It has been a month

I just realized that it has been more than a month since I last posted something here. Life has been busy, with lots of bridge but little time to write something about it. Directing, running 4 classes and playing all take time. But, whatever I do, my desk always seems to fill up with interesting hands. Here are 2 of them, from the last month,

On the first hand, you are in 4, after partner opened a 15-17 1NT and east overcalled 3. On the previous board, you and your partner overbid to a hopeless, though logical, 4, down a few, and as partner puts down dummy, he comments that this must be a better contract. It doesn’t look that way after 3 tricks though:8 led to the J, A and 7.2 back, ruffed with the4 and the2 (attitiude) to theK andA. East returns theJ in trick 4. Over to you, if you draw trumps, you will find west discarding spades and east holding the _103.

Then this one. Butler at the local club. West leads the6, for the10, J, and 4. You cash theA, 8, 7, 10. Now what?

On the first board, you still have to get rid of a club loser. At this point, a finesse is the only option. Can we improve on that?

Yes, let’s first try if we can get some information about the hand. West started with a singletonand, thus 11 black cards. East started with theJ,103, 7 diamonds, theA and thus 2 more black cards, making his distribution either 1-2-7-3 or 2-2-7-2. West meanwhile started with 8-1-1-3 or 7-1-1-4. In the former case, it is impossible that east has theK, in the latter case, it is highly unlikely that he’d return theJ. So, place theK with west.

At this point, the hand is cold! Simply draw trumps, cash theK and all remaining hearts. With 1 heart to go, west will be down to the _K and 2 black cards. On the last heart, he must keep theK, if his clubs wereJxx(x), theJ will now be singleton. If east started withJxx of clubs, you will go down, but then again, you would have gone down regardless.

The full hand is here. This was missed at all 3 tables in a practice match. There is, of course, an easier way to make the hand.

I always have to smile when players blame their partners for not defeating a contract, when they could have done this themselves. The next hand adds to the list. After 2 rounds of clubs, it seems obvious to play a third round but is it really.

Partner must have theK but declarer appears to have more than enough trumps. In fact, if he started withAKxxx of hearts, you can count 10 tricks: 5 hearts,A and at least 4 diamonds. So, assume that his hearts are worse thanAK. Partner will then gain the lead at some point and it would nice if you have set up the 4th defensive trick by then.

Where is this one coming from? The best shot here is to play partner for theQ and return a spade.

About half the tables missed this one, and could write -10 imp’s or so when declarer ruffed the third round of clubs and the full hand was this.

5 to theA,Q to south. West now tried the effect of a diamond, declarer drew trumps and ruffed a diamond to set up his 10th trick.

Mrs. east is still complaining that her partner should have returned a spade when in with theK and then declarer would have gone down. That is not true, it just changes the order of the tricks a bit. If there is anything to complain about, it should be why she didn’t return a spade in trick 4 herself.

Henk Uijterwaal 2019