Seeing through cards #38

Seeing through cards with Oren Lidor

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

I’ll give you a hand along with a series of questions. First, try to answer them yourself, and then take a look at the answers. 

At the end I’ll summarize the important things to remember. I hope you enjoy the challenge!

Here we have just the North and West hands, along with bidding. You’re sitting West. Answer the questions below and click the solution button when you’re ready to see how you’ve done.

Dealer South, E-W Vul

You agreed to play standard carding with partner (for attitude: high card encourages and low card discourages; for count: high – low shows even number of cards, low – high shows odd).

You led the 4. Dummy played the 3, partner followed with the 7 and declarer won with the K and continued with the A and another Diamond which you took with the K

  1. How many points does your partner have?
  2. Where is the Q?
  3. Where is the 10?
  4. Where is the 9?
  5. Where is the 8?
  6. How will you play?

  1. How many points does your partner have?
    Between 0-1 point: The declarer has 20-22 for his 2NT opening, dummy has 8 and you have 11. So your partner’s left with 0-1 point.

  2. Where is the Q
    Clearly with the declarer, given your partner can’t have more than 1 point. Also, if your partner did have the Q, your partner would’ve played it at trick 1 as 3rd hand plays high.

  3. Where’s the 10?
    With your partner. If the declarer had it – the declarer would’ve won trick 1 with the 10 and not with the K. But, if 3rd hand plays high, why did your partner play the 7 and not the 10? Your partner has a sequence and 3rd hand is playing LOW from a touching high sequence. Which means, your partner has 10987

  4. Where is the 9?
    With your partner, as the declarer would’ve won with the 9, if they have it

  5. Where is the 8?
    With your partner, as the declarer would’ve won with the 8, if they have it.

  6. How will you play?
    Continue with the A at trick 4 to drop the declarer’s remaining Q (say your partner followed with the 10). Then, wait and don’t play the J or you’d block the suit. Continue with low Heart to your partner’s 8 and then overtake partner’s 9 with the J to take advantage of your 5th setting Heart trick. If you don’t take your Hearts here and now the declarer will make the rest of the tricks.

Things to remember

  • 3rd seat:
  • 1) Plays high if 1st and 2nd seat played low

    2) Plays low from a touching sequence (so if you have QJ2 and 1st and 2nd seats played low – play the J)

    3) Gives attitude (want/don’t want) if 1st seat led the Ace or if dummy played a top card on 2nd seat.

    4) Gives count if 1st seat led the King (needs agreement) OR if 3rd seat cannot cover a relatively low card from dummy (covered in article 36).

    5) Gives suit preference if the suit is “DEAD” (so clearly no more tricks for us in this suit as dummy has all the high cards or if dummy has singleton or void in a trump contract).

  • What will you conclude if your Partner follows with the 8, losing to the K? You’ll place the 7 with the declarer and then your Partner holds 1098 and the declarer KQ7.
  • Assuming the above: your Partner has 1098 and the declarer KQ7: if dummy was a little weaker, with 6 points (same hand without the ♣Q). What will be your defense to have a chance to set? – This is tricky and much harder. You would need to try to put your partner on lead so that partner can return Heart to place you AJ after the declarer’s Q7. As your partner is weak, having maximum 3 points, you would need to hope your partner has Jxx and unblock your K under declarer’s A! That move will promote your partner’s J (assuming your partner has also the ♣Q, so that the declarer cannot make 4 Club tricks). If you don’t manage to put partner on lead – the declarer will then make overtricks.