Join Bridge Winners
Every Trick Counts
(Page of 16)

In a round of 16 match in the Open Trials, you have to find the best response to partner's strong 1 opening.

Both vul, South deals. As North, you hold:

North
A1085
75
84
K8642
W
N
E
S
1
P
?

1: Strong artificial

Your 1 negative response is defined as 0-8 points, although you can upgrade to a positive response if you think the hand calls for it. Anything else would be a game force, with transfer responses.

Your call?

North
A1085
75
84
K8642
W
N
E
S
1
P
?

You have an ace and a king, which is nice, but this hand isn't worth any kind of upgrade. Once you limit your hand with 1 you will be able to bid strongly later if that looks justified.

You bid 1. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
?

1: 0-8 HCP

1NT: 17-19 HCP

Available to you for this hand are:

2: This would be puppet Stayman. After partner's expected 2 call, denying a 5-card major, you would bid 2. This shows 4 spades, fewer than 4 hearts, at least invitational values. Partner will guide you to the best contract.

2: This is a initially a size ask. Partner bids 2NT with a minimum, 3 with a non-minimum. Over this, you can if you wish show any 5-4-2-2 shape with a 5-card minor and a 4-card major in a coded manner.

Your call?

North
A1085
75
84
K8642
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
?

If partner has a minimum, your side has 24 HCP. While game might not make, this is the sort of hand you must drive to game. You cannot afford to bring back +150 lose 10 to the comparison when the club suit comes in.

Given that you are driving to game, you should take advantage of your treatment which allows you to show your exact shape. Partner will be able to find the right game, which might be a 4-3 spade fit or a 5 contract.

You bid 2. The bidding continues:

W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
?

2: Size ask

3: Non-minimum

Your coding to show your shape if you are 5-4-2-2 with a 4-card major and a 5-card minor is as follows:

3: Shows 4 hearts. Partner can ask about the minor with 3 if he is interested, and you show your minor, with 3 showing 5 clubs and 3NT showing 5 diamonds.

3: Shows 4 spades and 5 clubs

3: Shows 4 spades and 5 diamonds

3NT: To play

Your call?

North
A1085
75
84
K8642
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
?

Of course you follow through by bidding 3, showing your exact shape.

You bid 3. The auction concludes:

W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

3: 4-2-2-5

Over you go to partner's side to play it.

West leads the 3. Fourth best leads vs. notrump.

North
A1085
75
84
K8642
South
Q4
A1063
AKJ
AJ95
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

Which spade do you play from dummy?

North
A1085
75
84
K8642
South
Q4
A1063
AKJ
AJ95
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

There is no need to waste a spot from dummy. East isn't going to be sticking in the 7 from something like J7 doubleton. Even if West has KJ9xx of spades, winning the 8 doesn't gain you anything. Dummy's spade spots may come in handy later.

You play the 5. East plays the jack, and you win the queen. What do you do next?

North
A108
75
84
K8642
South
4
A1063
AKJ
AJ95
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

You are off to a nice start. West clearly has the king of spades, so you have 3 sure spade tricks. The contract is cold, so you can maximize your play for overtricks. Every trick counts.

West wouldn't have been likely to lead from K9xx of spades with dummy having bid spades, so you can place him with a 5-card spade suit. That puts club length in the East hand, making the club finesse the percentage play.

You would like to lead the 9 to unblock the suit. The problem is that if East has Q107x of clubs, that would give him a club trick. It looks better to lead the 5 of clubs to the king and take the finesse. If West has the queen of clubs he can cut you off dummy with a spade continuation which would hold you to 3 club tricks. That isn't going to be appealing to him, since he has no reason to think you have blocked the club suit. Even if this happens, you will still have at least 9 winners.

You lead the 5 to the king, both following, and a club to your jack when East follows. West wins the queen of clubs, and shifts to the 9. East plays the jack. Do you win or duck?

North
A108
75
84
864
South
4
A1063
AKJ
A9
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

It appears that East has KQJ of hearts. You can see a possible squeeze coming. It looks right to duck in order to correct the count. Once again the defense can cut you off from the long club with a spade shift, but in real life East isn't going to find that.

You duck. East continues with the king of hearts. Do you win or duck?

North
A108
7
84
864
South
4
A106
AKJ
A9
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

This is the trick to win. You can count 4 club tricks, 3 spade tricks, 2 diamond tricks, and 1 heart trick. You have lost 2 tricks. The conditions are perfect for your squeeze. West has to guard spades, East has to guard hearts, so nobody will be able to guard diamonds. You will not need to take a diamond finesse.

You win the ace of hearts. West follows with the 2. What next?

North
A108
84
864
South
4
106
AKJ
A9
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

You clearly have to unblock the clubs before you do anything else. This will force some discards from the opponents.

You cash the club ace and 9. West discards the 2 and 6. East discards the 3 and the 4.

What do you play now?

North
A108
84
8
South
4
106
AKJ
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

The opponents have discarded a few diamonds, and it is possible that somebody has blanked the queen of diamonds. You aren't planning on taking a diamond finesse anyway, so it can't hurt you to cash one top diamond.

You cash the ace of diamonds. West plays the 9, and East the 5. Now what?

North
A108
8
8
South
4
106
KJ
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

The stage is set. When you take the winning spade finesse, cash the ace of spades (discarding a heart), and cash the good club, you will have a classic double squeeze. East will have to hold the queen of hearts, so he will be forced to discard down to a singleton diamond. You will then discard your 10, and West will be under pressure. He will have to retain his king of spades, so he also must discard a diamond. Your diamonds will then be good.

You lead a spade. West follows with the 2. You confidently finesse the 10.

East shocks you by producing the king. He shifts to the 10. What do you play?

North
A8
8
8
South
106
KJ
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

That was a disaster, but you may have a reprieve. East discarded a heart. The remaining hearts might now be 1-1. If so, you can win a diamond finesse, lead a heart, and you get the last 2 tricks. It looks like your only chance.

You play the jack of diamonds. West wins the queen. West now leads the 6. What do you play?

North
A8
8
South
106
K
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

Another reprieve. West must be down to all spades, else he would have exited with a red card. That is consistent with his 3 lead. You can take the spade finesse and stagger home with your contract.

You call for the 8. East tops the 8 with the 9. What do you discard?

North
A8
8
South
106
K
W
N
E
S
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3NT
P
P
P

You know East has the queen of hearts left. What is his other card? If it is a spade, nothing matters. If it is a red card, you are in a pseudo-squeeze.

There are several reasons why East's last card figures to be a heart. West might not have discarded down to queen-doubleton of diamonds. More important, if West has the remaining heart he would have led it for a sure set rather than risk letting you make the contract.

You discard the king of diamonds. East cashes his queen of hearts. Much to your horror, West follows with the 8. And now East produces the final insult by triumphantly shouting "BEER" as he tables the good 7 for the final trick. You are down 3. The full hand is:

West
7632
982
Q962
Q7
North
A1085
75
84
K8642
East
KJ9
KQJ4
10753
103
South
Q4
A1063
AKJ
AJ95
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
1N
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3N
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
5
J
Q
3
1
0
5
7
K
3
1
2
0
2
10
J
Q
0
2
1
9
5
J
3
2
2
2
K
A
2
7
3
3
2
A
2
4
3
3
4
2
9
6
6
4
3
5
2
A
9
4
5
3
6
2
4
2
10
K
2
6
3
10
J
Q
8
0
6
4
6
8
9
K
2
6
5
Q
6
8
8
2
6
6
7
13

What do you think of the defense?

West
7632
982
Q962
Q7
North
A1085
75
84
K8642
East
KJ9
KQJ4
10753
103
South
Q4
A1063
AKJ
AJ95
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
1N
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3N
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
5
J
Q
3
1
0
5
7
K
3
1
2
0
2
10
J
Q
0
2
1
9
5
J
3
2
2
2
K
A
2
7
3
3
2
A
2
4
3
3
4
2
9
6
6
4
3
5
2
A
9
4
5
3
6
2
4
2
10
K
2
6
3
10
J
Q
8
0
6
4
6
8
9
K
2
6
5
Q
6
8
8
2
6
6
7
13

West had a difficult opening lead. He knew declarer had to be prepared for a red-suit opening lead, so that didn't seem too promising. The spade lead might catch partner with some spade strength, and might knock out a key entry to the club suit. West didn't want to show too much length in the suit, but he didn't want to tip declarer off with a top of nothing lead. The 3 looked like a good compromise.

East's play at trick 1 was quite imaginative. If West has the queen of spades it wouldn't matter, since East would be shifting to a heart in all variations. However, if declarer has the queen of spades, East's play might lull declarer into a false sense of security.

West could have cut the communications immediately by continuing spades when in with the queen of clubs. He had no idea that his partner had the king of spades, so he naturally thought declarer started with KQx. The heart shift looked like the only chance.

West knew he had to keep his spades in case his partner actually played the jack of spades from KJ. Also, he didn't want to discard his last heart since that heart is in essence a winner. Coming down to Qx of diamonds looked safe, since if declarer needed an extra trick in diamonds he would take a finesse. East knew he better not discard two diamonds, as that may tip declarer off about the diamond suit.

At the end, West knew the position. He could have led a heart and settled for down 1. However, he also knew that declarer would take the finesse in an effort to make the contract. Every trick counts.

How was South's auction?

West
7632
982
Q962
Q7
North
A1085
75
84
K8642
East
KJ9
KQJ4
10753
103
South
Q4
A1063
AKJ
AJ95
W
N
E
S
 
1
P
1
P
1N
P
2
P
3
P
3
P
3N
P
P
P
D
3NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
5
J
Q
3
1
0
5
7
K
3
1
2
0
2
10
J
Q
0
2
1
9
5
J
3
2
2
2
K
A
2
7
3
3
2
A
2
4
3
3
4
2
9
6
6
4
3
5
2
A
9
4
5
3
6
2
4
2
10
K
2
6
3
10
J
Q
8
0
6
4
6
8
9
K
2
6
5
Q
6
8
8
2
6
6
7
13

It looks accurate. There is no need to upgrade to a 2NT rebid, which would show 20-21 points (an opening 2NT bid would be both minors, less than an opening bid). The 1NT rebid gives North more room to have an accurate auction as well as allowing North to stop at a low level if he has nothing. Obviously South has an easy 3NT call opposite North's 4-2-2-5 shape.

While it didn't matter on this hand, the treatment showing the 5-4-2-2 could have reaped big benefits if South were weak in one of the red suits. Picture South with something like: KQx xx AKxxx AQx. South would know to stay away from 3NT, and that 4 in the 4-3 fit is probably the best contract.

At the other table, declarer did a little better. He received a diamond lead to his jack. He cashed the ace of clubs, and then carefully led the 9 of clubs to dummy's king. When the clubs split, he led a spade off dummy. East went up king, and shifted to the king of hearts. Declarer won, ran his winners, and when the J9 of spades came down he made the rest for 12 tricks.

Greed is a terrible thing. After the hand was over, North could be seen shaking his head, and was heard muttering under his breath: Only a fool would risk his contract for an overtrick.

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