Join Bridge Winners
Not a Trap
(Page of 10)

In a round-robin match in the Open Trials, you have to decide whether or not to enter the auction over an opening bid with a good balanced hand.

E-W vul, North deals. As West, you hold:

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
?

Your call?

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
?

You have the strength for a 1NT overcall, but it isn't too attractive. Partner is a passed hand, so if you pass you aren't likely to be missing a game. 1NT could go for a number if North has the balance of strength, and you don't have a place to run. Passing looks better. This is not a trap pass, although you do have a strong holding in the opening bid suit. You simply figure to get a better result by passing then by bidding.

You pass. The bidding continues:

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

Double would tend to be penalty oriented, likely short in spades.

Your call?

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
?

While you might be defeating 1NT, the odds are against doubling. At best you could collect 300. On the downside, they could be making, perhaps with an overtrick, and perhaps redoubled. Partner is a passed hand, so it is very unlikely that you have a game score which needs to be protected. Going quietly looks like the percentage action.

You pass, ending the auction.

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

Your lead. Attitude leads. UDCA signals. No Smith.

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P

While anything could be right, it is hard to make a case for other than a club lead. Declarer might not have a 4-card club suit, and even if he does your clubs are good enough to establish if partner has some help. A club lead might cost a trick, but so might leading any other suit.

You lead the 4.

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
North
KQ982
1092
Q107
73
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P

Partner plays the 9, and declarer wins the 10. At trick 2, declarer leads the 3. You play small, and dummy wins the king as partner plays the 5. Declarer leads the 2 to his ace, partner playing the 4. Declarer now leads the 6. Do you win or duck?

West
AJ
J
KJ6
AJ86
North
Q982
109
Q107
7
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P

Even the most die-hard count haters will agree that partner's first spade play is a count card. His 5 is the smallest outstanding spade. Since you play UDCA, he started with a doubleton. It would be right to win the ace of spades only if declarer might have 7 top tricks if you duck and the defense has a chance to cash 7 winners. That clearly isn't the case here.

You play the jack of spades. Dummy wins the queen, partner playing the 7. Declarer now leads the 10 and lets it ride to your jack, partner playing the 5 and declarer the 6. What do you play?

West
A
KJ6
AJ86
North
982
9
Q107
7
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P

What do you know about the hand? Declarer definitely started with 3 spades, and he must have 4 hearts to be attacking the heart suit. He could be 2-4 or 3-3 in the minors, both of which would be consistent with what has happened so far.

Declarer is marked with KQ of clubs from trick 1. He must have AK of hearts for his heart plays and overall line of play to make sense. That marks the ace of diamonds in partner's hand.

One club lead through will establish your club suit. This will give the defense 1 spade, 1 heart, 2 diamonds, and 3 clubs. Meanwhile, declarer will have only 2 spades, 2 hearts, and 2 clubs. Even if partner doesn't have the 8 of hearts, declarer will be unable to get to dummy for a heart finesse.

All you have to do is lead a diamond to partner's ace. There is no need to cash your ace of spades and force partner to make a discard. Leading a small diamond is right. The jack could confuse partner. Leading king and a diamond would be wrong, as that would set up a diamond trick for declarer if declarer has 3 diamonds.

You lead the 6. The 10 is played from dummy. Partner plays the 3, and declarer the 2. Declarer now leads a club to his king. How do you defend?

West
A
KJ
AJ86
North
982
9
Q7
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P

Clearly you must win this trick, as declarer would have 7 tricks with 2 spades, 2 hearts, 1 diamond, and 2 clubs. Also, it is necessary to cash out.

You know the correct defense is to cash your ace of spades and run as many diamonds as possible. Partner might not see the position. In order to make it clear to partner what to discard on the ace of spades, you should cash your king of diamonds before the ace of spades. Partner will then know to hold all of his diamonds.

You cash the king of diamonds, and then the ace of spades. Partner discards a heart. You lead a diamond, and partner runs his diamonds for down 1. The full hand is:

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
North
KQ982
1092
Q107
73
East
75
Q854
A9843
95
South
1063
AK76
52
KQ102
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
3
9
10
3
1
0
3
4
K
5
1
2
0
2
4
A
3
3
3
0
6
J
Q
7
1
4
0
10
5
6
J
0
4
1
6
10
3
2
1
5
1
7
5
K
A
0
5
2
K
7
4
5
0
5
3
A
2
8
10
0
5
4
J
10

How was declarer's line of play?

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
North
KQ982
1092
Q107
73
East
75
Q854
A9843
95
South
1063
AK76
52
KQ102
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
3
9
10
3
1
0
3
4
K
5
1
2
0
2
4
A
3
3
3
0
6
J
Q
7
1
4
0
10
5
6
J
0
4
1
6
10
3
2
1
5
1
7
5
K
A
0
5
2
K
7
4
5
0
5
3
A
2
8
10
0
5
4
J
10

Declarer had to go after spades as his main source of tricks, but he could have handled his spots better. The first two spades out of his hand should have been the 6 and the 10, concealing the 3. This might have made it more difficult for West to get a count on the spade suit. The general false-carding principle is to signal honestly, using the defender's carding methods. Declarer has an odd number of spades, so he should be playing his high spades, showing upside-down count. On this hand East's 5 would have been readable, but on other layouts it might have been more difficult to read.

When declarer crossed to his hand with a heart, he should have played the king, not the ace. By playing the ace he might as well be waving the king in front of the defenders, since they know he wouldn't be playing a heart to the ace unless he has the king. By playing the king first, declarer conceals the location of the ace.

After the second spade won, declarer would have given himself a better chance by continuing spades. He really has no chance if the jack of diamonds is offside. If it is onside the defense will not be able to establish diamond tricks, and will be hard-pressed to prevent declarer from taking 7 tricks.

Was East correct to duck the diamond shift?

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
North
KQ982
1092
Q107
73
East
75
Q854
A9843
95
South
1063
AK76
52
KQ102
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
3
9
10
3
1
0
3
4
K
5
1
2
0
2
4
A
3
3
3
0
6
J
Q
7
1
4
0
10
5
6
J
0
4
1
6
10
3
2
1
5
1
7
5
K
A
0
5
2
K
7
4
5
0
5
3
A
2
8
10
0
5
4
J
10

At the point West shifted to the diamond, East could not read the diamond position. Regardless of what was going on, it couldn't hurt to duck. If West has KJ6 of diamonds, ducking will permit taking 4 diamond tricks. If declarer has the diamond honors, there is no rush to win the ace and it might be important to retain it in order to keep declarer off dummy.

Do you like the N-S auction?

West
AJ4
J3
KJ6
AJ864
North
KQ982
1092
Q107
73
East
75
Q854
A9843
95
South
1063
AK76
52
KQ102
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
1
P
1NT
P
P
P
D
1NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
4
3
9
10
3
1
0
3
4
K
5
1
2
0
2
4
A
3
3
3
0
6
J
Q
7
1
4
0
10
5
6
J
0
4
1
6
10
3
2
1
5
1
7
5
K
A
0
5
2
K
7
4
5
0
5
3
A
2
8
10
0
5
4
J
10

There was no reason for South to rebid 1NT. N-S don't have a game with North being a passed hand, and 1 figures to be at least as good a contract as 1NT. 1 and 1NT contract for the same number of tricks, so it figures to be better to play in a trump suit where you have the majority of trumps than to play with no trump suit. In addition, passing tells partner you have exactly three spades, which will help his later competitive decisions.

Bidding is usually better than passing when you have something to say. On this hand West didn't really have anything to say even though he had a good hand, so passing was fine.

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