In these times of lockdown life, try bridge online
I hope this finds you all well and coping during this crisis and all that comes with it — I hope that those of you who are capable are playing as much as possible in the online games organised by Peter Donnellan and Bill Pollett — the club and the members owe them a huge thank you for stepping in and taking on that task, though knowing them both and their love for the game I'm sure it is a labour of love.
For those of you who find it all a bit tough online, give it a try — it is worth persevering and lockdown or no lockdown playing bridge online can be a lot of fun.
Now to the hand, which is one of those that players will rarely ever get right at the table, but may well get right when they see it in a newspaper because … they might actually think about their play — take a good look at it, as it is a play with some excitement.
East Dealer — TEAMS
East opened three Hearts and after South passed West raised to four Hearts — North made a takeout double and South's five Diamond bid bought the contract. West lead a Heart to East's King and East returned the Spade 10 — over to you and remember, this is teams and all you want to do is find the best play to ensure your contract, overtricks do not matter. Try it before reading on.
At the table, South won the Spade and played a low Diamond to the Ace — down one — East showed out and now the contract slid to defeat.
The full hand:
Now do you see the right play. No? Try again … lead the 3 of Diamonds and when West plays the 2 you insert the 5! This will usually lose to the 9, 10, or Queen on your right, but at least then you know the suit is breaking no worse than 3-1 and your contract is assured as the Diamonds are now coming in. On the actual hand, the 5 holds the trick and the contract makes!
Notice that the correct play from West is the 2 of Diamonds — if he plays the 9, you can now always keep your Diamond losers to one by coming back to hand and playing the Jack and now West can never get two tricks. Would you have got it at the table? Probably not, but you would have many doing the same as you.
Next question, how would you play five Diamonds if it was pairs and not teams and overtricks were important? Well, I think you play Ace and go down one. The odds favour the Diamonds breaking or a singleton Queen in one hand so I think that is the right play at pairs, but not at teams, where making the contract is all that counts.
Not easy at the table, but that is what separates the experts from the rest, as they will always get these right!