Right on at Brighton

by Chris Jagger

After ten days of playing, talking, eating and sleeping bridge, you should be ready for the following hands. Please excuse the fact that in some cases we've got you into a mess - it's your job to get out of them!

Love All
S J9
H 7543
D QJ10
C AK62
Dealer South
S AK74
H J10
D 9632
C 1094
W        E
S 10862
H Q62
D K84
C Q87
S Q53
H AK98
D A75
C J53
South        West        North        East       
1NT P 2c P
2h P 4h P

We start with a straightforward elimination. For no apparent reason your partner has catapulted you into game, but fortunately you would have accepted his invitation anyway, so rather than wondering how long this partnership is likely to last, you concentrate on the play. The defence start with three rounds of spades, and presumably you throw a club. Stop to plan the play. Cash two rounds of hearts, cross to the clubs, finesse the diamond, and eventually you exit in the third trump. East either has to give you a ruff and discard, or lead away from his queen.

Love All
S KQ93
H A43
D J53
C Q85
Dealer West
S 754
H 76
D AQ9742
C 42
W        E
S 86
H KQ852
D 106
C J1097
S AJ102
H J109
D K8
C AK63
West        North        East        South       
2d P P 2NT
P 3c P 3s
P 4s P P

Not long afterwards, you reach a more respectable game and West leads the c4. This is a classic situation, often overlooked. It seems as if perhaps the contract will depend on a heart honour being onside. In fact, with the diamond ace marked as being wrong, you should lead a low diamond to the jack early on, and build up a discard for a heart. If you finesse the heart early on, a diamond will come back to the queen, then another heart through and ...

Well, you can still make it by going up with the ace and continuing diamonds. Perhaps you can count West's hand, but except on a heart lead, there's no need to set yourself this problem. Incidentally, even had East held dQ, you could still squeeze him eventually in h/c, after ruffing the third diamond.

Game All
H 543
D 1072
Dealer South
S 4
D AJ84
C 108632
W        E
S 9762
H 9872
D Q96
C 95
S AK1085
H A106
D K53
C 74
South        West        North        East       
1s P 2c P
2s P 4s P

The hK is lead against your cold game. This hand is all about pairs play, and is a good illustration of the opportunities to be grasped if you are on the ball. You draw four rounds of trumps, then four rounds of clubs, throwing two hearts away. West departs with his clubs, before throwing a diamond and the hJ, whilst East throws a couple of hearts. Now rather than leading to the dK, you play a heart from dummy, throwing a diamond from hand endplaying West. Not so easy to do, but if you believe a likely count signal from East, the whole hand becomes transparent - if only you are awake to what is happening! (If you are now complaining that the defence was poor, and that West should have kept another heart you are missing the point - this is about real life!)

Game All
S KQ107
D Q2
C AJ10843
Dealer South
H 1054
D A10654
W        E
S 6432
H A63
D 93
C 9762
S 95
H QJ9872
D KJ87
C 5
South        West        North        East       
2h P P P

You're a tired defender this time. The cK was taken with the ace, and the dQ run to your ace ("Perhaps I should have ducked?!" you muse sleepily.) You switch to a heart to the king and ace, and another diamond comes back. Declarer wins and draws trumps. Next he plays a spade up. Are you on the ball? Yes you say - you must duck it, otherwise a diamond will go away on the spade. Exactly right - declarer is marked with a 2641 shape. Sorry, but you've missed the point. If you duck then declarer will ruff a club back to hand, dropping your queen, and then lead another spade up, hoping to sneak it past you. In fact he unwittingly endplays you. You should instead insert the sJ on the first round of spades. Declarer then seizes the chance to go wrong, playing a spade to his nine and your ace, and you can exit with cQ and are now due for a diamond at the end.

Game All
S 109
H AQ43
D Q7
C AJ765
Dealer South
H 1052
D AK10953
C 943
W        E
S Q32
H K9876
D J8
C K108
S AJ87654
D 642
C Q2
South        West        North        East       
3s P P P

West leads a top diamond and switches to a heart. You win and exit in a diamond. Another heart comes through, which you ruff. A diamond is ruffed and overruffed, a spade being returned. Why should you rise with the ace? You might be thinking that the reason West hasn't played three rounds of diamonds himself is because he doesn't want to reveal that his partner cannot overruff dummy. Hence play him for a singleton king. In fact, there is a better reason - if East has sKQx then you endplay him with another spade - he cannot afford to lead away from hearts or clubs. (Maybe you should have cashed the ace of spades first?)

Love All
S A4
D AQ104
C AKQ103
Dealer West
S K9
H A8432
D KJ92
C J9
W        E
S J32
H K976
D 8765
C 86
S Q108765
H 105
D 3
C 7542
West        North        East        South       
2h 3h P 3NT

This is an appeals room problem. Before East's final pass, he hesitated some time, and the director has ruled that the lead found at the table - a heart - was possibly influenced by the hesitation, so you're now playing on a diamond lead. Insert the ten, and run the clubs. West is caught - he can throw a diamond, but then has to release two hearts. You exit in hearts and the defence can never play spades or diamonds without giving you your ninth trick. In fact, eventually (on the fourth heart) West is squeezed before dummy - he either releases a spade or a second diamond, and either way there are nine tricks.