Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bridge is Easy

Sometimes bridge is an easy game. I could do no wrong last night. No matter how much my partner and I played less than optimally, we came out smelling like a rose. Sometimes that happens.  After the first round in which we missed 2 cold games, due partly to mis-sorting and partly due to unclear bidding understandings and partly due to conservative judgment. The third board was what seemed to be a relatively flat 3NT.  Anyway, we wound up with 12 out of 15 matchpoints that round, and a few rounds later, I did something I’m not sure I’ve ever done – pulled the wrong card from my hand. It was the ace of diamonds instead of the deuce of hearts. I was declarer and on lead and I had all but one of the tricks regardless of what I led, so it wasn’t a big deal.


But the hand I want to share today took place last weekend. LHO dealt and the auction went 1C-1NT and you hold:






You lead a small spade and here’s the dummy:






Dummy plays the J, partner wins the K, continues the T and then the 9, declarer taking the ace on the third round. Declarer then leads a low heart toward dummy. Suppose you win the J and cash the queen of spades, seeing dummy discard a heart, declarer a club and partner the deuce of clubs. Playing upside-down count and attitude (no special first discard like odd/even or lavinthal), What is the deuce of clubs trying to indicate to you? What do you lead next? Is declarer actually trying to set up hearts or is he throwing you in with hearts in hopes that you’ll help him out with the diamond suit, holding something like Qxx of diamonds? If he’s trying to get help in the diamond suit, why didn’t he cash some clubs first, to take out some of your safe exit cards? Would you ever play low on the heart lead?


Regardless of what carding system you use, I think a club discard when dummy holds AKQx should probably be suit preference for which red suit he prefers. At least that’s what helps here, and I can’t imagine a time when count or attitude in clubs would be important.

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