Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Plans change

When you declare a bridge contract, you should have a plan. During the play, as the cards are revealed, good players should be willing to change to a better plan. I'm just sayin'.

Playing online Monday night, South (vulnerable vs. not) was in 4 (hands rotated):

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

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

West led the Q to the king and ace. East shifted to the Q taken by South. At this point he decided to play for a crossruff (setting up dummy would have been a better plan). He led the 7 and ruffed in dummy. He continued by playing the A and another ruffing low as the jack fell.

Declarer continued with his plan and played the 3 and ruffed with the 5 in the North hand. South next led the 4 and ruffed with his J. The 8 was ruffed in dummy with the 9 and the 4 was led and ruffed by declarer with the Q.

South continued by leading the 10 and ruffed with the 10 in dummy and overruffed by East with the ace. She led the J to make dummy ruff with the K and declarer was down one.

Let's return to the point where declarer played the A and another ruffing in his hand. When the J fell, he could have shifted gears and drawn trump to make his contract. In fact, at this point he can make five, according to Deep Finesse. He can lead a low spade to the 10. Assuming East wins (ducking is no better), she takes her best shot by leading a low heart. Declarer ruffs with the J, ruffs a club or diamond in dummy, ruffs another heart (dropping the king) with the Q. The dummy is now good, and it's a simple matter to return to dummy to draw the last trump and claim.

Making 4 with an overtrick would have been worth 6.77 IMPs to North-South. Instead, going set one trick was a minus 7.23 IMPs, a difference of 14 IMPs.

Most North-South pairs were in 4, but one North played 1 and three East-West pairs played either 1NT or 2NT. You can see all the results by clicking here.

See Karen Walker's bridge site about forming a plan for declarer play by going here.

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