Join Bridge Winners
Common Game 2018-10-29 Board 8
West
AQ3
QJ8
K104
A974
North
107654
97
2
KJ1032
East
92
AK104
AQ973
86
South
KJ8
6532
J865
Q5
D
8
West
North
East
South
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
P
P

Analysis by David Loeb

The Bidding: After West opens a strong notrump, North lacks the strength to act with the 5-5 hand. At most tables, East will use Stayman to look for a heart fit. The problem with Stayman is potentially revealing that opener doesn't have a 4-card major or opener has 4 spades and not 4 hearts. This information may help the defense. To avoid helping the defense, many expert partnerships prefer using Low Information Puppet Stayman when holding game forcing values and exactly one 4-card major. The downside of that agreement here is that South will have the opportunity to double 3 and potentially double 3 to help direct the lead. Here, traditional Stayman seems best because it only allows South to double for a club lead. When West denies a 4-card major, East places the contract in 3NT.

The Lead: On this auction South will have 4+ hearts. So North may try to hit South's heart suit. A spade lead is likely to be passive. A club lead risks giving declarer a trick, but is the most likely lead to beat 3NT. In a team game, the defensive goal is typically to beat the contract. In Matchpoints , dropping a trick with a risky lead can be costly. In their WinningNotrumpLeads book, David Bird and Taf Anthias advise on average the declaring side will hold "6.09 cards in each major" and "6.91 in each minor" in a failed Stayman auction. Knowing declarer doesn't have a 4-card major and responder doesn't have a 5-card major makes a major suit lead more attractive. North's lack of a side suit entry decreases the likelihood of scoring North's long clubs if they aren't running immediately. So the reward for a risky club lead is less likely to be realized. A spade lead seems best.

The Play: A spade lead finesses South's King. With a 9-card diamond fit missing the Jack, declarer can pickup a 4-1 split. If South has Jxxx, declarer will not learn of the break in time to benefit. So declarer caters to North holding Jxxx or J8652. This line provides an 87% chance of scoring 5 diamond tricks. Here, South holds Jxxx. So South is likely to score a diamond trick. Declarer has 11 tricks: 2 + 4 + 4 + 1.

If North chooses to lead a club, North's standard lead is the Jack, the top of an interior sequence. If playing Coded Nines and Tens , North's standard lead is 10 showing 0 or 2 higher honors. Many experts refuse to play Coded Nines and Tens on opening lead because it is often helpful to an alert declarer. Here, declarer is known to have at least one 4+ card minor. Given the weakness of North's 4th and 5th clubs, a low club lead may be preferable, On a club lead, declarer must decide how long to Hold Up their Ace. If diamonds break 3-2, declarer has 11 winners. A spade finesse offers a chance for declarer's 12th trick. Since a major suit may be led at some tables, declarer isn't willing to Hold Up more than 1 round at Matchpoints. After winning their Ace at trick 2, declarer tackles the diamonds. When declarer learns of the bad diamond break, they must decide whether to cash their 9 winners or concede a diamond to South to establish dummy's 5th diamond. If declarer knows (or guesses) North led from a 5-card suit, they will throw South in with a diamond. Since declarer held up in clubs, South infers North has the KJ. So the defense has at least 11 HCP. If East-West are playing a 15-17 1NT range, East-West have 28-30 HCP. So declarer must have the AQ. South leads the 8 through declarer. If declarer believes the 8 is an honest card, they may well finesse against the King and score 11 tricks. Since there is no need for South to lead an honest card at this stage, declarer may declines the spade finesse and settle for 10 tricks.

Analysis by Lynn Berg

West opens 1NT. East bids Stayman and then 3NT. The Double Dummy analysis shows this hand making 12 tricks: would you finesse the J on the first or second lead? Don't blame yourself when normal play doesn't match up to what we would do if we could see all four hands.

0 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top