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Plan, think clearly and count your tricks

The WBF 2016 Worldwide Bridge event is scheduled over this weekend, with the first game being held last night and the second being held today.

The event is match-pointed locally and then worldwide and I will bring you the results next week.

Other than that there is not a lot happening down at the Bermuda Bridge Club. We did, however, have a top-class player visit last week - Debbie Drury, who has in excess of 10,000 masterpoints!

Her son David, who is part of my golf group, knew that I was out on the course so arranged for our president, John Burville, to partner Debbie and they duly recorded a 60 per cent game to win on Friday afternoon, so everyone concerned was happy.

This week’s hand is one I am sure Debbie would get right and the key to the hand is planning, thinking clearly and counting your tricks.

Dealer North E/W Vulnerable, Duplicate pairs


S 95

H 9

D KJ109852



S 7642

H 7532

D A5

C K75



H KQJ108

D Q6



S QJ1083

H A64

D 73

C 1083


As South was gazing at this wonderful hand and wondering what to do, he heard partner open a preemptive 3 diamonds in first seat, and East passed.

This is a horrible bidding situation - if partner had AKxxxxx of diamonds, 6NT will be a great spot. If partner is missing the diamond ace even 3NT may be in danger.

What would I do on this hand? Since I like my preempts opposite an unpassed partner to be very solid, I might actually look for the small slam by bidding 4NT, Roman Key card Blackwood in diamonds and if partner shows me two key cards I will bid 6NT.

If partner only shows one I will have no choice but to settle in 5 diamonds, which will probably be a horrible score but it is the price I’d pay for that little bit of greed.

Before I get on to the hand, let me discuss bidding over preempts when you have a good hand and a good suit opposite a preempt.

Any new suit by you is 100 per cent forcing and the way I play it is that partner has three choices - bid 3NT with no support, support your suit by raising it, or support your suit by cue bidding any Ace (presumably in the preempt suit) or a void in another suit. Partner is not allowed to bid past 3NT unless he has support in your suit.

Now back to the hand. At the table South bid 3NT after the preempt and West led the spade queen.

The contract is clearly in danger as one has to assume that the opponents will hold up the diamond ace, so the wooden play of the queen of diamonds followed by another will lead to a one-trick defeat at least, as the opponents will get two aces and three or four spade tricks, three on this hand.

The diamond ace may be a singleton, so it is worth a try but if it isn’t Declarer has to be in the right hand when the first diamond trick holds, so the key play at trick two is a low diamond to the jack (or the queen overtaken with the ace).

Now when this holds, Declarer is in dummy to take the club finesse, which happens to work.

When the club holds Declarer now gives the opponents the ace of hearts and makes the hand with two spades, four hearts, a diamond and two clubs.

So, in summary, queen and another diamond is a pointless play, abandoning diamonds after the queen holds and giving up the heart is not quite as pointless but is condemning yourself to go down on a contract that can make, so not recommended.

You have to assume that some things may lie right for you and play the hand to make if there is any legitimate chance.

n A sad postscript to the column is the news just received of the passing of Ann Proctor, a long-time member of the bridge club.

Ann was a wonderful lady, an avid bridge player on Monday afternoons and a hugely talented artist, and many of us have some of her work as we gave them as prizes at prior Regionals.

She will be missed by all who were fortunate to know her and our thoughts are with her family at this time.

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