Story telling by Bob Crosby

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Most defenders are not very skillful in the art of defense. Therefore their discards “tell you a story” that assists you in…

Bob Crosby
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Wednesday, February 09, 2005 5:48 AM

Most defenders are not very skillful in the art of defense. Therefore their discards “tell you a story” that assists you in making a great many hands that otherwise would go down. In most cases , the defenders are “too honest” and give accurate count & attitude signals for you. The information is intended for their partners but you are allowed to intercept their signals. In addition , these defenders do not “think ahead” . If they have Qxx in front of AKJ on the board they wait until the last minute to plan their discards and quite often with a lot of discomfort and hesitating that is apparent to the whole table. Expert defenders would see this coming at trick one and plan their discards smoothly and without any apparent pain.

When you are running a suit , it’s a good bet the opponents first discard is from a 5 card suit. This causes the least amount of discomfort for them & then they decide what their discarding plan might be. Sometimes one partner is oblivious to what is going on that you are trying to find a queen and make discards that give the show away. Sometimes they feel they are squeezed when they are not and in some cases they actually are squeezed. If you can afford to run a suit before finding a key queen its really to your advantage to do so . Even experts slip up on occasion.

Here is a hand which should have been made by a tormentee if he “read” the opponents discards properly.

x x x
J 10 9 8 x x x
J 9 x
Q x
A K Q x x
A K 8 7
K x

1st the bidding . The tormentee opened 1 and I pre-empted 4Just for the record, no partner of mine has ever made a slam opposite one of my jump to game pre-empts but undaunted partner bid 4NT. I had an Ace so I showed it. We reached 6 and Steve Willard led a club with the Ace winning on the board.

The tormentee has only one line of play and that is to run all his trumps and pitch his spade on the long heart and try to steal the contract. He does this and Sue on his right signals a high spade. As the hearts keep coming , Sue eventually lets one diamond go & then continues to discard black cards. Steve does not discard any diamonds. How many diamonds do you think Sue has for discarding one and then stopping?

Patterns can help again . If Sue had 5 diamonds the pattern is 5-4-3-1 and Steve had a stiff diamond which he might have led. OK lets give her 4 diamonds . Did she have Q10xx and decide to let a diamond go ? Not likely as might have kept all her diamonds with that holding. Sue was indeed down to Qxx and Steve had his original 10x of diamonds. The opponents are never going to discard down to a doubleton queen for you so banging down the AK of diamonds is futile and anti-percentage. You now lead the diamond jack and Sue covers with the queen and on the next diamond the 10 comes tumbling down and you chalk up +980 turning a zero into a top. We refer to these slams as getting “Ray Graced” .

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