Monday, January 30, 2017

Defending ONE SPADE, your lead at trick twelve?

You are playing in a matchpointed pairs 8 board individual event, and you are averaging a remarkable 79% after 6 boards. You are now defending ONE SPADE (all Pass). This is what you see. Please click on next for the first few tricks and stop at the diagrammed position.

Have you been counting or have you relaxed in the warm glow of success? How many trump are out. What do you play when you ruff in with the ST. the trump King or the heart. Why? Be specific.

If you have been counting there are 3 trump out in the two card ending. Declarer has 2 and partner has 1. Playing SK is a NULLO play because declarer's last trump will be worth a contract fulfilling trick. No, the only hope is that partner has a high trump and that declarer must helplessly underruff the last two tricks. Return the heart five and feel that warm glow grow into a huge grin. You have won the tourney of 71 people with an over 80 percentage. (In reality I got only 63% for -80 on this board, luckily a forcing NT gets them to a superior club spot or we could compete and go overboard)

The full hand

No doubt you noticed that declarer can always make the contract. It was a poor effort by him not to play a trump collapsing defense's 3 potential tricks. He has at least two opportunities to do so. Also, partner could have ruffed the CJ with his stiff trump Q giving us absolutely no chance to go wrong.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Take partner off that last trick guess

Hugh Kelsey, the bridge writer, in one of his books on Improving Your Partner's Play wrote of an important technique, which is almost an everyday occurrence defending 3NT. The attached example where the mentor sat West and the protege sat East is a case in point.

The ending on the left arose with myself, the expert on lead. I momentarily forgot Kelsey's advice and needlessly put partner to a test or a memory squeeze by cashing my second good spade on trick twelve. Instead, knowing that partner had a club and diamond winner I should exit one trick earlier when partner has two winners left and does not choose the wrong one to throw away. Remember this advice, it will save many disasters in individuals, lower flight games, and in new partnerships.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

That missed "lock" in the ending

A "lock" is a sure thing, a colloquialism among bridge experts. If you play too fast and do not take those extra chances, you may be missing a lock, as I did here.

After a passed hand Drury bid by partner, showing a good 3 or 4 card spade raise, I bid the game. The Queen of clubs was led, won with the Ace in dummy, then followed quickly, club ruff, heart ruff, club ruff, heart ruff (Queen appearing, no idea why)

I now cashed the SK both following, and tried a diamond up to the King. It lost to Lefty. Lefty proceeded to cash DQ, and exited with his last club (a diamond or a spade or a heart hands me the contract). I ruffed, and took stock. When I cashed the Spade Ace the trumps failed to behave and the position was this.

If I had been playing more slowly, I would have realized there is now no need to bank on H"AJ" bringing down a now stiff HK (despite the falsecard). I had a lock! I should play the trump exit (unusual in a cross ruff type of hand), since a) there are no club masters outstanding b) DJ and the club in dummy will either spring to life or I will get a lead into my H:AJ.

Instead, I sadly played the other major suit ace and went one down.

EDIT: If west keeps his HQ, I should ruff out his card of exit, clubs and then play for the endplay which works because Lefty holds all the diamond honors. If I fail to ruff out his card of exit and play a diamond first, he takes his two diamond tricks and exits with HEART QUEEN, I may win but the endplay or stepping stone does not work because he has a card of exit, a club and I must additionally lose a heart to RIGHTY.

Friday, January 20, 2017

A vice-like trump squeeze for 13 tricks

The HA is led against the unambitious contract, but let us assume you are in SEVEN. plan play before reading on.

Let East try to keep parity with dummy in Hearts. You run N minus 2 trump to this end-position.

Now cross to SA,cash SK to turn the screw on E in the hexagonal position

What is E to keep on this trick? If he throws a H equal, advance HQ ruff out, return via CA to enjoy H8. If he throws a club, Cash CA ruff a heart and enjoy C7.

Expertly played 3NT

Ignore the bidding where I had chosen to open 1NT with a stiff King, and was trying to wriggle into three notrump after the transfer

Lead was D4 to the Q and King

I played C9 to the J and Ace, and returned the C4 to the Q and King.

Now west needed to play a Heart but he did not know that on the bidding.

He played DJ, I won, unblocked HK and exited D5, pitching H, (my D9 set up)

Now east was without resource. He tried a club, but instead of running it round to dummy (obvious and wrong) I rose and played three clubs and the established diamond, putting pressure on West in the delayed duck department, in spades and heaarts, he came down to S:AQ H:Q in the three card ending

I pitched all my hearts and one spade and when I played up a spade, West won, and had to give me a Heart stepping stone.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

An Unusual Opportunity for a Discard

They opened one club, partner merely overcalled, after an aggressive evaluation, I first cuebid, then put my partner in the spade game

When a club went to the Ace, and a diamond was returned like an express train, partner took the reasonable line of going up Ace of diamonds and played the King of clubs, pitching a diamond. There was no recovery from here.

This is a curious hand where you need (following the assumption that all the diamonds are bunched up on declarer's left,) to maintain the 8 of diamonds and pitch a heart, because you need the suit-establishment power D8 to set up the D suit for one loser, after trumps are drawn. Therefore the right discard on the King of clubs is a HEART, not the precious D8. Watch. HEART pitch on the King of clubs, spade ace and spade. Now either opponent can arrange to win this trick, although in practice W likely will, and tap dummy with the Queen of clubs. (It makes no difference if W unblocks SK and E wins, and a heart forces north to trump). The next trick is to the Diamond 8 or the diamond 8 led around. North now has TWO trump at least left, to ruff out and set up the diamonds)

So this is a peculiar hand where the suit establishment possibility of AQJ9x opposite 8x indicates it is better to develop this suit with the help of the 8 rather than discard the 8 on a established winner, and get tapped out!!

Welcome to Ramesh's BRIDGE BLOG

In these pages, I comment on hands from Bridge Base Online ACBL tourneys. I play in these with a variety of partners with different degrees of skill. I might present a hand or two from my collection of bridge books, every now and then. I am more interested in play and defense than in complex bidding systems, but I do follow the cut and thrust of Vanderbilt and World Championship Vugraph and try to keep abreast of expert practice in the obstructive and constructive bidding system department. I may also feature, newspaper-style, famous hands from important matches that I saw on Vugraph.

NOTE: For JUNE, I am experimenting with adding BBO's Handviewers, which make bridge movies embedded. Just
scroll down beyond the few sampled book covers and you arrive at the blogs that play themselves with the NEXT button. THANKS, BBO!!

About Me

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Bridge expert for 20 years. I started blogging about bridge only in 2009. Chess follower. Problem fan. Studied hundreds of composition themes in two-movers, fairy chess, the former from the Good Companion era to the modern style of virtual play. Big collector of chess and bridge rare books. My two game blogs bridge blog, and my chess problem themes blog chess expo

My alter ego, The Hideous Hog

My alter ego, The Hideous Hog