Join Bridge Winners
Making Lemonade

From time to time, Bridge Winners will feature the blog entry of one of our users.  The following is a blog entry posted by Tom Carmichael, former USA Junior internationalist.

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."

North
AK5
A104
1052
10643
South
QJ1096
K52
AQ9
Q2

Bidding is not an exact science.  Even perfectly reasonable auctions can lead to poor contracts.  Consider 4 by South on this deal from the Sunday A/X Swiss at the Charlotte Regional:

With a combined 25 HCP and a 5-3 major fit, getting to game is fairly typical.  If we could have seen both hands before the bidding was over, we would have stopped in a part-score.  Our task at hand, however, is to try to make 10 tricks on the lead of a small trump.  What's the best plan?

On the surface, it looks like we have 2 sure losers in the club suit and barring a miracle in hearts, a loser there as well.  This leaves us with a 25% chance in the diamond suit of finding the KJ with East.  Certainly not the greatest contract in the world, but not a hopeless one either.

In order to try our luck in the diamond suit, we will need 2 entries to the board.  Thankfully, we have 3:  the AK and the A.  Since we have an extra entry, let's think about any other chances we might have.

Diamonds offer no extra chances.  In hearts, we might pick up QJ doubleton or stiff quack on our right, but we'll find out about those in the course of time.  Nothing we need to do about that suit right now.

Clubs seem like they offer no extra chance, but they actually do, although remote.   Suppose the club layout is something like this:

West
Jxx
North
10643
East
AKxx
South
Q2
D

We can lead a club from the board.  If the layout is as above, East must win the K.  Later we can drive the Ace and then ruff out the Jack to establish the 10 for an extra trick.  If East doesn't win the trick, then we still have our 2 entries to try our 25% chance in diamonds. If East does win the K, we can decide later if we want to play for clubs to come home.  Of course that means we won't have as many entries to take diamond finesses, so this may require some guesswork as to which is best.  But some days...(click NEXT in the following diagram to see the play)

West
842
9863
J73
J97
North
AK5
A104
1052
10643
East
73
QJ7
K864
AK85
South
QJ1096
K52
AQ9
Q2
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
5
3
6
3
1
0
9
4
K
7
1
2
0
3
K
2
7
2
2
1
Q
K
3
4
3
3
1
Q
9
4
A
2
3
2
5

Because of the earlier Q return, East must play either a club or diamond, letting us test everything.  At the table, East returned a diamond to the 9, and J.  A heart return was won on the board.  Ruffing a club high set up the 10, giving us a parking place for the heart loser.  The diamond finesse saw us home.

The full deal:

West
842
9863
J73
J97
North
AK5
A104
1052
10643
East
73
QJ7
K864
AK85
South
QJ1096
K52
AQ9
Q2
W
N
E
S
1
P
1NT
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
5
3
6
3
1
0
9
4
K
7
1
2
0
3
K
2
7
2
2
1
Q
K
3
4
3
3
1
Q
9
4
A
2
3
2
4
9
J
2
0
3
3
9
A
7
2
1
4
3
6
5
Q
J
3
5
3
10
8
A
8
1
6
3
10
6
5
6
1
7
3
5
8
Q
7
3
8
3
11

11 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top