Seeing through cards #4

Knowing how to ask yourselves the right questions and then answer them is the key to improve your chances on any bridge hand, be it as declarer or as defender.

I’ll give you a hand below, and a series of questions – like a riddle! Try to answer these questions by yourself. Then look at the answers, which will be presented together with the full deal.

At the end we’ll summarize a few important “Things to remember” for each problem. Enjoy!

Dealer South, All Vulnerable

Against 3NT you lead the ♣3. Your partner played the ♣J and declarer won with the ♣A, then played the Q, overtaking in dummy when you played low. He continued with the J, discarding the ♣4 from his hand, and you won with the A.

You and your partner are playing standard carding. To show attitude, a high card encourages the suit, and a low card discourages. To show count, playing a high card followed by a low one shows an even number of cards in that suit, while low-high shows odd number of cards.

  1. Where is the ♣K?
  2. Where is the ♣10?
  3. What is declarer’s distribution?
  4. Which card you must hope partner has in order to set 3NT?
  5. Which card should you play next?

  1. Where is the ♣K?

    Declarer must have it, as partner didn’t play it at trick 1 (3rd hand plays high).

  2. Where is the ♣10?

    With declarer, as partner didn’t play it at trick 1 (3rd hand plays LOW from touching sequence).

  3. What is declarer’s distribution?

    4-4-1-4. Declarer showed 4-4 in the majors and then he followed only to the first round of Diamonds, which means he has 4 clubs.

  4. Which card you must hope partner has in order to set 3NT?

    Play partner for the ♠A. If declarer has it – he already has 10 tricks: 2 Hearts, 5 Diamonds, 2 Clubs and … the ♠A. So, your only chance to set 3NT is to assume partner has it, and play accordingly — otherwise 3NT is cold.

  5. Which card should you play next?

    Play the ♠K. If you assume partner has the ♠A, you need to play in such a way as to allow the defense to take 4 spade tricks.

    – If you play a low Spade, partner will win the ♠A, return a spade to your ♠K (♠Q falls), you will cash the ♠J, but declarer’s ♠10 is high.

    – If you play the ♠J first, declarer will cover it with the ♠Q. Partner will win the ♠A, return a Spade to your ♠K9, but again, declarer’s ♠10 is high.

    You need to plan the play in such a way that that the 3rd round of spades comes from partner’s hand! That means, he needs to win the second Spade, and thus… You must win the first one! So… Play the ♠K first, then follow with the ♠2 to partner’s ♠A (♠Q falls) and win the third Spade from partner which traps declarer’s ♠108.

Things to remember


1. Third hand plays high, if first and second hand played low.
2. From sequence, third hand plays the lowest card from that sequence:
a.
43
K7652 J
A
It’s clear now that your partner has the Q, else declarer would have won the trick with it. So when you get the lead, you can play a low Diamond to partner’s Q.

b.
43
K10652 Q
A
It’s clear now that declarer has the J, else partner would have played it (J from QJ as 3rd hand). When you win the lead, switch to another suit trying to put partner on lead, so that he can play this suit towards your K10 tenace over declarer’s J.

c.
♠AJ10
432 Q
5
It’s clear now that your partner has the ♠K, else declarer would have won the trick with it. So when you get the hand, you can play another Spade to establish his K.

d.
♠AJ10
432 K
5
It’s clear now that declarer has the ♠Q, else partner would have played it (Q from KQ as 3rd hand). So when you get the hand, consider switching to another suit and seek more tricks elsewhere.

3. If you realize you need a certain card from partner to set the contract – assume it is there and play accordingly. What other choice do you have?

4. After realizing that declarer has 4 spades and partner needs the ♠A to set, this is the position (you are West):
♠Q5
♠KJ92 ♠A43
♠10876
Play the ♠K, follow with the ♠2 to partner’s ♠A, and a third spade from him will put your ♠J9 over declarer’s ♠108.

5. Which card will you (West) play in this sequence?
♠Q65
♠KJ92 ♠A43
♠1087
Play the ♠J! Declarer must cover with the ♠Q and partner will win the ♠A, return a spade and you have ♠K9 over declarer’s ♠108.

6. Bidding the 4th suit at the 1st level (as in the sequence above) means either 4th suit forcing (Game Forcing), OR natural 4 card spade. So if you bid 1♠ and later rebid your suit, it means that the 1♠ bid was artificial, and the sequence is Game Forcing. Another common agreement is to use the 2♠ bid as 4th suit forcing, and 1♠ as natural Spades.

7. NOTE! If North would have rebid 3 after 1 (without passing though the 1♠ bid), that would show 6 cards Diamonds and 10-11 points, after which South is allowed to Pass (!) with a minimum hand.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the column. North should be left opponent. It is hard to follow when North is put as right opponent in the picture.

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