Friday, November 7, 2008

Trust your partner

Playing online, your left-hand opponent opened 1 and showed a minimum hand. The pair you're playing against overbid slightly to 2NT. You hold:
A J 6 5 4 9 2 J 9 J 9 8 7.

Against 2NT, partner leads the 5 and you see the dummy:
K 10 9 3
A 8
10 7 3
Q 6 5 3
A J 6 5 4
9 2
J 9
J 9 8 7

The 10 is played from dummy. You play the jack and South wins the queen and advances the Q. Partner plays the 7 (updside-down count and attitude, if that matters) and you win the ace to fire back the 9. Declarer plays the 4 and partner overtakes your 9 with his king. He continues with the 8 and declarer takes the ace.

Declarer continues his play in the spade suit. He leads the 2, partner contributes the 8, declarer puts in the 10 from dummy and you win the jack. What now?

Partner is supposed to help you when he leads a diamond to clear the suit. Were you watching? Do you remember the spots? Besides the king, partner started with the 8 6 5 and probably the 2. He is saying he has an entry in hearts. Even though that is declarer's five-card suit, you lead the 9. Declarer plays the 3, and partner the 5 and dummy the ace. Declarer cashes the two good spades. Partner sluffs a pair of 10s, the 10 and the 10. South leads a club from dummy, and partner claims!

Here is the complete deal (rotated):

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

You were going to defeat 2NT anyway, but because you trusted partner (thanks, Kate), you had the maximum defense. Down three for plus 300 your way was a 4.97 IMP pickup.

What are the lesson points?
1. Watch the spots. Chess players who don't respect their pawns, lose matches. Bridge players who don't respect spot cards will also lose.
2. If you know what to do, then do it. But unless you are sure what to do, go with what partner suggests -- they like it! I'm just sayin'.

You can see what others did if you go here.

I am considering moving my bridge posts to Bridge Matters and joining forces with Glen Ashton, if he'll have me.

Having a site with more than one author means more content and more than one viewpoint. The poker stuff would stay here (and yes, you'll still be stuck with my photos!).

What do you think? Comments from bridge readers are invited.

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