A safety play in teams that presents a challenge

  • Fig 1

    Fig 1


Bridge results

Saturday

N/S

1, Claude Guay & Sharon Shanahan

2, William & Linda Pollett

3, Judy King & Martha Ferguson

E/W

1, David Sykes & Alan Douglas

2, Richard & Wendy Gray

3, Patricia Colmet & Heather Woolf

Monday

N/S

1, Lynanne Bolton & Rosie Smith

2, Francisco Estruch & Nick Kempe

3, Margie Way & Charles Hall

E/W

1, Jane Smith & Gertie Barker

2, Linda & William Pollett

3, David Pickering & Sancia Garrison

Wednesday

N/S

1, Linda & William Pollett

2, Stephanie Kyme & Margie Way

3, Francisco Estruch & Nick Kempe

E/W

1, Ed Betteto & Alan Douglas

2, Tracy & Des Nash

3, Patricia Colmet & Heather Woolf

I hope this finds you all well during this difficult time — all of this makes you appreciate what others went through during long separations from friends and family, particularly before we had TV, Whatsapp, e-mail, Zoom and all the rest of it that makes it somewhat bearable. Stay safe, follow the rules and hopefully we will soon be in a place where we look back on this as a surreal and unprecedented period in our lives.

Through this all, I’m glad to say that online bridge is alive and well in Bermuda, due mainly to the Herculean efforts of Peter Donnellan and Bill Pollett.

Here is an update from Peter that I received on Thursday:

“We have held trial online club games on Friday last week and Monday and Wednesday this week — results are on the club website under the results tab.

“We have another game [yesterday] and a trial 299er game Saturday afternoon. The BBO/ACBL club solution is still evolving (no Howells or Teams at the moment), but is a pretty good product and easy to set up and use. It certainly gives us plenty to keep going, and we are indebted to the ACBL and BBO for getting it out so quickly.

“I’ll be sending out a club e-mail shortly to announce a regular Club schedule starting Monday, and here it is for your readers:

Monday 2.20 pm (open)

Tuesday 7.20 pm (<150mp)

Wednesday 2.20 pm (open)

Thursday 7.20 pm (open)

Friday 2.20 pm (open)

Saturday 2.20 pm (<300 MPs)

“We plan to see how that goes — hopefully it will keep everyone happy!”

So there you are — look at the previous e-mails from Peter, and previous columns, to learn how to sign up.

Safety plays in bridge are a very important part of declarer play — quite often they apply more in Teams matches, where making the contract is all important, as opposed to Pairs, where every single trick counts, but they are an essential tool in either format.

This week’s deal came up in a Teams match and contains a safety play I have promoted many times in this column (Fig 1).

Both pairs did well to reach the slam after somewhat convoluted auctions, neither of which will add any value here. I think a good auction would be:

South — 1 Hearts?

North 2 Clubs? — Game forcing

South 2? Hearts — Showing 6+ Hearts

North 4 Hearts???- I’ve had enough and I’ve bid my hand

South 5 Diamonds — Slam try — Showing Diamond ace and by inference denying the Club ace. Aggressive!

North — 5 Spades? Cue bid

South 6? Hearts

The opening lead was the same at both tables, the ten of Spades. The first declarer took this in dummy with the king and played a trump to the queen, which lost to the singleton king. Although the Diamond finesse succeeded, declarer had to concede another trump to East and so finished down one.

At the other table, declarer also took the opening lead with the king of Spades, but instead of playing a trump at trick two, he played a Diamond to the queen. When this held declarer could now afford to lose a trump trick and still make his contract, thus giving him the luxury of a safety play.

So, at trick three, he cashed the ace of trumps, felling West’s bare king, and declarer now lost just a trump trick to East, making his contract. If the Heart ace brought only low cards from the opponents declarer would cross to dummy and lead a low Heart towards the queen, and if the King is with RHO he is safe.

If the queen of Diamonds had lost to the king, declarer would have had to rely on trumps being 2-2 with the king onside.

How would one play this at Pairs? Frankly, in this case I would still go for the safety play after the Diamond holds — this is such an aggressive slam (25 working HCP) that making it would produce a huge score which I wouldn’t want to give away.

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Published Apr 18, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Apr 17, 2020 at 6:31 pm)

A safety play in teams that presents a challenge

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