Wednesday Play at The Hutt (16)

This was the problem posed in issue No.15
Dummy (North)


You (West):


Against South’s 4S you lead the CA. You see dummy. How will you continue if:
a) partner follows with the TWO and declarer the SEVEN?
b) partner follows with the FIVE and declarer the SEVEN?
c) partner follows with the FIVE and declarer with the THREE

You should always get into the habit of looking carefully at the cards played to the first trick, because they will give you a lot of information about how the defence might be able to continue. In this particular example, you are lucky, having a clear cut opening lead. You also have quite a lot of information from the bidding. Declarer has opened 1NT, therefore will have a BALANCED hand, which means at least TWO clubs. Declarer also has 12-14 HCP and four spades. Let us look at the three cases above.

a) partner follows with the TWO and declarer the SEVEN. Partner can have EITHER three clubs OR a singleton. If partner has a singleton then declarer has four clubs as well as four spades, not impossible but unlikely. Declarer has played the 7. The 8, 5, and 3 are missing. What does that tell you? Declarer will almost certainly have only two clubs, the 7 and 8, partner the 2, 3 and 5. Continuing with clubs won’t help the defence.

b) when partner follows with the 5 and declarer plays the 7 from hand, just ask yourself about the cards played, and those still outstanding. The missing cards are the 8, 3, and 2. Partner can not have the 8 as well as the 5, because she would have followed with the 8 first (higher of two). Nor can partner have the 3 and 2 as well (play the 2 from 532), so you can infer from the play that declarer is trying to lead you astray by playing a ‘false card’. Partner must have a DOUBLETON 5-3 or 5-2, so lead the king next then a third for partner to ruff.

c) With the 8,4 and 2 still missing, the most likely answer is that partner has 54 or 52 doubleton and declarer 873. Partner would NOT have followed with the 5 if she also had the 8! Give partner this and the previous issues of “Wed play” to read and make sure you are ‘on the same page’!