Recurring headaches – part 5 By August Boehm

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On defense, partners help each other with leads and signals, trying to indicate locations of length and strength. Some defenses, however…

By Ana Roth
On 20 December, 2016 At 13:43

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Fuente: Junio 2014 ACBL Bridge Bulletin      

On defense, partners help each other with leads and signals, trying to indicate locations of length and strength. Some defenses, however, are best conducted by trying not to do too much. A doctor practices the Hippocratic Oath – first, do no harm.

A defender may be obliged to follow in the doctor’s footsteps.  KJ53  J7  K974  Q102.

Playing matchpoints, neither vulner-able, partner deals and passes and your right-hand opponent opens 1 . Do you act?

A nonvulnerable takeout double at the one level with 10 high-card points is barely within range, but is it tactically advisable? Partner is a passed hand, so the odds suggest that the deal be-longs to the opponents. Showing your wares is dubious strategy unless you can preempt effectively or pinpoint a lead. The information your double imparts is more likely to assist declarer than partner. If the auction returns to you in the balancing seat at 2 , then you can double.

You pass and LHO jumps to 2NT, a game-forcing, four-card raise. RHO signs off in 4 .

What do you lead? All suits are perilous, but trump looks safest. Partner doesn’t rate to hold more than 5 HCP. The trump lead is neutral.

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Declarer draws trumps in two rounds, partner following low. In dummy at trick three, declarer calls for the 2, partner contributes the 7, the declarer the queen, and you win. What next? Counting HCP, partner should hold 0-3. He might have the K or Q. How do you find him? The answer is, don’t try. The dummy, for all its HCP, is not threatening. Look for the safest return. Partner’s 7 should be a (standard) count signal, showing an even number of spades, or perhaps  10 7 doubleton when partner might not want to spend the 10 on a signal. If partner signaled with  7 4 doubleton, declarer has played the spades oddly; the norm would be to double finesse, playing first to his 10 or 9. All in all, a low spade return is safe. Partner’s 9 forces the ace. Declarer crosses to dummy in trumps, ruffs the last spade and continues with a low diamond to dummy’s ace. He returns a diamond, partner follows with the 10. Declarer tries the Q which you win. Exit passively with a diamond and await a trick in clubs.

The full deal:

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Declarer loses one spade, two diamonds and one club. True, declarer could have made 4 by endplaying you at various stages, such as ducking the second round of diamonds and throwing you in on the third round with the K to avoid a club loser. And a keen declarer may well deduce from your trump lead, holding  J 7, that playing you for the missing values makes good sense. At matchpoints, however, a line of play predicated on West holding all but one of the outstanding points makes sense only if there is a bidding clue. By doing nothing, West did a lot – his silence was golden and his defense was Hippocratic.

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