can get 3 club tricks, you should have enough. Your 10 of clubs along with the club length will probably be sufficient. If you can score extra trump tricks, you won't need as many club tricks. It is important to realize that the bulk of your tricks may have to come from the club suit, and you must play the hand in such a way as to get those club tricks.

It looks natural to duck the spade lead around to your hand. This will pick up the spade suit if West has led from the 9. However, if East inserts the 9 you could be in trouble. East might have AJ9 tripleton or AJ9x, and if you play a second round of spades he will be able to draw some trumps and lead a diamond. This will leave you badly placed to attack clubs, as well as probably depriving you of the needed entries to score your long club.

Perhaps it is better to rise king of spades. If East has AJ9(x) of spades, this will prevent him from continuing the suit. There are other advantages. The king of spades will presumably force the ace, and now you have the boss trump which means you can control how many rounds of trumps are drawn. Also, entries to the long club will be more secure.

The danger with going up king is that East might have ace-doubleton. He wins, returns a spade to West's jack, and West leads a third spade. This limits you to 3 spade winners. However, you will be in dummy for your first club play, which is probably best, and you will have enough late entries to your hand to collect your long club after you establish it. You should have a good chance to get the 3 club winners you will need.

While going up king of spades isn't totally clear, it is probably best. The key to finding such a play is to count your losers and winners. You see that you can afford to lose 2 spade tricks, so playing small and trying to hold your spade losers to 1 isn't necessary. You can also see that you need club winners, making it important to retain entries to your hand and control the trump drawing.

You choose to play small from dummy. East plays the 9, and you win your queen. Now what?


North
K108
A82
10952
108
South
752
J94
A
KJ532
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1NT
X
2
P
2
P
P
P

You need club tricks. You can probably afford 2 club losers. It is the winners which matter. Since there is no convenient dummy entry, you might as well lead up to the 10 of clubs. This could turn out well if West has the queen. Any other play could result in the hand falling apart.

You lead the 2. West plays the 6, and dummy's 10 forces East's ace. East returns the 4 to your ace. How do you continue?


North
K108
A82
1095
8
South
752
J94
KJ53
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1NT
X
2
P
2
P
P
P

Things are going well since now there is only 1 club loser, But the favorable club lie doesn't increase your winner count. You still need to set up the clubs, with the threat of taking either 3 club winners or 4 trump winners.

You cash the king of clubs. Both opponents follow. When you lead a low club, West plays the queen. What do you do now?


North
K108
A82
1095
South
752
J94
J53
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1NT
X
2
P
2
P
P
P

Another good break. This isn't a falsecard. The clubs are clearly 3-3, and you have two club winners waiting to be cashed. The problem is there are still 3 trumps out, so you may have difficulty cashing those clubs. In particular, a 4-1 trump split could result in serious problems. It looks like there should be 8 winners, but you still have to find a way to take them.

Suppose you ruff the club and play a spade. If the spades are 3-2 you are home. But if the spades are 4-1, East can take 2 spade tricks and force you with a diamond. He will have a small trump left to ruff your club winner, and you will not be close to making.

Perhaps you can ruff a diamond in your hand along the way. You could ruff a diamond, and play a good club discarding a heart. If West has a second trump you are okay. West can ruff, but he has no way to prevent you from ruffing another diamond in your If East has 4 trumps, he can ruff, and play ace and jack of spades. You come out a trick short, winning 4 trump tricks and one trick in each side suit.

Maybe you can ruff 2 diamonds in your hand. Ruff a diamond, heart to ace, ruff another diamond. That gets you up to 7 tricks. Now you lead a good club and discard a heart while one opponent ruffs with his small trump. That might work. You still have a diamond in dummy and a small trump in your hand. The only way you would be in trouble would be if East has 4 diamonds so only 6 cards in the majors. Depending on the heart position, the defense might be able to arrange for West to win the second round of hearts and push a high heart through. If you ruff, East overruffs and claims. If you discard East discards his fourth diamond, and you get trump couped at trick 12.

One other possibility to look at is to discard a heart on the third round of clubs. West's best defense is to return a heart, since if he leads a diamond you can go into crossruff mode. You win the ace, ruff a diamond, and lead a good club discarding dummy's last heart. If the trumps are 3-2 you will make. West will ruff as you discard dummy's last heart. There will be no way West can prevent you from ruffing another diamond in your hand and discarding a diamond on your fifth club while East ruffs with his natural trump trick. You would score the queen of spades, the diamond ruff, and 3 trump tricks in dummy along with your 3 side-suit tricks. However, if East has 4 trumps you will go down. East ruffs and plays ace and jack of spades. Even though this gives away a trump trick, you only get 1 diamond ruff and the club suit is dead so all you score are 4 trump tricks.

It is a complex hand. You must consider whether or not you think East would have doubled 2 with AJ9x of spades, or how likely West is to lead a singleton spade. However, the crossruff approach is inferior only when East's shape is 3-3-4-3. Even if this is the distribution West would need K10 or Q10 of hearts and East would have to be alert to dump his heart honor or West won't be able to shove a high heart through dummy at trick 11. All things considered, the crossruff approach is probably best.

You choose to ruff the club and lead the king of spades. The spades are 4-1. East draws 2 rounds of trumps, forces you with a diamond, and down you go. The full hand:

West
3
Q1076
KQJ73
Q76
North
K1084
A82
10952
108
East
AJ96
K53
864
A94
South
Q752
J94
A
KJ532
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1NT
X
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
4
9
Q
3
1
0
2
6
10
A
2
1
1
4
A
3
2
3
2
1
K
7
8
4
3
3
1
3
Q
8
9
1
4
1
K
A
2
7
2
4
2
J
5
6
10
2
4
3
8
8

The crossruff approach would have succeeded. East would ruff the fourth round of clubs and cross to West's heart winner, but then the defense is dead. If West plays a heart you ruff in dummy, and if West plays a diamond you discard a heart and your fourth spade saves the day.

As the play went, West could have defeated the contract by rising with his queen of clubs at trick 2 and shifting to a heart. Perhaps he has enough information to find this defense, but it is far from obvious.

Had you gone up with the king of spades at trick 1 that would have prevented the spade continuation. East would probably have shifted to a diamond. This would tip you off to the spade split. Most likely you would have made the same play of a small club from your hand, and once again West would have to go up queen and shift to a heart to defeat the contract.

Do you agree with partner's 2 call (as opposed to 2 which would be pass or correct to 2)?



West
3
Q1076
KQJ73
Q76
North
K1084
A82
10952
108
East
AJ96
K53
864
A94
South
Q752
J94
A
KJ532
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1NT
X
2
P
2
P
P
P
D
2 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
4
9
Q
3
1
0
2
6
10
A
2
1
1
4
A
3
2
3
2
1
K
7
8
4
3
3
1
3
Q
8
9
1
4
1
K
A
2
7
2
4
2
J
5
6
10
2
4
3
8
8

It looks like the percentage action. While your minor could be diamonds, the odds are that it is clubs. You could have a 6-card club suit, but a 5-card suit is more likely. Your major could easily be spades, and if your major is hearts the 4-3 fit might be best anyway. On this hand, the 2 call got you to a good contract.

The 1NT call showing a 4-card major and a longer minor is very effective vs. a potentially short 1 of a minor opening. Hands with a 4-card major and a 5-card minor are difficult to handle anyway vs. a 1 of a minor opening, and they are even more difficult when the 1 of a minor opening might not be opener's longer minor. This deal illustrates just how effective the treatment can be. Without this treatment, it would be virtually impossible for N-S to find their spade fit.

What do we do when we have a strong notrump overcall? Most pairs who play a potentially short 1 of a minor opening are either playing Precision or some modification of a Polish club. The most common hand for the 1 of a minor opening will be a weak notrump. Well, if your RHO opens a weak notrump and you have a strong notrump, what do you do? You double for penalties, of course. Hence, we do the same. Pass followed by double of 1NT is penalties, showing roughly a strong notrump. There is the danger that the opponents find a major-suit fit, but if they don't have a fit there is a good chance to collect a penalty.

5 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top