Bridge: what line do you take?

July 23, 2008 at 11:19 pm Leave a comment


South opens 1 and the opponents pass throughout.

Contract: 4
Opening lead: J

What’s your plan?

When I played it both declarers received the jack of diamonds opening lead but there was divergence straight away. Dan Hohor didn’t even bother with the finesse. He rose ace, played 3 rounds of clubs ruffing and when they broke, 2 rounds of trumps to dummy dropped the queen. Easy game.

I took the finesse, ducked the jack of spades return which LHO overtook with the queen to continue diamonds. I won the ace, took a spade ruff, cashed the king of hearts, club to hand, spade ruffed and overruffed. My plan was to make whenever East had Qxx heart or West had Qx. Making 10 tricks.

At table one David Smith lost the diamond finesse at trick one, ducked a spade and won the spade continuation. He ruffed a spade and, on the club off dummy East put in the jack. He won, crossed to the king of clubs, East playing low. He decided clubs were breaking, ruffed one low, cashed two rounds of hearts to dummy and discarded his losing spade on a high club as East ruffed in.

At table two Ben Thompson took a line which seems to cater for pretty much anything. He lost the diamond finesse at trick two, ducked the spade shift and won the next spade. He took a spade ruff and deduced from the carding that LHO had 4 spades, RHO 3. His first thought was to play as I did, but he figured he could cater for a 4-1 trump break. He played 3 rounds of clubs ruffing.

His plan, if LHO had the long clubs, was to ruff a club, ruff the last spade high, ruff a club, play to DA and lead a diamond to guarantee the contract. When the clubs broke, I will quote Ben:

Now I’m solid against any 3-2 break, and hearts 4-1 on my right, and even the unlikely stiff HQ on my right:

Hx-Q (bingo) -K-x
C … got ruffed of course but still had another club winner on the board and an entry to make 650

Nicely done.

The whole layout:

KQ76 Box J105
Q9 1074
J1062 K954
843 QJ6

At my table, I took a look at the 4-1 breaks and thought they were too messy to take into consideration – Chris Hughes certainly made the right call for the defence when he overtook the first round of clubs to go back to diamonds.

But Ben suggests this continuation: club ace and king followed by club ruff and spade ruff. Ruff a diamond, ruff a spade with the heart king, club and now overruff or ruff with the eight according to what RHO does.


Entry filed under: declarer play, VBA. Tags: , , .

Bridge: how do you play this? Bridge: Barclay’s Top Ten for 1932-33

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