Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Declarer play 101

When I play bridge online, I'm continually amazed by the things I see. This was board #11 (rotated) tonight played during the OKbridge 5:30 ACBL tournament:

J 7
J 7 3
A 5 4
K Q 10 9 2
A 6 5 9 8 3
9 6 2 K Q 10 8 5
8 7 6 Q 9 2
7 6 5 4 J 8
K Q 10 4 2
A 4
K J 10 3
A 3

West North East South
Pass 1
Pass 1NT Pass 2
Pass 2 Pass 3
Pass 4 All Pass

South didn't bid his hand well. Over the 2 preference, he should follow with 2NT instead of 3. Nevertheless, 4 is an excellent contract.

I led the 2. I try to lead from an honor, but couldn't in this case, obviously. Declarer played low, East contributed the 10 and the ace won the trick.

Declarer had his eye focused on discarding his heart loser. He led the A, a low club to the king and continued with the Q. East ruffed with the 8 and South overruffed with the 10. He continued with a spade to the jack and led the 10 and discarded his heart loser when East ruffed with the 9.

East continued with the K, ruffed by South who led the J and rose with the ace when I played low. He played the 9 and discarded his low diamond as I ruffed with the 5. I cashed the ace of trumps and exited with the 9. Declarer had to ruff and lost a diamond in the end. This was minus 50 and a loss of 7.54 IMPs for North--South.

One word: w-o-w.

What is the first thing they teach you about declarer play? Count your tricks.

Let's see: drive out the A, lose a heart and ruff the continuation, draw trumps. That's four spades, one heart, three clubs (or more) and two diamonds (or more) -- a minimum of 10 tricks. As it happens, the J drops and you make 11 tricks (12 if they don't cash out). All you need is spades to split 3--3 or 4--2 (about an 84% chance).

That's a two-trick compression in a baby-play deal -- basically, you draw trumps and claim.

The board was played 63 times. The most common result was 3NT or 4 making, although a few went down in 3NT. One pair bid and made 6NT! You can see all the results by clicking here.

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