Join Bridge Winners
A Point of Technique
(Page of 8)

Marchpoints, neither vul.

South
AK9832
1073
A
AQ10
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
?

Your call?

South
AK9832
1073
A
AQ10
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
?

Partner passed originally. He also did not employ the Drury convention (check it out if you do not know it, it is a useful tool to keep from getting too high when you open light in third or fourth seat). Therefore you probably do not have a slam.

Your hand has 17 HCP. If partner has only 6 HCP, you only have 23. Nevertheless you should always bid game with this hand. Aces are underrated in the 4321 point count and you also have a nine-card spade fit. 

You bid 4, all pass. The lead is the J and dummy hits....

West
North
J74
A542
K1097
J6
East
South
AK9832
1073
A
AQ10
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
1
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
1

You want to discard a heart loser on the K, but they have knocked out your entry to the K, you can't unblock the A now and get back for a discard. 

What can you do to compensate?

 

West
North
J74
A542
K1097
J6
East
South
AK9832
1073
A
AQ10
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
1
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
1

If you draw trumps right away you will be stuck in your hand if trumps don't split. 

If you take a club finesse, you can then ruff a club back to dummy. Therefore you win the A and run the J.....

 

Disaster! West wins the K. and plays a heart to East's KQ. Then they lead a fourth heart and they get a trump trick. 

You lose the K, KQ, and a spade trick for down 1.

West
Q105
J8
QJ86
K984
North
J74
A542
K1097
J6
East
6
KQ96
5432
7532
South
AK9832
1073
A
AQ10
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
1
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
A
9
3
1
1
0
J
7
10
K
0
1
1
8
2
Q
7
2
1
2
K
10
4
4
2
1
3
6
9
10
5
0
1
4
Q
7
2
A
3
2
4
A
5
4
6
3
3
4
K
Q
7
2
3
4
4
8

Can you do better?

 

One of the essential elements of declarer play is the holdup play. A holdup play is designed to exhaust a defender of cards in a suit, so that if he gets in, they can't lead that suit to their partner's winners. 

Holdup plays are more common in notrump contracts, but this hand illustrates the holdup play in a suit contract.

So, instead of winning trick 1 with the A, you duck! Now they continue the suit and you win the A. Now you take the club finesse as before, and lo and behold West has no more hearts to lead!

Here's how the play might go:

West
Q105
J8
QJ86
K984
North
J74
A542
K1097
J6
East
6
KQ96
5432
7532
South
AK9832
1073
A
AQ10
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
1
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
2
9
3
0
0
1
8
A
6
7
1
1
1
J
5
10
K
0
1
2
9
6
2
Q
3
2
2
A
6
7
2
3
3
2
A
5
4
6
3
4
2
K
10
7
3
3
5
2
A
4
J
7
1
6
2
K
3
10
8
1
7
2
9
4
2
J
3
8
2
9
Q
4
5
0
8
3
Q
10
Q
3
3
9
3
8
8
5
K
3
10
3
N/S +420
13

Trumping your ace is a nice touch, too.

When I showed this hand to my student, she took the A at trick one and went down. She said she considered a holdup but she was afraid of them ruffing the heart. 

Okay, let's go there.....

Suppose the J is a singleton. If you play low, East has to be aware enough to overtake the J with an honor. Then, if he gives West a ruff, he ruffs your other heart loser with a natural spade trick!

The play would go:

West
Q105
J
QJ862
K984
North
J74
A542
K1097
J6
East
6
KQ986
543
7532
South
AK9832
1073
A
AQ10
W
N
E
S
P
P
1
P
2
P
4
P
P
P
D
1
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
J
2
Q
3
2
0
1
8
10
5
4
0
0
2
Q
7
3
A
3
1
2
A
10
4
6
3
2
2
K
Q
7
2
3
3
2
7
4
A
6
1
4
2
J
3
10
K
0
4
3
9
6
5
Q
3
5
3
A
8
J
7
1
6
3
K
4
2
2
3
7
3
9
6
5
9
3
8
3
8
8
9
5
3
9
3
3
J
10
K
3
10
3
N/S +420
13

 

When you are short of entries, look for a way to create more. On this hand, taking the club finesse followed by ruffing a good club is a way to get back to dummy. 

A holdup play is a useful way to cut communications between the defenders' hands.

 

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