Bridge: get a cup of tea, concentrate on hand
This week’s hand is a little more complex than I usually like but not difficult to follow if you get yourself a cup of tea, turn off the TV and iPhone, stop gazing and smiling at your name being in the results section, and concentrate.
Weak distributional bids at the right vulnerability can be powerfully disruptive to the opponents, but like everything else they come at a price — if you end up in defence declarer usually has a road map in the play of the hand.
The hand came up on Wednesday night in a good game on BBO just as I was wondering what to put in this week’s column.
N/S Vul, Dealer West
Sitting South was an excellent ex-international. West opened 2 Diamonds, which in their system showed a non-opening hand with 5-5 in the majors. North doubled and East passed (a revealing bid) and South passed to await developments as West was sure to bid.
West duly bid 2 hearts and when this came around to South he plumped for 3NT as on the bidding partner must have some spade cards.
West led the heart 10 (interior sequence— look at your ACBL Convention card) and East correctly played the queen , which South ducked and he also ducked the 8. East exited with a Club and West won and continued clubs.
South could now count eight tricks — two diamonds, three clubs, a heart and two spades with no obvious route to the 9th other than knowing that West was guarding both majors.
What else did South know about the hand? East was certainly 2-2 in the majors as he did not prefer spades or hearts after partner’s double and clearly had a stack of diamonds including the King. So, quite a lot of knowledge.
The first step to putting West under pressure was to play a few diamonds — South won the second club, cashed a third and led a diamond.
West predictably showed out and East won dummy’s queen with the King and exited with a diamond which South carefully won in dummy with the Ace, a key play, after which he cashed the Club Queen and now this was the position with Declarer and East West each having won four tricks:
Now a diamond to the Jack and look what happens to poor West! A heart discard makes the Ace – Jack of hearts good and a spade discard is equally fatal as dummy’s spades now become good – contract made !
A really lovely hand and much more fun than making a contract on a 50-50 finesse ! Notice South’s patience in the play of the diamond suit and the great handling of his entries.
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