Join Bridge Winners
Induce a Blockage
(Page of 8)

In a Round of 16 match in the Open Trials, you have to decide whether or not to push to a marginal game.

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

South
KQ7
AKJ943
J107
2
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
?

2: Michaels, spades and a minor

3: Non-invitational. 2 would be a limit raise or better.

Your call?

South
KQ7
AKJ943
J107
2
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
?

Your hand improved with the heart support, but you have several losers which would need to be taken care of to make 10 tricks. Partner has something of value, but not enough for a limit raise. If partner has three small spades, the ace of spaces is almost certainly offside.

On the other hand, you don't know where partner's values are. A doubleton in spades or diamonds may be what you need. A diamond honor may be what you need. Partner may have wasted stuff in clubs, but he might hold the ace.

You are vulnerable. You can't afford to miss a vulnerable game which might be laydown or very good if partner has the right cards. Even if partner has the wrong cards, things might lie favorably. You probably aren't going to be off the first four tricks. It has to be right to shoot it out.

You bid 4, ending the auction.

W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P

West leads the ace of clubs. Ace from AK. UDCA.

North
A95
10876
864
Q53
South
KQ7
AKJ943
J107
2
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P

East plays the jack of clubs. At trick 2, West shifts to the jack of spades. How do you win this trick?

North
A95
10876
864
Q5
South
KQ7
AKJ943
J107
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P

You are short on entries to dummy. If East has 3 hearts, which is poissible, you will need a spade entry to dummy to take the marked finesse.

It probably won't matter here, but the best technique is to win with the king. That will leave West in some doubt as to who has the queen.

You win the king of spades, and cash the ace of hearts. Both opponents follow small. What next?

North
A9
1087
864
Q5
South
Q7
KJ943
J107
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P

It is necessary to draw the last trump. You will need to cash the good spades without letting one of them getting ruffed.

You cash the king of hearts. West discards the 4. And now?

North
A9
108
864
Q5
South
Q7
J943
J107
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P

The plan is to strip the spades and exit with a diamond. Hopefully the diamonds will be blocked, and West will be forced to lead a black suit which will give you your tenth trick. If West started with a stiff diamond honor or a doubleton with two honors, you are home. However, if West started with honor-doubleton, you need to do what you can to induce a blockage.

If dummy had small clubs, it would be necessary ruff out the clubs. You have two entries to do this. However, dummy has the queen of clubs, so if West is forced to lead a club that will be your tenth trick. The carding at trick 1 and West's shift make it clear that West has the king of clubs. Therefore, there is no need to ruff out the clubs. Doing so would make it obvious what you are trying to do.

What is the best way to induce the blockage? Leading a diamond off dummy won't be effective. East isn't going to play an honor, since the position will be obvious to him. If you then play the jack or the 10, West will be forced to win the trick with his honor, which is what you don't want him to do. Your best bet would be to play the 7, hoping West has honor-9 doubleton and wins the 9. However, K9 doubleton or Q9 doubleton won't help, since East can overtake the second round of diamonds. This will work only if West started with A9 doubleton. Furthermore, it will now be obvious to West to win with the ace of diamonds, as he can see what will happen if he wins the 9.

You have a better chance by leading the first round of diamonds from your hand. West may reflexively play small so his partner can win the trick cheaply and play a club.

You cash two rounds of spades ending in your hand. East discards the 2 on the third round of spades. What next?

North
108
864
Q5
South
J943
J107
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P

You could lead the 10, but that would look strange. If you had something like KJ10, you would be leading diamonds from the dummy. You have a better chance by leading a small diamond.

Will this be sufficient if West blocks the suit? East can return a club. You will ruff, cross to dummy with a trump, ruff dummy's last club, and exit with a diamond. If West belatedly discards his ace of diamonds on the third round of trumps, you have a diamond trick.

You lead the 7. West wins the king, and leads the king of clubs. You ruff, and the queen of clubs is your tenth trick. The full hand is:

West
J10632
5
K
AK10974
North
A95
10876
864
Q53
East
84
Q2
AQ9532
J86
South
KQ7
AKJ943
J107
2
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
3
J
2
0
0
1
J
5
8
K
3
1
1
A
5
6
2
3
2
1
K
4
7
Q
3
3
1
7
3
A
4
1
4
1
9
2
Q
2
3
5
1
7
K
4
3
0
5
2
K
5
6
3
3
6
2
8

Should the defense have done better?

West
J10632
5
K
AK10974
North
A95
10876
864
Q53
East
84
Q2
AQ9532
J86
South
KQ7
AKJ943
J107
2
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
3
J
2
0
0
1
J
5
8
K
3
1
1
A
5
6
2
3
2
1
K
4
7
Q
3
3
1
7
3
A
4
1
4
1
9
2
Q
2
3
5
1
7
K
4
3
0
5
2
K
5
6
3
3
6
2
8

If West shifts to the king of diamonds, East can overtake, cash his queen, and give West a ruff to defeat the contract. It is worth noting that East does need to overtake. If East carelessly ducks, declarer can still make. Declarer will win the spade shift, draw trumps, and arrange to ruff one club, cash the spades, and lead the queen of clubs discarding a diamond for a loser-on-loser endplay.

Should West find the shift? Probably he should. West doesn't know the whole hand, but he can see that eventually he is likely to be endplayed with the king of diamonds if he hangs onto it. It figures to be better to get it out of his hand immediately.

Do you like North's 3 call?

West
J10632
5
K
AK10974
North
A95
10876
864
Q53
East
84
Q2
AQ9532
J86
South
KQ7
AKJ943
J107
2
W
N
E
S
1
2
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
3
J
2
0
0
1
J
5
8
K
3
1
1
A
5
6
2
3
2
1
K
4
7
Q
3
3
1
7
3
A
4
1
4
1
9
2
Q
2
3
5
1
7
K
4
3
0
5
2
K
5
6
3
3
6
2
8

North's hand is flat, but he does have 4-card heart support. The opponents definitely have at least an 8-card minor-suit fit, and may have an 8-card spade fit or a 9-card minor-suit fit. The Law of Total tricks indicates that it will be right to compete to 3 over whatever the opponents bid, so it is best for North to go there immediately before the opponents can complete their exchange of information.

At the other table, North didn't follow the Law. He passed over 2, and allowed the opponents to buy the hand for 3. This made, for a big swing.

Stopping on a dime is fine for balanced hands where your losers will all be lost if you don't have sufficient high card strength. When you have some distribution and a good trump fit, it is generally better to just bid the game if it is close.

18 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top