Join Bridge Winners
Attitude vs. Count
(Page of 13)

In a round of 16 match in the Open Trials, you have to decide how best to handle a third seat opener.

Both vul, West deals. As East, you hold:

East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
W
N
E
S
P
P
?

Your 1NT opening range in third seat is 15-17.

In first or second seat, a 6-card suit is required for a 2 opener -- with this 3-3-2-5 shape you must open 1 if not in your 1NT range. In third or fourth seat, you may open 2 with a 5-card suit if that looks right.

Your call?

East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
W
N
E
S
P
P
?

Even with the 5-card club suit and prime cards, this hand isn't worth a 15-17 1NT opener. Partner is a passed hand, so it is unlikely that you have a game even if he has a maximum pass. There is no need to induce him to look for a game. This is the reason we up our 1NT range to 15-17 in third and fourth seat.

The club suit is decent. However, with 3-cards in both majors it isn't worth opening 2, which may shut out a major-suit response. The normal Precision 1 opening looks best.

You open 1. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
?

3: Preemptive

Your call?

East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
?

You have a double spade stopper and a possible source of tricks in clubs for notrump. However, partner could be light for his 3 call. You have no business bidding on. Similarly, while you have good defense against spades you have no particular reason to think 3 is going down. Passing is clear.

You pass, ending the auction.

W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

Partner leads the king of hearts:

North
986
Q854
AQ10
QJ10
East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

From an AK holding, partner may lead either the ace or the king. If he leads the ace, he wants a standard attitude signal. If he leads the king, he wants a suit-preference signal.

When giving the trick 1 suit-preference signal, 2, 3, 4 (by priority) are suit-preference low. 10, 9, 8 (by priority) are suit-preference high. 6, 5, 7 (by priority) are encouraging. The jack means that you do not have a card in the category for which you wish to signal.

Your play?

North
986
Q854
AQ10
QJ10
East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

Obviously you play the 2, as it is a club shift you want. This is a good hand for suit-preference at trick 1, since otherwise partner might be inclined to shift to a diamond.

You play the 2. Declarer follows with the 6. Partner cashes the ace of hearts. Which heart do you play now?

North
986
Q85
AQ10
QJ10
East
AQ3
J10
52
AK654
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

You want to make it clear to partner that you really meant it when you played the 2, as opposed to not being able to signal for something else. You can best do this by playing the 10. Partner will know you definitely want a club shift, since you had the 10 to signal for a diamond shift if that is what you wanted.

You play the 10. Declarer follows with the 7.

Partner shifts to the 7. Which club do you win with?

North
986
Q8
AQ10
QJ10
East
AQ3
J
52
AK654
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

If you know for certain that you are going to be playing AK of clubs, then the order of your club plays should be suit-preference. You can't be sure of this. Also you don't really need to give a suit-preference signal here, since if you had the king of diamonds you wouldn't have played the 2 at trick 1. You should win with the king of clubs.

You choose to win with the ace of clubs. Declarer plays the 8. Your default agreement on shifts in the middle of the hand is attitude. What do you do next?

North
986
Q8
AQ10
QJ
East
AQ3
J
52
K654
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

The attitude vs. count problem comes up all the time. Which is partner showing here?

Partner's cash of the ace of hearts is some indication that he has a doubleton heart. If his 7 is interpreted as attitude, he wants you to give him a heart ruff.

On the other hand, does attitude really make sense here? Partner knows you have to have AK of clubs, and you know he knows it. Even if you don't have the king of clubs, you know from his initial pass that he almost certainly doesn't have a club honor, and he knows you know it. If both of you know that he doesn't have a club honor, his play can't logically be attitude. It must be count.

Could he have 4 clubs? That would be possible, as his shape could be 1-2-6-4. However, if he is showing an even number of clubs he would have led the highest club he could afford in order to avoid any ambiguity as much as possible. With 9742, he would have led the 9. Therefore, he shouldn't have that, so your king of clubs has to cash. You should cash that first, and see what happens on the trick.

You cash the king of clubs. Declarer plays the 9, and partner the 2. Now what?

North
986
Q8
AQ10
Q
East
AQ3
J
52
654
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

The 3 is missing, and declarer could easily be concealing that spot. Partner's 7 shift looks like a doubleton. It seems strange that he would cash the ace of hearts if he didn't have a doubleton heart, but maybe he felt he needed further clarification before playing a minor. The 7 shift looks like the signal to believe.

You lead the 5. Declarer discards a heart, winning in dummy. Declarer now leads diamond to his king (3 from partner, UDCA), diamond to queen (4 from partner), and the ace of diamonds. What do you play?

North
986
Q8
A
East
AQ3
J
64
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

Naturally you ruff small. Declarer won't be geting to dummy any more, so you will score your queen of spades.

You ruff small. Declarer overruffs, and leads the king of spades to your ace, partner playing the 5. What now?

North
98
Q8
East
Q
J
64
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P

Declarer was clearly trying to discard his last heart on the ace of diamonds. His shape must be 5-4-2-2, and you can give partner a heart ruff.

You lead the jack of hearts. Partner ruffs, and you still get your queen of spades for down 3. The full hand is:

West
75
AK
J98643
732
North
986
Q854
AQ10
QJ10
East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
South
KJ1042
9763
K7
98
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
4
2
6
0
0
1
A
5
10
7
0
0
2
7
10
A
8
2
0
3
K
9
2
J
2
0
4
5
3
3
Q
1
1
4
10
2
K
3
3
2
4
7
4
Q
5
1
3
4
A
3
4
6
3
4
4
K
5
6
A
2
4
5
J
9
7
8
0
4
6
10

Oddly enough, playing the third round of clubs worked out better for the defense. Had East given his partner the heart ruff, declarer would have simply finessed East for the queen of spades and gotten out for down 2.

How was West's defense?

West
75
AK
J98643
732
North
986
Q854
AQ10
QJ10
East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
South
KJ1042
9763
K7
98
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
4
2
6
0
0
1
A
5
10
7
0
0
2
7
10
A
8
2
0
3
K
9
2
J
2
0
4
5
3
3
Q
1
1
4
10
2
K
3
3
2
4
7
4
Q
5
1
3
4
A
3
4
6
3
4
4
K
5
6
A
2
4
5
J
9
7
8
0
4
6
10

Leading the king of hearts is clear. West knows it is a suit-preference signal he will be looking for. Cashing the ace of hearts also figures to be right, since if East has the ace of clubs West can get a heart ruff.

As discussed, West should lead the count 2 even though the default signal is attitude. West can't possibly want a club return unless he is after a ruff.

How about declarer's line of play?

West
75
AK
J98643
732
North
986
Q854
AQ10
QJ10
East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
South
KJ1042
9763
K7
98
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
4
2
6
0
0
1
A
5
10
7
0
0
2
7
10
A
8
2
0
3
K
9
2
J
2
0
4
5
3
3
Q
1
1
4
10
2
K
3
3
2
4
7
4
Q
5
1
3
4
A
3
4
6
3
4
4
K
5
6
A
2
4
5
J
9
7
8
0
4
6
10

Declarer was hoping three rounds of diamonds would go through so he would not suffer a heart ruff. That was unrealistic. There is no way West would be bidding 3 opposite a potential doubleton diamond with jack-fifth. In addition to East having 3 diamonds, declarer would need to find East with AQ doubleton of spades to avoid the ruff, and even if declarer found that the contract would still be down 1. At 100 a trick, declarer should be trying to hold his losses. Leading the 9 off dummy would result in down 2, and if East got careless and ducked it would be down 1.

How was the N-S bidding?

West
75
AK
J98643
732
North
986
Q854
AQ10
QJ10
East
AQ3
J102
52
AK654
South
KJ1042
9763
K7
98
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
1
3
3
P
P
P
D
3 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
K
4
2
6
0
0
1
A
5
10
7
0
0
2
7
10
A
8
2
0
3
K
9
2
J
2
0
4
5
3
3
Q
1
1
4
10
2
K
3
3
2
4
7
4
Q
5
1
3
4
A
3
4
6
3
4
4
K
5
6
A
2
4
5
J
9
7
8
0
4
6
10

The overcall was very light. It has the advantage of lead-direction, since South definitely wants a spade lead vs. 3NT. North is a passed hand, so North is unlikely to have enough to bury the overcall. If it weren't for the annoying 3 call North would have been able to show his strength by cue-bidding, and they would have stopped at 2. If North weren't a passed hand, overcalling would definitely be wrong.

North would have liked to be able to invite game, since he has a maximum pass.  The 3 call made this impossible.  All he could do is bid 3 and hope his partner gets it right.

At the other table South didn't overcall, and E-W arrived at 3. This should have been destined to go down 1, but South found an unfortunate spade lead which allowed the contract to make.

It is important to have default agreements about the meanings of defensive carding. Trying to work out each situation by logic too often leads to a mixup since partner might not be on the same page, particularly since he is looking at different information than you are. Only when it is 100% clear to both partners that the default meaning is either known or irrelevant should a different meaning apply. On this hand, it should have been 100% clear to both partners.

25 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top