Friday, January 13, 2012

What's the lifeline of bridge again?

West bids 1NT (14-16) and partner doubles. We play Multi-Landy and this shows an equal or better hand. East passes and I need to make a decision.  I squeak out a 2H bid because I can not leave the double in when the opponents probably have 23 points and a runnable club suit.  Partner goes into the tank a bit and emerges with a 4H bid which is passed out.

You get the lead of 7 diamond and this is the hand that comes down as dummy. How do you rate your chances? How do you play?

You need two entries into your hand to lead towards the hearts. The club ruff is one entry. The 10 of diamonds is your only other reasonable shot at an entry since the 7 is probably from a doubleton holding. If you played anything other than the Jack of diamonds at trick one, you will be down 1.

This is the full hand (Click Next to see the play):

Needless to say, I didn't put the Jack up on trick one. Jeff Lehman would love this hand.


  1. I do like the hand! Thanks for the plug (although a commenter tells me that Rodwell uses the term "lifeblood" and not "lifeline").

    The absence of a black king lead from West suggests that East holds an honor, perhaps the queen, in each black suit. If one makes an assumption that the D7 lead suggests no DQ by West -- and that is surely far from a lock -- then a count of "unlocated" HCP suggests that West would hold the HQ. Length of the diamond lead is very hard to discern, I think.

    On one's bad days, one might find that the diamond lead is from 9732 and that hearts are 2-2; thus declarer loses the DQ, the HA and a diamond ruff as well as a spade ... and so the Trick 1 DJ is not a sure thing (but seems like the best play).

  2. As an aside, why wouldn't East have bid 3C over the double?

  3. The opponents asked about the double and were told it was penalty. Given that, I too would have passed East's hand. Her three queens were potential entries in a NT contract, with the clubs providing a good source of tricks if partner had clubs. If North has the clubs, 3C will also be doubled and that's two more tricks she'd have to make. Hearts have a good chance of being 4-4-4-1.

    As you can see, I had three choices of trump suit and I lucked on hearts because of I held the 9 in that suit.

    Lifeblood is the more common expression, for example: