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X-Files 75

If you want to do well at this game, you need to know how to defend reasonably well. Having a good system of signalling on defence will get you a long way towards that. This board was nearly always played in 4S by East. The bidding could have gone a number of ways but the defence should have gone only one way. Yet, out of nine declarers in 4S, four made five, three made four, and only two were down one, which is as it should be, given what should be a fairly routine defence.

Board 13 from Wednesday 29/07/20
Dealer N All Vul

983
T65
A9852
Q8
JT75
QJ972
Q3
K3
AKQ42
8
KJT74
64
6
AK43
6
AJT9752

X-Files 74

How many of our club players do not appreciate the difference between a 5-3 and a 4-4 fit? And how many don’t know the great advantages of playing in the 4-4 fit when there is a 5-3 fit in another suit, rather than just settling for the 5-3? Here is one very good example.

Board 6 from Monday 27/07/20
Dealer E EW Vul

9875
Q3
K532
J75
KJ642
AK64
8
A98
AQ3
J975
T64
KT2
T
T82
AQJ97
Q643

X-Files 73

“Cover Story”, or “The king is dead, long live the ten or nine”. Why do so many players have difficulty with understanding and implementing the teaching of “cover an honour with an honour”? A simple enough suggestion and one that works nine times out of ten and also works when you are wise enough to ignore it the tenth time. This one is about the nine out of ten times that was seemingly ignored by nine out of ten defenders sitting in the North seat.

Board 26 from Monday 20/07/20
Dealer E All Vul

Q8
8652
A764
K95
K652
AT92
J92
J7
973
K4
Q8
AQ8642
AJT4
QJ7
KT53
T3

X-Files 66

The declarer play problem I set earlier was a fairly simple ‘double dummy’ play problem but I made it sound more difficult than it was to make the reader think. Not one of the declarers (at our club) in 4H made twelve tricks. I believe that this hand should have pretty well played itself ‘at the table’.

Board 3 Dealer S EW Vul

874
K94
J9532
J2
QJT9
AQT4
AT974
AQT8632
86
K83
AK6532
75
K7
Q65

The TOX

After West opened the bidding, usually with 1D, most Norths ended up playing in 2S, a few in 3S, and not one EW pair that I saw at our Hutt club played in the ‘par’ contract of 3H. From that it seems clear that few, if any, average club players, understand the takeout double or its uses, even if they at times say they play ‘takeout’ or ‘negative’ doubles. There are other important aspects to the following deal as well, but for now .......

Board 19 from Monday 16/03/2020
Dlr S EW Vul

AQJT97
62
J6
K86
K4
QT83
AQ73
AQ3
532
KJ94
T5
J972
86
A75
K9842
T54

Take a Cue ..

There are cue bids and there are cue bids, different ones for different occasions. If you don’t play cue bids at all, or play them badly, your bidding becomes much more difficult. If you do play cue bids and pass up the chance, or maybe even ignore the opportunity, you won’t always get the right result. This deal comes from a Swiss pairs match, where getting to the best game is of huge importance. It would also have taken place in match point sessions at other X-Clubs.

Board 23 from Tuesday 10/03/2020
Dealer S All Vul

KQJT98
K952
8
94
T76
AK963
KT873
A53
AQ3
QJT4
J65
7642
J84
752
AQ2

Worth a Thought ...

From Friday, 7 February 2020
Board 2 Dealer E, NS Vul

A85
AT8
KJT2
QJ2
KJ64
3
Q7
AT9874
Q73
K954
A95
K65
T92
QJ762
8643
3

Reader's question:
The bidding was:

Take a Lead

The bidding has been 1NT-3NT and you have to make the opening lead from:

A82
82
AQT9852
4

Before reading on, make your decision.

Going for the Jugular

How is your defensive bidding against a strong, usually Precision, opening 1C? In the following deal it really does not matter, nor does it matter if South opens an Acol 1D. All the EW pairs missed the boat, so let’s see why they did and why they should not have.

Board 6 from Tuesday 4/01/20
Dealer E EW Vul

K6
KQJ987
J8
T42
QT943
6
AT75
AJ8
J875
T542
Q9765
A2
A3
KQ96432
K3

Cutting Right to the Chase

From Monday AM, 3 February 2020 – Board 19 Dealer S EW Vul

A
KQJ9653
AKQT2
954
QJ962
42
J65
KQT87
AKT
AT7
83
J632
87543
8
974

Reader's question:
The bidding was:

SouthWestNorthEast
--22
PassPass5Pass
PassPass

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