Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The beauty of bridge

What's your favorite aspect of bridge?  Declarer play? Bidding? Defense?

Declarer play is often, like chess, a solitary activity and so I merely tolerate it.  The poker-like skills of reading defenders' tells is also something I don't know.  So, declarer play is not it for me. Although I like the judgment inherent in bidding, any serious partnership quickly delves into complexity and pages of notes.

What is pure, unadulterated pleasure for me is defense.  Defense is logical, it is social, there are only a few conventions (at least at my level) and when things click, it can be magical.

One hand like this can make up for an entire evening of so-so play.

Click on my name to hide the other hands.  What do you lead?

The 2/1 auction and my 9 points indicated that partner was close to being broke. So, leading my ratty spades looked like it would blow a trick. I decided to lead the Q of hearts. Partner might make up in length what he did not have in strength ...

Now, look at my partner's hand. The queen gets covered by the king perforce (I've always wanted to use that word!). Now what do you play?

If you play the Ace, of course, the hearts are blocked. Partner came through, ducking the trick. Even though the King has held, declarer is up to only 8 top tricks. So, he had to take the diamond finesse (the spade finesse also fails and if he plays clubs before taking either finesse, I have two easy discards). When in with the diamond, I continued with the Jack of hearts, unblocking the suit. Partner then overtook the 7 with the Ace and 3NT was down 2.

This bit of defensive communication was good for 90% of the match-points.

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