Getting it right
Posted by Rakesh Kumar on Thursday, 20 October 2016 at 08:17
Defence is hard! Because a capable partner will be thinking ahead during the defence, it helps if you do things that keep partner "in the loop" and assist with the planning. Otherwise you'll end up like I did ....
The bidding begins with 1C by South, 1S (or 1H showing spades) by North, a rebid of 1NT by opener and a jump to 3NT by responder. Partner leads the ♥6. You play ♥K and it holds. What are you going to do now?
Well, the first thing you should do is try to figure out what the heart position might be. Presumably South has either ♥A or ♥Q. If the former, you're not going to beat this hand: clearly declarer must have the ♣A and if she needs the diamond finesse, it's going to work. So you have to hope that partner has led 4th highest from the ♥A.
However, even in that case you still have problems. Your heart holding blocks the suit. Can partner have a side entry? With your 12 points, that's vanishingly unlikely.
All of which means is that if you return the ♥J, partner will duck, because otherwise it's guaranteed that you won't be able to reach his hand. Partner will hope you are going to come in with ♦K and then return another heart to him so that he can run the suit. Ah, the perils of a partner who is thinking ahead! You want him to take the ace if he's got it, then return either a heart or a spade so you can cash the setting trick. As it turns out, if he ducks, declarer can take another 10 tricks in the minors.
How do you ensure that partner does the right thing? In fact it's not that difficult, all you have to do is keep him in the loop. Cash the ♠K and only then lead the ♥J. Then it's straightforward.
Now if only I had figured that out ....
Here's the full hand:
At 17 tables in the Open (out of 62) North-South played in notrumps (not always in game) and made 10 or more tricks. In our match, it was a flat board! At 11 tables, East-West did get it right and set the contract. There were also numerous successful minor suit partscore contracts and some unsuccessful minor suit games. Only 4 (of 18) tables in the Restricted tried notrumps and only one of those was successful.