This year I'm going to try to play more bridge less badly. I'll post a few interesting hands along the way...
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
A simple pleasure
I think I'm making some slight progress at the game, and I find I'm enjoying getting simple but missable things right more than the occasional fancy play. Here's an example from a matchpoint game. Partner doubles 1NT, perhaps aggressively, and leads the ace of hearts, asking for attitude. You encourage, and he continues with the king, then the six to your queen. Declarer plays the two, nine, and jack from hand and discards a club from dummy. What's your plan?
You and dummy have got 12 HCP between you, so if declarer has 13 partner has 15 - eight more after the top hearts, so this is going to be close. You can't tell what honours to play partner for just by thinking, but you can look at the heart spots. At the table, you have to remember what's gone - it's particularly important to do this when partner has made a pleasing lead; you have to put aside your appreciation and concentrate. If you've managed that, you'll work out that partner has led his higher heart spot. That means he wants you to return a spade, despite the somewhat off-putting holding in dummy. And since he could have AQJ of spades, you should do that before you cash the fourth round of hearts, which will be your last entry.
The actual deal has got a strange symmetry - each side has got a 4-4 fit to cash, and each side can get to seven tricks by finessing twice with its AQJ trebleton. The side on lead gets the seven, so long as it uses its entries to take the finesses.