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Nicely Bid, Well Played ... Flat Board


From Gerry Daly

Before reading further plan your line of play in 6NT by S on the lead of 4 of clubs to K after your RHO made a 1S overcall.

A 3
A K J 8 3
A Q
J 7 5 3
N
WE
S
K Q J 6
10 6
K 9 5 4 2
A 9
WestNorthEastSouth
   1 
Pass1 1 1 NT
Pass4 NTPass5 
Pass6 NTPassPass
Pass   

The 1NT rebid shows 11 to a bad 14 HCP and denies 3 hearts. From Norths perspective slam looks likely with good cards in partners suit, additional support in spades and an apparent trick source in Hearts with a combined 30-32HCP. The 4NT bid is quantitative and asks partner to pass with 11/12 and bid on with more. Partner accepts the invite showing an Ace as courtesy. The quantitative 4NT is a very useful convention in these types of situations. It can be passed in comfort with a minimum. Of course, you must be able to trust your partner to have first agreed either red suit as trumps in a forcing manner on the occasions they intend 4NT as keycard.

So, what line of play did you choose? If diamonds break 3-3 you have 12 tricks on top and the fall back on finding the HQ if they don't. Can you improve on these chances?

Trevor Fuller was declarer and certainly did. In quick time a club was played towards dummy at trick two. This requires a certain degree of courage. However, carding from both defenders suggested it was a safe play, Wests small club promising an honour and East's K denying the Queen. It seems East's overcall was rather thin. West rose A and exited Club 10 to J with E discarding a spade. Both defenders followed to A&Q of diamonds but W discarded clubs on Ace and second round of spades. The KD came next revealing the 4-2 break with E showing out. W pitched a Heart. What are the defenders distributions?

Playing this event on line with screens gives an interesting perspective. As dummy I was sharing a screen with E so had full vision and audio of this player while W and partner are hidden. I can however see the layout of our cards. On the pitch of his partners first heart my screen mate began muttering various colourful comments and this continued as Trevor twisted the screws with subsequent spades as further hearts were discarded. In retrospect my "don't worry, Trevor has a full count of the hand anyway" comment was probably better left unsaid.

Trevor's farsighted club play at trick 2 had rectified the count for a squeeze and also provided the groundwork for the distributional information. By trick 8 W was known to have started with 5C, 4D and 0 spades, therefore 4 hearts and his partner thus 7222. Needing to keep both his remaining diamond and club W had to pitch two hearts. It's now a very easy matter to play hearts from the top dropping the Q. Without the club play at trick two declarer will simply have to guess his best chance in hearts when the diamond break is uncovered.

Sadly, while the same contract was reached at the other table declarer was not put to the test getting a heart lead. 3 of the 8 tables bid 6NT and one the more precarious 6H. 2 others punished an injudicious 2S overcall

Board 11
South Deals
None Vul
A 3
A K J 8 3
A Q
J 7 5 3
7 5 4 2
J 10 8 7
Q 10 8 4 2
N
WE
S
10 9 8 7 5 4 2
Q 9
6 3
K 6
K Q J 6
10 6
K 9 5 4 2
A 9


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