Left Field 03

There are times when what looks like a careless play can produce great results. Too many people follow set principles, especially when it comes to drawing trumps. This deal comes from Thursday 29/06/23 at X-Clubs.

Board 1 Dealer N Nil Vul


The bidding should be much the same at every table: 1D-1H-3H-4H though it is possible that West might throw in a double after the first response by South.

West does not have an obvious opening lead but could start with a disastrous low club. Some declarers might be tempted to rise with the queen, expecting West to have led from the king. While in normal circumstances this might be OK, this is not one such case, because playing low from dummy ensures two club tricks no matter what EW’s cards are.

So, the lead of a low club forces out East’s king when dummy plays low. What now?

One declarer made the most of it. In a match point session every trick matters and it is worth taking some risks for the extra trick. Declarer won the ace when East played the king, and drew only one round of trumps, with the king in hand. Then, two top diamonds and a diamond ruff, risking a possible over ruff. West did over ruff but suddenly realised that this was not such a gift. West could cash the spade ace but what then? Or West could lead a club, resulting in two more club tricks for declarer. This is an interesting deal, and I will leave it for the reader to work out what could, or would, happen next. Three declarers did make five, but I don’t know how the play went, quite a few made exactly four and a number actually failed despite a club lead.

Let me now show you some statistics from X-Clubs on Board 1.
92 South played in 4H. A low club was led 42 times. 24 of these declarers made 4H, 3 made 5. 15 were down one (Poor declarer play?). The low club lead was the most frequent opening lead, but 12 led a trump, giving nothing away. Most declarers failed when a trump was led. And, not unexpectedly, there were the unimaginative (“if you have an ace, lead it”) sixteen opening leads of the ace of spades, as well as the three kamikaze exponents who led the jack of clubs. To top it all off, there was the all time poor defence prize to one West who started with the spade ace and then switched to the jack of clubs!