Take your declarer play to new level

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Today’s column contains two hands and can be called “placing the cards”. They are not complicated, but you need to look at them to start training your mind on the right approach to playing a hand.

Sometimes the bidding and play will allow you to place missing cards with some certainty, but most of the time you are making an educated guess based on a few clues.

Take a look at this hand:

Dealer West, N/S Vulnerable

S K1065

H K76

D 863

C 875

S AJ987

H A9

D AK10

C 962

LHO is the dealer and after you open one Spade in fourth seat you reach the Spade game with no opposition bidding.

LHO starts off by leading the Ace, King and Queen of Clubs and then switches to a low Diamond to East’s Queen and your Ace — over to you.

The only question is who to finesse for the Spade Queen?

What do you know already?

West, who passed initially has already turned up with nine points in Clubs and probably the Jack of Diamonds (East would have played the Jack if he had QJ).

So the inference is that the Spade Queen is with East and that is where you should finesse. Not certain, but highly likely.

The full hand:

S K1065

H K76

D 863

C 875

S 3 S Q42

H J542 H Q1032

D J942 D Q75

C AKQ3 C J104

S AJ987

H A9

D AK10

C 962

Now this hand:

S K652

H 762

D 863

C KQ109

S AJ987

H AK

D K10

C AJ8

You open a Spade, LHO bids two Spades, a Michaels cue bid showing (usually) at least five-five in Hearts and a minor.

Partner bids a frisky four Spades and you get a bit carried away with your 20 points and drive to the Spade slam.

West leads the Heart Queen. Again who has the Spade Queen?

This is when a rule like “eight ever nine never” needs to be discarded.

West’s suits are probably Hearts and Diamonds, which leaves him with three black cards — his failure to lead a Club suggests that he does not have a singleton Club and thus marks him with either one or no Spades.

So you cash the King of Spades and when West follows you now finesse East for the Queen.

The full hand:

S K652

H 762

D 863

C KQ109

S 10 S Q42

H QJ1098 H 543

D AQJ94 D Q752

C 83 C J104

S AJ987

H AK

D K10

C AJ8

Again, no certainties on the lie of the cards but certainly a very strong inference that West was 1-5-5-2.

Train yourself to think this way and your declarer play will enter a new level.

Bridge results (week of June 11)

Monday afternoon

North/South

1. Peter Donnellan/Jean Johnson

2. Alan Douglas/Martha Ferguson

3. Janice Trott/Heather Woolf

East/West

1. Magda Farag/Sheena Rayner

2. Tony Saunders/Dorry Lusher

3. Edward Betteto/Charles Hall

Monday evening

1. Diana Diel/Patricia Siddle

2. Peter Donnellan/Lynanne Bolton

3. Alan Douglas/Jane Smith

Tuesday evening

North/South

1. John Luebkemann/Willi Christiensen

2. Margaret Kirk/Marion Ezedinma

3. Gina Graham/Felicity Lunn

East/West

1. Mark Stevens/Malcolm Moseley

2. Janette Musson/Carl Musson

3. Sheen Trott/Amanda Outerbridge

Wednesday morning

North/South

1. Tony Saunders/Edward Betteto

2. Richard Gray/Wendy Gray

3. Jean Johnson/Dorry Lusher

East/West

1. Gertrude Barker/Jane Smith

2. John Burville/Molly Taussig

3. Margaret Way/Patricia Siddle

Thursday evening

1. Edward Betteto/Elizabeth McKee

2. David Sykes/Fabian Hupe

3. Richard Gray/Wendy Gray

Friday afternoon

North/South

1. Stephanie Kyme/Jean Johnson

2. Louise Rodger/Patricia Siddle

3. Molly Taussig/Margaret Way

East/West

1. Peter Donnellan/Jane Smith

2. Magda Farag/Joseph Wakefield

3. Patricia Colmet/Caroline Svensen

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Published Jun 23, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 22, 2018 at 7:22 pm)

Take your declarer play to new level

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