Thursday, March 29, 2012

Play for the distribution your opponents will be playing for

In a team game, I'm sitting South when I am faced with a decision.  Do you agree with my bid here?

This was my thought process: partner could have doubled under pressure and might have only 3 spades. With two stoppers in hearts, 3NT is both one level lower and probably safer.  I would probably bid it again, although feel free to suggest a different bid!

I got the totally unexpected lead of the Ace of clubs on which East encouraged with the 10 of clubs (Click on "South" to hide other hands and click "Next" to see the first trick).  How do you play this hand?

4S would make (the relevant comparison at teams is what your opponents at the other table are doing) only when spades are 3-2 (1 spade loser, 1 diamond and 1 club).  So that is the distribution I should play for.   Click Next to see how I should have played it. (Unfortunately, I didn't make this inference at the table. Instead, I went down 1 trying to cater to a 4-1 spade split.)


  1. I don't see how the spade break matters here. After the diamond finesse loses, win the heart return (pitching a spade from dummy) and run the diamonds (pitching a heart from hand). If east had started with one more spade and one less diamond, he is still forced to discard a spade (he can't afford to pitch a club). Now you can safely play AK and a spade back to endplay him into leading clubs into the K9 in dummy. Making 3NT as long as east's spades are longer than west's.

    Of course, if they had been playing upside down carding and east encouraged with the C3 at trick one, THEN you have to play for a 3-2 spade break early in the deal.

  2. Prashanth, you are right. The end-play in clubs is always available once east has thrown away the 10 of clubs. aargh!