Monday, December 6, 2010

Thoughtful Discarding

One of the annoying things about playing bridge at an out of town club is that people always ask why you are there. The people are always super nice and accommodating, but explaining to the people at each table where you are from and what you are doing at a bridge club 200 miles from home gets old. Anyway, Sean and I found ourselves at the 22 table Charlotte club game Saturday, before going to the VT-FSU game that night.

We found ourselves defending after north had opened 2C, showed, hearts, blackwooded, and landed in 6NT. Declarer was visibly disappointed with dummy, Sean led a passive heart, and I didn't give my sequence of discards enough thought.

Dealer: N
Vul: EW

Declarer has 10 top tricks and chances for an extra trick or two in spades and clubs. I had it in my mind that I might want to duck a club finesse at some point - might be right if declarer had Jx but if that's declarer's club holding, he has already misplayed the hand by squandering dummy's heart entry. My next thought was that I have lots of diamonds so I'll pitch a nebulous diamond, so I played the 4th highest, which I think was the 4. Sean is in a bit of a dilemma about what to pitch on the 4th heart. Keeping length with dummy's clubs is important if declarer has anything but 2 small clubs. After my nebulous diamond discard, Sean pitched a diamond as well. Even if I wanted to encourage in a black suit, I may well not have enough length to do so safely. My second discard was probably the worst one, the 2 of diamonds, confirming that I dislike diamonds but still doing nothing to suggest what black-suit valules I have. However, once letting go of one diamonds, Sean probably should continue pitching diamonds to avoid unguarding his spade Q or club J. If the diamond discard was wrong, then it's too late to fix it.

I don't think there is a layout of the cards that would make it important for me to hold Txx of spades so I kind of think the spade 10 should be my first discard (playing upside down) followed by a low spade and a low diamond. That makes it clear that Sean must protect his spade honors while not suggesting that I have clubs under control, and therefore he would pitch 2 diamonds on the last hearts. Any encouraging club discard may convince Sean to discard a club as well. And Sean also must hold all 4 clubs or else declarer could come home with 3 club tricks via a double finesse and then the low one would be good, too.

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