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November 24, 2001
Never Give Up and The Five Level
Never Give Up
Playing with friends I recently picked up this hand and realized that it illustrated an excellent point.
As dealer I opened 1 and the auction proceeded:
No I did not have a great hand, but it did add to 13 points by the length
method and I had plenty of suit texture.
West led the 6.
I played low from dummy and won the
Q when East
contributed the 8.
The opening lead appeared to be from either AKx6 or AKx65, but in either case it looked as though the best line would be one that found nine tricks pretty quickly --- hopefully before letting the defenders back on lead.
With one spade already in hand and three top clubs available, diamonds was the suit. If I could take five diamond tricks the game would be mine. If not, then down one is good bridge right?
To preserve entries to the South hand and to avoid blocking the suit, I played a diamond to the A and lead the 10 from dummy covering with the J when East played low.
To my disappointment, West won the Q and began cashing spades.
All things pointed to at least down one. Even if the spades were 4-3, the defenders were in a position to cash five tricks (3 spades, 1 diamond, and the A).
If spades started 5-2 then I was going down two.
In this situation I seen many lesser experienced players concede from frustration. "Iíll give you your spades and the A. Down one or two?"
Let me show you why this is a poor idea.
I got lucky and the spades started 4-3. Next, West was not sure what to lead after the he finished cashing those spades.
He chose a club (not unreasonable since Eastís only discard was the 4).
This was all I needed to find nine tricks (the defense having cashed only four).
I won the K in hand and cashed the remaining diamonds discarding all the hearts in the dummy. With three tricks to go this was my hand and dummy:
East started the hand with four clubs and the A. She had to find a discard from:
If she discarded a club then the clubs would run. If she discarded the
A then I would take
two clubs and the K.
Either way I got the last three tricks.
The complete hand:
The moral of the story? Never give up until the defense has cashed enough
tricks to defeat you. Things are never as clear through their eyes. Just
remember, never give up until they have taken the tricks to defeat you.
The Five Level
Sometimes the opponents push you around. Sometimes this means playing your contract at the five level when you would have preferred the four level. However, sometimes it makes you think. Sometimes it makes you stretch. Sometimes it makes you a better player. Playing matchpoint duplicate you are South and pick up:
You open 1 and the auction proceeds:
West leads the A.
"Spade loser, diamond loser, and at least one club loser.", you count.
West leads the diamond five to the second trick. Clearly you must set up clubs to discard the diamond loser. Your play.
How did you attack clubs? Did you see that you always have a club loser irrespective of the location of the K? Did you absolutely maximize your chances?
The proper play is to cash the A first (before pulling trump to help with entries) and then return to the South hand and lead a small club towards the North hand (after pulling trump). This has the added advantage of picking up singleton K with East and does not give up any holding when West holds the K.
If you took a first round finesse of the Q, sorry down one.
If you played the A first then you take eleven tricks and made your contract.
Now the real question. How would you have played if you were in 4 instead of 5? Would you have worked as hard to find that elusive overtrick?
The complete hand: