Friday, July 9, 2010

Staying out of trouble

I always look forward to the International Bridge Press Association (IBPA) Newsletter each month. They have deals constructed by Tim Bourke that are amazing.

In the deal below, you are South. You open 1NT and partner makes a Texas transfer to 4. Let's make it easy and show all four hands. How do you play after the Q opening lead? Take a look:

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

You can see that to play the K and another to the jack will fail. East can win and shift to a heart for three more defensive winners.

An alternative is to play the K and A, then run clubs. You hope that if East has the Q, he also has three or more clubs. As you can see, that fails, too.

The winner is to lead a low spade from dummy at trick two and insert the 9. You can win the return, arrange to draw trumps and then run clubs.

This technique is called an avoidance play and you can read more about it on Wikipedia here or on the JennBridge blog (Jennifer Jones and Bob Klein) here.


  1. Fun hand!

    A few of my ultimate frisbee teammates and I have started a newbie bridge night, and I'm going to share this hand with them.

  2. @MHG: Thanks for your comment. The beauty of this deal is that it's hard to see, but so obvious when pointed out.

  3. It would appear that the possibilities in Bridge are quite endless and no less complex.

    And probably great fun if one knew what he/she were doing!

  4. in contracts like that I say to myself "what if ". If East gets in for a heart shift I coud be scuppered. Therefore If I'm happy to lose a spade it must be to West, who can do me no harm. The play to the spade 9 at trick two should be spotted straightaway. Anyway, just wanted to say many tx for your encouraging and supportive comments to me. they are most welcome.....since I get so few. Yours John howard Gibson ( aka HBJ )

  5. My husband plays bridge but I will have to wait until I am not working so much to learn but it is in the cards for my future. I am glad you are enjoying the Sedona red rock series.

  6. Having been retired for over 10 years I can truthfully say it is all it is cracked up to be!

  7. Yes, MOJO, Ocala has lots of horses. Race horses, jumping horses, and even some plastic horses. And as a result we have a lot of horses asses! ;-)

  8. Just stopping by to say "hi" and good luck on your next poker tournament!

  9. Re your comment on Ocala DP: I'm not a quilter, but I like them, and think I'd like to see that Memphis museum! Lot's of artistry in the making of quilts!

  10. I must be getting better. Saw this one right away.

    Nice hand, thanks for sharing it.

  11. It wouldn't surprise me at all if there were a Starbucks at the Great Wall of China! They're everywhere!

  12. I think leading the spade J through East gets the same benefit with a better chance at overtricks (as here.)