Join Bridge Winners
Messy bridge 4
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I don't know if it is appropriate for a junior to say "one from the archives today" since it is all relative. Anyhow, this hand popped up 3 years ago playing MP with a new partner:

South
AJ2
942
AQ10
J863
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
P

You play 2nd/4ths, Reverse Attitude, Standard Count and Standard Smith peters vs NT.

Your lead?

Being quite the traditionalist*** you go with the 3. I am not sure what I lead these days. 4 or the 3 both feel viable. I think I lean towards the 4 on principle. Similarly I wouldn't hate the risk-taker who tries the J. As it turns out, the hokey cokey J works a charm here. 

Solid Opp
KQ74
KQ85
972
97
Partner
Solid Opp
You
AJ2
942
AQ10
J863
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
9
Q
A
2
0
1
3
2

What now?

I think ducking is automatic here. It is for me at any rate.

Solid Opp
KQ74
KQ85
972
97
Partner
Solid Opp
You
AJ2
942
AQ10
J863
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
9
Q
A
2
0
1
3
2
Q
8
0
0
2
5
10
A
3

Is now the time for a tricky falsecard?

Well the signal is thankfully count and not smith peters. I am generally loathe to fake the latter unless obvious. Partner tends to take SP to heart in their later defence. There is a strong case for not playing honest count here. We have a pretty good idea of the hand and might put declarer off cashing the suit. It is unlikely that partner will be completely thrown by this.

Solid Opp
KQ74
KQ85
972
97
Partner
Solid Opp
You
AJ2
942
AQ10
J863
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
9
Q
A
2
0
1
3
2
Q
8
0
0
2
5
10
A
4
2
0
3
5
4

Not this again, what is your stance this around?

Its a pity you don't have the T here as then it could look like JTxx. They may occassionally play you for being tricky and capable of inserting the J from JTxx so it looks like a no cost play.

However, if you think about it further it is pretty clear your intial lead was from a 4 card suit. If you did have JTxx you might have led that? So the question becomes could you have KJxx and would you lead it ahead of JTxx. Add in the fact that if declarer has xxx, AJxx, Kxx, Axx then we have just cost the contract.

I think these two points add up to a win for the Ace.

You are known to be a tricky defender so you insert the J. This does the job in that it makes declarer give you several long looks and a self pitying tank. Unfortunately though they guess the position and put the Q up.

Solid Opp
KQ74
KQ85
972
97
Partner
Solid Opp
You
AJ2
942
AQ10
J863
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
9
Q
A
2
0
1
3
2
Q
8
0
0
2
5
10
A
4
2
0
3
5
J
K
6
0
0
4
K
J
6
2
0
0
5
4
10
9
A
3
1
5
6

Finally we win our ace and it looks like we didn't cost the contract....But what now?

That self pitying tank may not have been declarers best plan as it gave you some thinking time. By now we can pretty much place declarers likely hand as:

xxx

Axx

Kxx or KJx

Axxx

We clearly cannot beat this contract if partner has KQx, but we can limit damage regardless. Similarly there isn't much to worry about when partner has 4.

We need partner to play a diamond through when in. However, their default position will be to play a club back from KQx to guarantee us the 3 tricks. We must do what we can to wrap them in a safety cushion.....The solution: block the suit by playing the J back now.

 

Solid Opp
KQ74
KQ85
972
97
Partner
1086
J103
J864
KQ4
Solid Opp
953
A76
K53
A1052
You
AJ2
942
AQ10
J863
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1
1NT East
NS: 0 EW: 0
3
9
Q
A
2
0
1
3
2
Q
8
0
0
2
5
10
A
4
2
0
3
5
J
K
6
0
0
4
K
J
6
2
0
0
5
4
10
9
A
3
1
5
J
7
4
2
3
2
5
6
2
K
5
1
3
5
J
K
A
7
3
4
5
Q
9
4
3
3
5
5
10
8
6
5
3
6
5
8
7
8
10
2
6
6
7
9
Q
3
0
6
7
E/W +90
13

Neat bidding and play for the most part lead you to around 55% of the matchpoints. Why so little? Well some people passed the hand out and others played 1N by North making.

 

A cute hand regardless. Lots of learning points if you know where to look. There was just one flaw!

Whilst your partner got the memo about the heart falsecard, they clearly missed your second one. In reality they didn't catch onto your plan and thought you had accidentally blocked the club suit. They cleverly overtook your J with the K and fired one confidently back for -150 and 10% of the matchpoints.

 

***Anyone who knows me in the slightest might have guessed I am not a traditionalist. Wasn't then, am not now. Anyway it is time to put my hands up and admit to the crime..... To this day, I still regret overtaking the J!

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