Join Bridge Winners
Rising Stars - Part I
(Page of 6)

For quite some time now, I have been working with Junior players, going over hands from on-line sessions, and focusing on questions of card play and defense. Sometimes, naturally, the level is a bit spotty, giving me lots to discuss. But, on quite a few occasions, our rising stars find a line that I would be quite proud of, were I to find it at the table.

In this series, I'd like to pull some of these gems from my archives, and let you see our amazing rising stars ("R.S.") at their best - let you marvel at the wonderful future in store for our game.

My first offering came up a month or so ago, and features an innocuous part-score:

West
72
AQ5
Q7652
Q74
North
AK8
J976
J10
8653
East
South
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
P
P
D
2NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
10
K
A
3
1
0
A
7
3
9
3
2
0
10
2
A
6
1
3
0
5
4
J
Q
0
3
1
4

Our star, Julie Arbit, started with the 5 (fourth best leads, upside down count and attitude), to partner's Kand South's A. Declarer tried a high club, crossed in spades, and lost a club to you, as partner discarded a low spade, completing an echo. So South will win four clubs, two spades, and the diamond ace. If our diamonds are ready to run, we have the hand set. However, if South has a second diamond stopper, that is eight tricks, and we need to set up winners pretty quickly. How would you defend?

Partner showed an odd number of spades - presumably five, so South was 3-5 in the black suits. If South were 3-3-2-5, diamonds are ready to run, and there won't be any problems. If South is 3-2-3-5, then we need partner to hold the 9, or K10xx. Diamonds looks like the better bet, in a vacuum, but, perhaps, we can combine chances. Of course, partner could help us out, throwing a discouraging heart without the heart king, or a discouraging spade with strong hearts. Unfortunately, partner's spade discard isn't really clear, and we are going solo a bit.

Suppose we lay down the A, to get a signal from partner. Any problems with that?

Yes, if partner started with K9x in diamonds, and no heart king, we need the heart ace as an entry to our diamonds. Should the full hand look like this:

West
72
AQ5
Q7652
Q74
North
AK8
J976
J10
8653
East
QJ654
8432
K94
9
South
1093
K10
A83
AKJ102
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
P
P
D
2NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
10
K
A
3
1
0
A
7
3
9
3
2
0
10
2
A
6
1
3
0
5
4
J
Q
0
3
1
A
6
8
10
0
3
2
5
Once we try the heart ace, the hand can no longer be set.

Okay, suppose we try diamonds first. If it appears that South holds a second diamond stopper, than we can revert to hearts. Let's say we lay down the diamond queen next. What diamond spots from partner would clarify the position?

The 8 or the 3. If partner plays the three, then either partner started with four diamonds, or the K93, and the suit will run. Likewise, partner would play the eight from K84 or K83. The eight denies the nine, and we will try hearts next.

Suppose partner plays the four and South the eight. What will that tell us?

That is consistent with K43 in partner's hand, A98 with South, calling for a heart shift. But, partner must also play the diamond four from K94. Would South find the falsecard of the eight holding A83? I kind of doubt it - these are stars in the making, but they haven't arrived yet. That would be a pretty subtle falsecard. Still, ...

At the table, our young R.S. tried the diamond queen, and caught the three from partner, eight from South. Good! Now what?

The diamonds will run, and we have the hand set. You or I would lead the diamond deuce to partner, both to clarify the position, and to tell partner (who might have started with the K93 alone) that our entry is in hearts. But Julie led the diamond six next. Do you see why?

Here was the full hand:

West
72
AQ5
Q7652
Q74
North
AK8
J976
J10
8653
East
QJ654
842
K943
9
South
1093
K103
A8
AKJ102
W
N
E
S
P
P
1NT
P
2
P
2
P
2NT
P
P
P
D
2NT South
NS: 0 EW: 0
5
10
K
A
3
1
0
A
7
3
9
3
2
0
10
2
A
6
1
3
0
5
4
J
Q
0
3
1
Q
J
3
8
0
3
2
6
6
9
3
2
3
3
4
3
2
6
2
3
4
7

Partner overtook the 6 with the 9, and returned the suit, but the 4 won the trick - our R.S. underplayed that with the 2, to force a heart return, and set the contract two tricks, not one. Isn't that lovely?

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