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April 7, 2002

Think About It
This article is an excerpt from one that first appeared in Issue #22 (Jan/Feb 1998) of The Bridge Companion.

Consider the hand shown below:

spade.gif (842 bytes)97
heart.gif (841 bytes)72
diamond.gif (837 bytes)AQ92
club.gif (841 bytes)AQJ86

This particular pattern presents some rather unique difficulties. As opener you might choose your longest suit and open the bidding with 1club.gif (841 bytes). Partner bids the expected 1heart.gif (841 bytes) or 1spade.gif (842 bytes) response and now what? You are describer. You are the crew. What is your rebid?

West North East South
      1club.gif (841 bytes)
Pass 1spade.gif (842 bytes) Pass ???

These rebids would show:

1NT - 13-15 points and a balanced hand without a four card spade suit.

2club.gif (841 bytes) - 13-16- points and five or more clubs.

2diamond.gif (837 bytes) - 17-21 points and five or more clubs, four or more diamonds, but always more clubs than diamonds.

3club.gif (841 bytes) - 16+-18 points and six or more clubs.

Faced with the choices, 2club.gif (841 bytes) is the only plausible rebid. That is not too bad with the hand shown. How would you feel about rebidding 2club.gif (841 bytes) with the hand in below? The hand value is exactly the same as the first hand.

spade.gif (842 bytes)97
heart.gif (841 bytes)A2
diamond.gif (837 bytes)AKQ2
club.gif (841 bytes)98632

You would be better served to open 1diamond.gif (837 bytes) so that you might rebid 2club.gif (841 bytes). Rebidding a lower ranking suit promises no more than a minimum opening bid, so the strength description is proper. Partner will think you have more diamonds than clubs, but it might not matter. The risk seems superior to opening 1club.gif (841 bytes) and rebidding 2club.gif (841 bytes)!

Look for this pattern. Plan ahead and prepare the way for a reasonable rebid. If most of your high cards are in your doubletons (hearts and spades) it might even be right to rebid 1NT!

Think about it.

=============================================

Recognize the Truth
To become accomplished at declarer play you must recognize the truth, accept it, and find a way to use it. Consider the following hand:

  North (dummy)
spade.gif (842 bytes)53
heart.gif (841 bytes)1084
diamond.gif (837 bytes)A6432
West club.gif (841 bytes)743 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)??? spade.gif (842 bytes)???
heart.gif (841 bytes)??? heart.gif (841 bytes)???
diamond.gif (837 bytes)??? diamond.gif (837 bytes)???
club.gif (841 bytes)??? South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)???
spade.gif (842 bytes)AQ
heart.gif (841 bytes)AKQJ973
diamond.gif (837 bytes)10
club.gif (841 bytes)J65
West North East South
      1heart.gif (841 bytes)
Double 2heart.gif (841 bytes) Pass 4heart.gif (841 bytes)
Pass Pass Pass  

West leads the three top clubs to the first three tricks (all following) and then shifts to the diamond.gif (837 bytes)5. What is your plan to make ten tricks?

Answer:

If your plan includes taking the spade finesse then you are just not accepting reality. Would it come as any surprise for me to tell you that the spade finesse loses?

What other assets do you have on this hand?

The long diamond suit in dummy represents potential.

Missing seven diamonds you would expect them to break 4-3 much more than half the time. Add in the fact that West made a takeout double and the chances are almost a sure thing.

You can set up a diamond trick by length. You will need to cash the diamond.gif (837 bytes)A and trump trump three diamonds AND get back to cash the established trick after trumps have been pulled. That means you will need four entries.

Do you have four entries?

Yes, with careful planning:

The diamond.gif (837 bytes)A.
The heart.gif (841 bytes)10.
The heart.gif (841 bytes)8.
The heart.gif (841 bytes)4.

That will mean you will need to trump the diamonds in the South hand with high hearts and use the heart.gif (841 bytes)9, heart.gif (841 bytes)7, and heart.gif (841 bytes)3 to play to the dummy.

The play:

West cashes three top clubs and leads a small diamond.
Win the diamond.gif (837 bytes)A.
Trump a diamond with a top heart.
Lead the heart.gif (841 bytes)9 to the heart.gif (841 bytes)10.
Trump a diamond with a top heart.
Lead the heart.gif (841 bytes)7 to the heart.gif (841 bytes)8.
Trump a diamond with a top heart.
Lead the heart.gif (841 bytes)3 to the heart.gif (841 bytes)4.
Cash the established diamond discarding the spade.gif (842 bytes)Q.
Cash the spade.gif (842 bytes)A and the rest of your heart tricks.

The complete hand:

  North (dummy)
spade.gif (842 bytes)53
heart.gif (841 bytes)1084
diamond.gif (837 bytes)A6432
West club.gif (841 bytes)743 East
spade.gif (842 bytes)KJ109 spade.gif (842 bytes)87642
heart.gif (841 bytes)2 heart.gif (841 bytes)65
diamond.gif (837 bytes)Q985 diamond.gif (837 bytes)KJ7
club.gif (841 bytes)AKQ2 South (you) club.gif (841 bytes)1098
spade.gif (842 bytes)AQ
heart.gif (841 bytes)AKQJ973
diamond.gif (837 bytes)10
club.gif (841 bytes)J65

Note that only the diamond ruff keeps East-West form making 4spade.gif (842 bytes)!

At least try setting up the diamonds, if someone shows up with five diamonds you can always fall back on the spade finesse.

-Gary King
 

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