Join Bridge Winners
Simple Game
(Page of 7)

In a quarter-final match in the Senior trials for USA2, you have an immediate evaluation problem.

N-S vul, East deals. As East, you hold:

East
A1086
106
K87
KQ109
W
N
E
S
?

Your 1NT opener here would be 10-12. 1 followed by 1NT would be 13-15.

Your call?

East
A1086
106
K87
KQ109
W
N
E
S
?

This hand has to be worth well more than 12 HCP. Mostly aces and kings, with the queen in one of your 4-card suits. Three 10's, two of which are in your 4-card suits. Too strong for a 1NT opening. A 1NT rebid won't overstate your strength at all.

You open 1. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
?

3: To play, no game interest. Other possibities with minor-suit oriented hands might have been:

1: Negative double for minors (double would show 4+ spades).

2: Forcing, does not promise rebid.

2: Inverted, forcing to 3.

Your call?

East
A1086
106
K87
KQ109
W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
?

Nobody invited you to the party. You have what you figure to have. You have no idea whether or not 4 will make, nor do you have any idea how 5 will fare. Passing is clear.

You pass, ending the auction.

W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
P
P
P

Partner leads the 5. Third and fifth leads.

North
J743
AJ82
10965
A
East
A1086
106
K87
KQ109
W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
P
P
P

You win the ace of spades, declarer playing the 2.

What do you return?

North
J74
AJ82
10965
A
East
1086
106
K87
KQ109
W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
P
P
P

The simple game is to return a spade, hoping partner has led a singleton. Hopefully he will ruff, underlead his ace of diamonds, and you give him another spade ruff. Naturally if you choose to return a spade you will lead the 10, suit- preference for diamonds.

The problem with this is that partner bid 3 knowing that you might have a doubleton diamond. Normally you would expect him to have a 6-card diamond suit for this bid. Might he have something like x xx AQJxx xxxxx? Yes, that is possible. This construction would leave declarer with KQxx KQxxx x Jxx. Many would make a takeout double with that hand, but 1 isn't out of the question.

The other defense is to return a trump to prevent declarer from cross-ruffing the hand. This looks reasonable, since declarer appears to have several losing clubs. Suppose declarer has the feared diamond void, giving him something like Qx KQxxx -- Jxxxxx. Declarer wins the trump return, cashes ace of clubs, trump to hand, club ruff, diamond ruff, club ruff, diamond ruff, gives up a club trick, and his hand is good. That won't work. It is clear that you aren't defeating the contract if declarer has a diamond void.

Suppose declarer's shape is 2-5-1-5 with Qx of spades. If you return a trump, when you get in you can lead another trump, and declarer will be unable to avoid the loss of a club trick. However, if you lead back a spade and partner fails to find a trump shift (likely he will try to give you a spade ruff), declarer can score 8 trump tricks, 1 club trick, and 1 spade trick. This would make declarer's hand something like Qx KQxxx Q Jxxxx. That is possible. But partner's hand would be Kxx xx AJxxx, xxx. That would be a pretty weird 3 call on a 5-3-3-2 hand where you might have a doubleton diamond and the opponents don't necessarily have an 8-card fit. Also, it doesn't seem like partner would be blindly leading away from the king of spades with a hand like that.

Since you need declarer to have a singleton diamond for the defense to have a chance, the best bet is to go for the spade ruff. You should return the 10.

You choose to return a trump. Declarer wins the jack, cashes the ace of clubs, leads a trump to his hand, and claims 11 tricks. The full hand is

West
5
94
AQJ43
J6532
North
J743
AJ82
10965
A
East
A1086
106
K87
KQ109
South
KQ92
KQ753
2
874
W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
7
A
2
2
0
1
6
3
4
J
1
1
1
A
9
4
2
1
2
1
2
10
Q
9
3
3
1
4

The spade return would have worked considerably better.

Did declarer play the proper spade at trick 1?

West
5
94
AQJ43
J6532
North
J743
AJ82
10965
A
East
A1086
106
K87
KQ109
South
KQ92
KQ753
2
874
W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
7
A
2
2
0
1
6
3
4
J
1
1
1
A
9
4
2
1
2
1
2
10
Q
9
3
3
1
4

It might seem like declarer should play a different spade than the 2, since by playing the 2 that makes it clear that West has led his smallest spade. However, playing a higher spade won't work. If declarer plays the 9 East won't play his partner for 52 doubleton, since if that is the case there is no way the hand can be defeated. Similarly, if declarer plays the queen or king of spades East will know that his partner can't have started with 4 spades from the bidding, and once again the hand can't be defeated unless partner has a singleton spade. Playing the 2 as declarer did was the only chance for East to go wrong.

Do you care for West's 3 call?

West
5
94
AQJ43
J6532
North
J743
AJ82
10965
A
East
A1086
106
K87
KQ109
South
KQ92
KQ753
2
874
W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
7
A
2
2
0
1
6
3
4
J
1
1
1
A
9
4
2
1
2
1
2
10
Q
9
3
3
1
4

West could have bid 1, negative double for the minors. However, West holds a singleton spade, so he knows the opponents have at least an 8-card spade fit which they will find if West goes slowly. It is worth risking getting to a 5-2 diamond fit instead of a 5-3 or 5-4 club fit in order to get to the 3-level before N-S can find their spade fit. 3 looks like a good choice.

Do you agree with the N-S auction?

West
5
94
AQJ43
J6532
North
J743
AJ82
10965
A
East
A1086
106
K87
KQ109
South
KQ92
KQ753
2
874
W
N
E
S
1
1
3
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
7
A
2
2
0
1
6
3
4
J
1
1
1
A
9
4
2
1
2
1
2
10
Q
9
3
3
1
4

Some would make a takeout double on the South hand in order to bring spades into the picture. Others may think the hand is too weak for a takeout double, or showing the 5-card heart suit is more important. North's 4 call is clear.

At the other table East also opened a Precision 1. Here South did make a takeout double, which was easier since they play equal-level conversion. South also arrived in 4. On this auction East had no trouble finding the right defense, and 4 went down 1.

When choosing a line of defense, it isn't good enough to follow what seems to be the right theme. One must fully construct a layout which is consistent with all previous actions where the line of defense is correct. Had East done this, he would have seen that the only real hope was to play West for a singleton spade.

20 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top