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Bridge in Paradise: by Neil Robinson

You are West and you hear this bidding (South deals, EW vulnerable):
South West North East
1N P 2C P
2S P 2N P
3N All pass    

This is your hand:
S: 863
H: Q6
D: J10765
C: 952

What do you lead? Some players might try the “safe” lead of the diamond jack. You, of course, think about the bidding first, before leading anything. 1N by South indicates 15-17 points. 2C (Stayman) shows that North has at least one four card major. 2S by South shows four spades (and denies four hearts). 2N by North shows his four card suit was hearts and indicates 8 or 9 points—inviting to 3N. South accepts the invitation, so should have 16 or 17 points. Thus, NS are marginal for making game, with about 25 points in total. You have 3 points, so your partner must have about 12 points. Since your partner has the points, you want to find his suit, rather than trying to set up yours.
But what is your partner’s suit? North has four hearts and South has two or three. Since you have only two hearts, your partner must have at least four, maybe five. So, you lead the Q of hearts. The full deal is:

  S: 52  
  H: A743  
  D: K93  
  C: Q863  
S: 863   S: KJ104
H: Q6   H: KJ1095
D: J10765   D: 4
C: 952   C: A74
  S: AQ97  
  H: 82  
  D: AQ82  
  C: KJ10  

Your partner overtakes your lead and forces out the ace of hearts. Now, when he gets in with the ace of clubs, he takes the rest of his heart tricks. The contract goes down one—and your partner is delighted with your play!

Now watch what happens if you lead the “safe” diamond jack. Declarer wins in hand and then forces out the ace of clubs. Your partner gets in and leads hearts, but it is too late. Declarer takes the ace of hearts, to add to his three club tricks and four diamond tricks (by finessing you for the marked ten), and the ace of spades, to make the contract. If necessary, or if declarer is feeling really lucky, he can also take the spade finesse. On today’s hand this gives him an overtrick. Your partner glowers at you.

Defence is by far the most difficult part of bridge. Sometimes the opponents’ bidding gives you a map of the hands, so take advantage of it! I would like to hear from readers about their favourite hands—please do contact me at: [email protected]

Bridge Club of Chiang Mai welcomes all players. We have members from seventeen different countries already. For information on the Club go to the web site www.

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Bridge in Paradise