Mike Lawrence

Source: [button link=»http://www.acbl.org/» size=»small» window=»yes»]ACBL 2007 Bulletins[/button]

Spot cards are seldom noted during the bidding, which is a shame in some cases. There are times, however, when no one can reasonably predict their value:

If  this deal was played a number of times, the final contract would range from 2 to an occasional 4 . East-West might be allowed to play in a heart partscore, but South’s spade holding makes it unlikely that East- West can buy the contract for anything less than 4. The bidding came with no guarantees. North started with 1. Many would open 1. There are a few hundred pages in bridge literature that tout one choice or another with these types of hands. After the 1 bid, East found it convenient to overcall 1. He wanted to do more, but the singleton spade was a big worry. South bid 1 and West had an easy pass. (He had less to think about than anyone else.) North. more or less, had to bid 1NT. Rebidding 1NT with a singleton in partner’s suit is not generally recommended, but given the auction, 1NT is the only choice.

East was lucky: He was able to show his hearts with a takeout double. South chose a sane, conservative bid of 2. He has
tricks, but the stiff K is not a good card and the J 10 2 are a genuine worry.

That ended the bidding, and West led the 4 .

Will South make 2?

The key to the defense is no surprise given the topic of this series: It’s West’s 9, but turning it into a winner requires a gentle touch.

East took two diamond tricks  (South was right to worry about his three diamonds) and continued with the 5 for West to ruff. West was awake. He paid attention to the diamond suit and remembered that South had the 2 and dummy the
3 and himself the 4. That 5 was East’s lowest diamond, which means that East wanted a club return, not a heart return. This suit preference is crucial West knew to lead a club, which was won by East’s ace:Back came the fourth round of diamonds. Wishing to stop another diamond ruff, South ruffed with the 10 before playing a trump to dummy’s queen and East’s ace. East, however, delivered the killing blow by leading his last diamond:
South couldn’t stop West from taking a trick with the 9. Down one .

«My king of hearts was worthless,» noted South. Although it was not posible for West to give the 9 any value during the bidding, it was important for East to appreciate the value of a possible trump promotion for his partner during the play.