home

Play your honour early if it is of no use

Qi Zhou ( China )

THIS is a hand I played years ago in a Pairs game:

  South Dealer 10 9 8 4    

 

Game All

 8 4 2

 

 

 

 

 A Q

 

 

 

 

 A Q J 7

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

7 3     5

 K 10 5

 

W                  E

 J 9 6 3

 J 10 9 8 6 2

 

 

 K 7 5 4

 K 6

 

 

 10 9 8 2

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

A K Q J 6 2

 

 

 

 

 A K Q

 

 

 

 

 3

 

 

 

 

 5 4 3

 

 

Against Six Spades I led the jack of diamonds. After quite a while declarer played the ace and queen of diamonds and ruffed in hand. I couldn't figure out what took him so long to make the decision. With a doubleton I'd finesse; with a singleton I'd play the ace. It was simple enough. I was new to the area but my partner Dick seemed to know everyone. He told me that both North and South were grandmasters so declarer must have had some reason for his thought. Then came two rounds of trumps and a club from hand.

While I was following, whether I was a little bit too excited because I had had a few good scores or whether I was a bit nervous facing two grandmasters, a few cards dropped on to the table. Quickly I covered them with my hand and said to myself: 'Calm down' and put them back into my hand. The king of clubs was right side up on top of the fallen cards. If it had been seen by anyone it would have to be played. I was not sure, so I played it as if it was an exposed card. I didn't want complications later. Declarer seemed somewhat astonished. Reluctantly he covered with the ace.

After the queen and jack of clubs came a heart from dummy. My partner followed with the nine of hearts. Declarer didn't finesse. He put on the ace. Then came a small trump to dummy and another heart. This time he put on the queen. I made two heart tricks. Declarer said, 'One down, good defence.' I thought my partner's nine of hearts was good but it was not a difficult book play.

Later, while I was waiting at my table, Dick told me we were first in our section and that that hand had been nominated for a Best Defence prize. Some players came over to congratulate me. I thought they were mistaking me for East.

 

It was only on our way home that I found that some Souths had made Six Spades on that hand. The first four tricks were the same. Then a club from hand: West small, dummy the jack. Now a trump to hand and another club. West played the king and dummy ducked. West was endplayed. Declarer made his contract and his play was nominated for a Best Play prize. At my table, South was planning to play like that but my early king of clubs sabotaged him. So he recommended my king of clubs as Best Defence. Of course I didn't deserve the honour. But from then on I noticed that playing an otherwise useless honour earlier than necessary can often get some unexpected results. It seemed that all experts know this but occasionally forget.  

 

The following was from a Pairs tournament in Naples :

  East Dealer 2    

 

Love All

 A 10

 

 

 

 

 K Q J 7 6 5 4

 

 

 

 

 J 9 3

 

 

A 10 9 8 7 6     K Q J 5 4 3

 Q 8

 

W                          E

 5 3

 3 2

 

 

 A 8

 8 5 4

 

 

 A Q 10

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

---

 

 

 

 

 K J 9 7 6 4 2

 

 

 

 

 10 9

 

 

 

 

 K 7 6 2

 

 

 

W

N

E

S

 

 

1♠

4

4♠

5

Dbl

Pass

Pass

Pass

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West was the famous Pietro Forquet of the Blue Team. If a club is led then East's ten would force out declarer's king. Later East can take the ace of diamonds and two club tricks to defeat the contract. Unfortunately, Forquet led the three of diamonds. East, Benito Garozzo, took the trick  with the ace and played the ace of clubs. Seeing  West's discouraging four, he switched back to diamonds and South won with the ten  Declarer played the king of hearts.

 

The defence seemed hopeless but Forquet quietly followed with the queen of hearts. Declarer assumed East had the two remaining trumps so overtook the king with dummy's ace and played a diamond. He thought that East would ruff and he would overruff and still have the ten of hearts as an entry to dummy. East discarded a spade, declarer a club and Forquet made his eight of hearts

My last example  is taken from the 1994 Far East Championship:  

  Love All A Q 10 3    

 

Neither Vulnerable

 Q 8 5

 

 

 

 

 Q J 9

 

 

 

 

 A 9 2

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

8 6 5     J 8 4

K 10 7 2

 

W                          E

 A 9 4 3

K 8 5

 

 

 7 6 3

K 7 5

 

 

 Q 10 8

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 K 7 2

 

 

 

 

  J 6

 

 

 

 

 A 10 4 2

 

 

 

 

 J  6  4  3

 

 

  At one table South played in 3NT. West, Ruey-Lun Ling, led the two of hearts to declarer's jack. Then came a spade to the queen and the queen of diamonds to West's king. The defence took three heart tricks and exited with a diamond. After two more diamonds, the position was:  

  South Dealer A 10 4    

 

Love All

 ---

 

 

 

 

 ---

 

 

 

 

 A

 

 

 

 

 

N

 

 

8 6     J 9

 ---

 

W                          E

 ---

 ---

 

 

 ---

 K 7

 

 

 Q 10

 

 

 

S

 

 

 

 

 K 7

 

 

 

 

 ---

 

 

 

 

 ---

 

 

 

 

 J 6

 

 

Declarer played the six of clubs and Ling smoothly played the king. If this was a singleton then West must have three spades. Declarer came back to the king of spades and finessed the ten. The contract was defeated  

 

So, my BOLS bridge tip is:  Play your honour early if is  of  no use

home