X-Def 14

This deal, from a Swiss pairs on line session, has lots of pointers for everybody, on bidding, declarer play, and defence. Not surprising, therefore, that the results varied considerably from pair to pair.

Board 21 Dealer North NS Vul


The first ‘head to head’ was of most interest, because EW were playing Precision and East opened 1C(16+). The NS pair have a policy to bid over a big club whenever possible. A 1H overcall was possible in their methods, so South bid 1H. West bid 1S (a positive response, 8+ HCP and a 5+ card spade suit). North now bid 2C. You might think this was dangerous, with a singleton in partner’s overcalled suit, but the chances of getting doubled for penalties at such a low level when opponents have game values are very slim. East now bid 2D, South passed, and West bid 2S. East chose to bid 3NT (I would have bid only 2NT) and West decided he had bid enough and passed (I would definitely have bid 4S).

You can now see the benefits of North’s 2C bid. South had no problem with the opening lead and led the three of clubs, and after declarer ducked twice, declarer won the ace. Then, declarer cashed the ace of spades and, when she was unable to continue spades, the picture was clear to everyone at the table. Declarer produced the two of hearts, but South was not taken in. No ‘second hand low’! South rose with the king and despite declarer being known to have five diamonds, switched to the three of diamonds! That, too, was obvious. All South had to do was ask himself why, if declarer had the ace of diamonds, she was not using the king in dummy to get to the spades. The defence was accurate and based on knowing what was going on, not on rudimentary rules like ‘lead fourth highest of longest and strongest’, ‘second hand low’ and don’t lead round to declarer’s suit’. Would you have defended so well? Had the bidding been a lot different, e.g. an Acol sequence like 1D-1H overcall-1S-3NT would you have found the lead of a club? I suggest probably not, so getting a message from partner at a reasonably harmless level, especially against a big 1C, should be cultivated.

More to come on this deal in Def15