Left Field 01

Vil just can't seem to help himself! He must have found his days to be pretty empty since he gave up writing his articles for our X-Clubs site .. a month ago. Here's his latest series

We all learn a lot from reading bridge articles in newspapers and magazines, but sometimes we can learn a lot more by reading them and thinking things through for ourselves. This series of “Left Field” articles will not just help readers improve their bridge, I hope it will encourage them to start thinking for themselves.

Dealer S EW Vul


According to the author of this article, which recently appeared in a well known New Zealand weekly, South opened 2NT! We in NZ surely open 1H. That would still have led to 4H but is that an example of good bidding? Against 4H, West led the ten of diamonds, a most sensible lead. Now, the writer went into a rigmarole which involved cashing three diamonds and discarding a club from hand. Discarding a club from hand when there are only two possible club losers in the first place! The gist of the commentary was that the trump finesse needed to work, so declarer, after taking the first finesse, tried to create an entry to dummy by leading the queen of spades! Then somehow he manages to end up making the contract. The blind spot is the prE-occupation that so many bridge players have with POINTS. The king of diamonds is usually counted as three points but, as Marty Bergen, a player, writer, and analyst whom we should all hugely respect, has said time and time again, “Points schmoints”. Turn the king of diamonds into the TWO, and declarer’s only sensible play would be to finesse the queen to get to dummy so the heart finesse can be taken, and then to lead to the ace of diamonds to repeat the trump finesse. As long as the king of hearts is with East and the suit breaks, 4H is almost certain, unless you play as the author suggested. Imagine the queen of spades losing to a singleton king and then having the hoped for entry via the jack ruffed!

So, let’s ignore the illusion of the king of diamonds. Win the diamond lead in dummy with the queen and finesse the trumps, then OVERTAKE the king of diamonds, because discarding a club does NOT discard a loser.The are still two possible club losers. Take the finesse again and clear trumps by playing the ace. Now, you can play the ace of spades followed by another to ensure three spade tricks, and who knows, the king of spades might be won with a defender who gives you another chance by switching to a club. As long as the trumps are finessed and the suit breaks, you are guaranteed to make, and if the trump finesse loses, you can still try and lead a club up to your king. Too many of our expert writers just see a hand and decide how to play it without actually thinking, which is unfortunately what many of us do at the table. Work out a plan and then use every card to best advantage, irrespective of points. The South hand this time had three points too many!

Welcome back, Vil