Tuesday, May 13, 2014

How do you play this suit combination?

I got a phone call today. "How do you play 11 spades missing the queen-deuce?"

"Um, I'd play for the drop? Ha ha"

Wrong answer, actually.

Playing in a club game, a friend was in 4 with this layout:

Dummy: A J 9 8 5

You: K 10 7 6 4 3

You lead a spade towards dummy and left-hand opponent shows out. You win the ace and lead another and right-hand opponent shows out.

What do you play and why?

First, you have to figure out who revoked. I think it's likely that RHO did as she didn't ask "No spades?" when her partner showed out when you first led the suit, something she might do if she had a singleton. If RHO has the Q, you need to put in the 10.

If, instead, you played the K, then RHO would win a trick subsequently, the Director would give you one trick, and you would be back to even. If you play the 10, then the king, you could make RHO follow with the Q, but still get an extra trick later.

You need a flow chart to be able to figure out the penalty for a revoke. The ACBL has an article that explains all the latest rules and you can read about it here.

Thanks to Xwing for the story.


  1. It's like you wrote this in another language Mojo - no wonder you're so dominant at poker... :)

  2. Yeah, bridge is a complicated game, for sure.

  3. Are those the "latest" rules? The date at the bottom of that article is 2008.

    By the way, this reminds me of a rubber bridge story I heard back in the day up in New England. The declarer is in slam missing an ace and the trump king, but the trump king is the only outstanding trump as the declaring side has 12 of them. After the opponents cash their ace, declarer leads toward the trump AQ in his hand and RHO shows out. In disgust, declarer goes, "You get the trump K, down one"

    And so a new rule was born, named after the perpetrator. [name redacted]'s Rule: With 12 trumps, play for the drop.

  4. This is a great article. I sent a letter to Mike Flader about how bad I thought the ACBL's new rules on revokes are. He sent me back a vanilla follow-the-company-line response. But the fact is that players who are very good and very unethical can use the new rules to their advantage and to your disadvantage. Is restoring equity good enough when the person revokes in a situation that makes you miscount a suit and subsequently execute an inferior line of play? I say no. A revoke is so contrary to the nature of bridge that it should always be punished. Merely restoring equity is not enough. Loved your article. Laughed a lot, but some of the laughter was bitter because I know all too well from tournament experience what can happen at the table when an opponent revokes (and in one case overruffs the dummy). Best wishes, Ray Adams raysbridgeblog.wordpress.com