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Good bidders know tens add strength to a hand

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The non-Life Master Pairs is scheduled to take place at the Bridge Club today, but at the time of writing this column the event is in doubt as there are only six pairs signed up – puzzling, as the majority of Bridge Club members fall into this category.

Hopefully the event will gain further support and, if so, I will bring you the results next week. Hard to explain the low turnout – one possible explanation may be that since this category contains more of the younger age group at the club, those players find it more difficult to allocate a weekend day than a weekday?

Whatever it is, tournament director Peter Donnellan always has his finger on the pulse and will get it sorted.

Bridge bidding is based on “high card points”, where Aces=4, Kings=3, Queens=2 and Jacks=1. No points are awarded to tens, but good bidders know that tens add a lot of strength to hand, and quite often in “stop-or-go” decisions, will take a more aggressive view of a hand that contains a couple of tens.

With all of that said, take a look at today’s hand in Figure 1.

Figure 1

South opened the hand 1NT (15-17), North bid two clubs (Stayman, looking for a heart fit) and when South bid 2 spades, North concluded the auction by bidding 6NT.

This deal was from a team game, and both Souths became declarer at 6NT after identical auctions and leads (the ten of clubs). At the first table, declarer took the opening lead in hand with the Jack and ran the nine of diamonds to East’s Queen. East exited with his remaining club.

Declarer took this on table with the Ace then cashed the Ace, King and Queen of both majors. Next, he cashed his club winners, discarding the ten of diamonds from table, reducing everyone to two cards.

As East kept King and a low diamond, the contract failed when the second diamond finesse lost. Unlucky that both diamonds were offside, but as declarer at the other table would show there was a better play.

At the other table, declarer counted 11 top tricks. The contract seemed to depend on making an extra trick in a red suit, most likely in diamonds from taking two finesses there. However, declarer came up with a foolproof plan by making use of dummy’s major-suit tens – the plan that would always make 12 tricks as long as he could extract all of East’s clubs.

So, declarer took the opening club lead with the Ace and then cashed the King and Queen of clubs in hand. When East discarded a heart on the third club, declarer then led the nine of diamonds and ran it to East’s Queen.

This was now the position (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

East was now end-played. A major-suit return would allow declarer to score the ten in that suit and claim 12 tricks: seven in the majors and five in the minors. East could see that a diamond exit was just as hopeless, so he conceded the contract.

Really good thinking by declarer – remember those tens!

David Ezekiel can be reached on davidezekiel999@gmail.com


Friday, February 10


1. Elysa Burland – Magda Farag

2. Peter Donnellan – John Burville

3. John Rayner – Joe Wakefield


1. Gertie Barker – Martha Ferguson

2. Aida Bostelmann – Heather Woolf

3. Molly Taussig – Ed Betteto

Monday, February 13

1. Lynanne Bolton – Peter Donnellan

2/3.Wendy Gray – Julia Patton

2/3.Rachael Gosling – Martha Ferguson

Tuesday, February 14

1. Ben Stone – James Fielding

2. Tracey Pitt – Malcolm Moseley

3. Sarah Bowers – Stuart Clare

Wednesday, February 15

1. Sheena Rayner – Magda Farag

2. Gertie Barker – Jane Smith

3. Jill Lark – Richard Lark

Thursday, February 16

1. Sharon Shanahan – Claude Guay

2. Elizabeth McKee – Linda Pollett

3. Stephanie Kyme – Charles Hall

Non-Bridge Club Online Results for Bridge Club Members

February 12: Marge Way and Diana Diel – 4th out of 192 pairs

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Published February 18, 2023 at 7:49 am (Updated February 18, 2023 at 7:49 am)

Good bidders know tens add strength to a hand

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