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

Mountnessing Bridge Club



Board 13: Play with the odds - but defend well! 



Hand played on 

8th November 2007

Board number 13

Red Section





Submitted by

Alaric Cundy






























































This is is a good example of how what looks like a 'boring' 'nothing' hand can still provide interest and some points to note.  The first three bids at our table were probably replicated at every table in the room, and the first question is as to whether South has another go after partner shows a minimum opening with length in spades.  Most bids after 2s would be viewed as game invitational, and the majority of possibilities would be forcing.  Ideally South should have at least 11 high card points to bid again, unless there are compensating features.  Here, the 'compensating features' are in fact quite the reverse - both the shortage in partner's suit and the straggly nature of our primary suit suggest we should give up. We can place partner with at most two hearts - our bid showed a 5-card suit, and partner should show 3-card support in preference to a simple rebid of his / her suit if he / she had 3-card support to show.   Let's hope that those nice diamonds will come as a pleasant surprise to partner!


Potentially, Declarer can escape with one trump, two heart, and two club losers, and those diamonds provided a parking space for some of the losers, so the prospects look healthy for Declarer.  The Defence will need to be sharp to defeat this contract.  At our table East started with the doubleton heart.  Not everyone would start off by leading Dummy's suit, but the ploy certainly worked well here!  West won the first two tricks with respectively the jack and Ace of hearts, and then continued with a third heart.  Declarer correctly threw a club, allowing East to ruff.  East continued with a deceptive 7 of diamonds.  Declarer not unreasonably thought that the best ploy now was to hope that the diamonds stood up for three rounds - a reasonable ploy given only six between the two hands.  On the third diamond Declarer could throw the second club, and though the fourth diamond would get ruffed, that would shorten one of the opponent's trumps and allow the discard of the last club, and 8 tricks look to be secure. 


That plan fell apart when West trumped the third Diamond and continued with the fourth heart.  Declarer ruffed low, over-ruffed by East.  So now the defence amassed two hearts, two heart ruffs, and the two black Aces, to take the contract one off.  Declarer can improve his chances by ruffing the fourth heart high, but now East should refrain from over-ruffing, so that when Declarer attempts to draw trumps East can win and has a safe exit in the shape of the remaining trump.  Declarer is then forced to lead away from the King of Clubs, losing the ace of trumps, one heart ruff, two natural hearts, and two clubs - one off!


How could Declarer do better?  Instead of hoping that the diamonds would be 4-3, he / she could instead 'shut their eyes' and lead a club from Dummy towards the King.  That play works as the cards lie, but without the benefit of seeing all four hands, it is only a 50% chance, whereas the chances of a 4-3 diamond break are better than 50%.  In the long run it is generally considered better to play with the odds...


With the new style of reporting you can see what happened at each of the other tables when this hand was played by scrolling down the results page to the travellers.  2S-1 was the most prevalent result, achieved at 3 other tables.  Two pairs made the contract; if East is tempted to lead a club at trick 1, it looks like a very easy make, and possibly that is what happened at those tables.  Two North / South pairs bid on beyond 2S, one playing 3S-2, and the other pair arrived in 3NT by South.  In 3NT Dummy's queen of diamonds is a crucial card that gives Declarer a bit of a hope - potentially there are 5 spades, four diamonds and a club to harvest, but after an initial club lead the sharpest defence can take three clubs, three hearts, and the Ace of spades.  Ouch!  However, in practice, it is not that easy for the defence to get things right, and in practice Declarer got away with one off, to tie with the various 2S-1 scores.


Some lessons to draw: