xmlns:w="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:word" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40"> Mountnessing Bridge Club

Mountnessing Bridge Club



Board 13: One No Trump and all that...



Hand played on 

7th August 2008 

Board number 13

Summer Trophy





Submitted by

Alaric Cundy


























































For the second week running, I have featured a little part-score hand that provides more interest than at first appears!


This auction will have been repeated at many tables - via one route or another the hand was played in 1NT by North at seven of the sixteen tables.  If East is able to bid a natural 2 then some may choose to do that - personally I wouldn't, given that I may well be on lead against 1NT with an obvious line of defence.  At other tables West came into the fray with a 2 bid, and now East must be retrained and pass.  North / South pairs who  found the 4-4 fit in spades, settled in 2, and then read the trump suit carefully fared very well.


Back to our 1NT contract.  East will start with the five top club winners, but with the first discard at trick 3 West is beginning to feel uncomfortable.  It would be fatal to discard diamonds, and a spade discard will surely enable Declarer to pick that suit up - so those lovely hearts need to go.  The majority of discard signaling systems involve throwing cards in suits you do not want, so after seeing three hearts go from partner East will need a bit of imagination to realise that the best lead at trick 6 is the Queen of hearts.  Declarer may duck and East will continue the suit.  Now Declarer has seven tricks available providing the spades are picked up, but if Declarer loses to either of West's Queens there will still be a winning heart left to defeat the contract by up to two tricks.


At our table, unsurprisingly, East read all of partner's heart discards as a desire for a spade switch, which enabled  Declarer to claim four tricks in the suit, plus the two red Aces and the King of diamonds, for a score of +90 - which turned out to be a below average score for North / South!  Four Declarers claimed an overtrick - a very likely outcome if West retains hearts and discards something else.


It requires a clever defence by North / South to defeat a 2 contract by West.  To defeat the contract North / South must claim their five potential side-suit winners before Declarer pitches one or more of them on Dummy's clubs.  To claim five side suit winners the defence needs three in diamonds, and the play in that suit must be razor-sharp.  In practice, North may well help Declarer by leading a club at trick one, and if that happens, Declarer can 'shut the eyes and hope' for a kind break in clubs, and hence can discard a loser before losing to the Ace of trumps.  Eleven out of ten for anyone who spotted this line of defence at the table (or an equivalent variation):  start with the Ace then King of spades.  Now South leads the JACK of diamonds - if Declarer ducks then the Jack provides the defenders with their third trick in the suit; if the Jack is covered then North wins the Ace and now North's pips in the suit are good enough to allow the defenders to pick up Dummy's ten.  I can't think why, but nobody spotted that line in practice!


Of course if West does try 2 then East has to be very restrained because any contract by East / West above 2 should yield a score of at best -100 even against mortal defence.


Three North / South pairs succeeded in buying the contract in 2 - anyone NOT playing a 12-14 or 12-15 1NT opening may well arrive in that spot as a matter of routine.  Though most pairs would play that a double of West's 2 by South would be for penalties, anyone playing it as take-out would land on their feet, courtesy of the inevitable 2 contract that such action would lead to.  In practice, the spade contracts were always played by North - so the obvious start is three top clubs by East.  The best card after the three clubs is again the Queen of hearts, but there is plenty of scope for things to go awry.  With care the Defence can take three clubs, one heart, one diamond, and if Declarer gets the trumps wrong, one spade.