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Remember what they didn't do

Sandra Landy ( England )

 

When playing a hand as declarer it is always wise to stop and look when dummy goes down after all, you haven't played a wrong card yet ! Gather all the evidence from the bidding and the card led. Analyse all the clues before deciding on your line. And remember there are just as many clues to be gained from what hasn't happened as from what has:

         an opponent who has not opened the bidding has fewer than 13 points

         opponents who have not overcalled don't have values and a long suit

         the lead of the chosen suit often tells you something about holdings in other suits

CONSIDER the problem facing Graham Kirby on this hand from a European Championship:

 

  North Dealer A K 10 6    

 

Game All

 10 8 3

 

 

 

 

 J 9 7

 

 

 

 

 A Q J

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

       

 

 

W                          E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 Q 8 4 2

 

 

 

 

 A Q 9 7 4

 

 

 

 

 Q 2

 

 

 

 

 10 3

 

 

                            

W

N

E

S

 

1 NT'

 

22

 

2

 

2♠3

 

2NT

 

3♠5

 

4♠

 

 

 ' 14-16   2 transfer     3 relay ' not maximum

 5 4 spades

Against Four Spades West led the four of diamonds. East won the ace and returned the three to West's king. West played a club. How would you play on?

Well, you wouldn't play on straight away, you would stop and gather the evidence:

(1)      West led a diamond from Kxxx. This cannot be an attractive lead as it could easily give a trick. So why didn't West lead a club?

(2)      East returned a diamond, setting up a discard. If East had the king of clubs he might try a heart to get partner in; either he has an attractive heart holding or he doesn't have the king of clubs. The diamonds seem to be 4-4.

(3)      West has switched to a club rather than play the third diamond but he would probably do that wherever the other cards were.

(4)      There has been no bidding, but vulnerable opponents have few values to justify bidding so this is not very helpful.

 

Anyway, Graham thought long and hard about West's lead and East's failure to switch. He decided all the clues pointed to West having both minor-suit kings. Imagine West holding:

X X

 K J x

 K x x x

 X x x x

Surely he would lead a club through the no-trump bidder rather than a diamond.

Backing his judgement Graham finessed the club, which held. He played the ace of spades and a spade to the queen, the trumps breaking 3-2, and finessed the club again. He cashed his king of spades, diamond and club winners, throwing hearts to reach this position:

 

  North Dealer 10    

 

Game All

 10 8 3

 

 

 

 

 ---

 

 

 

 

 ---

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

       

 

 

W                          E

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 2

 

 

 

 

 A Q 9

 

 

 

 

 ---

 

 

 

 

 ---

 

 

                           

Now a heart to the nine endplayed West wherever the heart honours were. The play was necessary as the full deal was :

  North Dealer A K 10 5    

 

Game All

 10 8 3

 

 

 

 

 J 9 7

 

 

 

 

 A Q J

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

J 6     9 7 3

 K J 5

 

W                          E

 6 2

 K 8 5 4

 

 

 A 10 6 3

 K 8 2

 

 

 9 7 5 4

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

Q 8 4 2

 

 

 

 

 A Q 9 7 4

 

 

 

 

 Q 2

 

 

 

 

 10 3

 

W

N

E

S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My BOLS bridge tip is:

When deciding on your line of play, remember what the opponents didn't do.
It may give you the clue to playing hands more successfully.

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