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8s and 10s DO Count

Posted on April 14, 2016 at 9:59 AM
I played at the Fort Lauderdale Bridge Club yesterday, just as I do every Tuesday when I am in town.  My Tuesday partner is Missy. I call her Missy because even though she is my age, she is so tiny (size 0) that she looks like a 12-year-old.  
 
We were having a pretty good game, judging by the early results on our Bridgemate device, when Ideal and Lovely came to the table.  I picked up my cards - they were awful:
 
♠98543     ♥T82     ♦J86     ♣65

If Missy opened 1NT I would transfer to spades and then pass.  Otherwise I’m bidding green cards all the way.  Missy was dealer and opened 1♦. My RHO overcalled 1NT.  Boy, was I glad.  I just hoped Missy wouldn’t make a re-opening double. LHO bid 2♣ (Stayman) and the opponents quickly reached 3NT so I was on lead.

As a rule, when Opponent is prepared to handle my partner’s suit I don’t always lead it.  This is especially true if I have a better lead, one which will get tricks for our side.  On this deal, I have nothing.  I don’t expect to win a trick.  Even though I have 5 spades, I don’t have entries and the ♠9 is a very long-shot winner.  I decided to lead my partner’s suit (the suit Declarer is known to have) and not finesse her out of an important card in a different suit.

Having decided to lead a diamond, which one should I choose?  I never lead a singleton against notrump, not even in my partner’s suit, so the lead of the Jack will tell her that I have at least two.  Declarer will also assume that I have two diamonds so a little sneakiness is always a good thing.
Here was the whole hand (rotated for convenience):
 
                       
                                    Ideal
                                    QJ76
                                    ♥K43
                                    ♦A9
                                    ♣J743
 
               Me                                           Missy                                                                          ♠98543            3NT by S           ♠KT2                                                                            ♥T82                                        ♥AJ6
               ♦J86                Lead = ♦J          ♦T532                                                                          ♣65                                         ♣AT9                                                             
                                     Lovely
                                     ♠A
                                     ♥Q975
                                     ♦KQ74
                                     ♣KQ92
 
Here’s the auction:
 
            Missy               Lovely             Me                   Ideal
            1♦                   1NT                 P                      2♣
            P                      2♦                   P                    3NT
 
Declarer won ♦A in dummy and continued to play diamonds.  She led the ♦9 from dummy, covered by my partner’s 10 and won in her hand with the Queen. She now cashed ♠A and tried to reach dummy with a heart.  Missy won the ♥A and continued diamonds.  Lovely “knew” I had only two diamonds as I started with the Jack, so she played the ♦7, beaten by my little 8.  Wow!  Whoever would have thought my hand would win a trick?  But we weren’t done yet. I had to find another card to lead.  I chose the ♠9, top of nothing as I did not want to encourage my partner.  Lovely called for dummy’s Queen which was taken by Missy’s King.  She returned a spade which Lovely won in hand, but she still has to lose to the ♣Ace and she still hasn’t set up a heart trick.  In fact, she led towards her hand and put in the ♥9 losing to my 10.  Two tricks won by my almost yarborough!
 
Poor Lovely!  But what went wrong?  Let’s count her tricks.  On the diamond lead, she has 1♠ + 3♦. These are sure tricks. She needs to establish 5 more.  Where can she get them?  If she knocks out ♣A then she has 2 more tricks, maybe 3 if the suit splits 3-2 (it does).  She can also set up a second spade trick and a heart trick.  After winning the first trick in dummy I would play a spade to the Ace and then play K♣, Q♣ and, if Missy holds up till the third round (you’ll see her 10 drop) you will have established an entry to dummy via the ♣Jack. Once in dummy, you can set up a spade trick. They can continue diamonds when they win a trick but you still have time to establish your heart trick.
 
It’s certainly a tricky hand.  Missy and I took 5 tricks.  She won ♠K, ♥A and ♣A.  I won ♦8 and ♥T.  Deep Finesse says that Declarer can take 10 tricks in Notrump, hearts or diamonds. They can even make 5♣. 
 

I’m just glad I didn’t have to play it.

Categories: Bridge

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