Bridge with Bland

Bridge with Bland: 4.10.19

The spring nationals bridge championships were held in Memphis this year. Many St. Louisans were in attendance, and some acquitted themselves very well. At the tournament, difficult opening leads, signaling and carding made good defense challenging. Test your defensive skills with this month’s hand.

vul: East/West
dealer: East

the bidding
E: 1 ♣
S: 1 ♠
W: 1 NT
N: Pass
E: 3 NT
S: Pass
W: Pass
N: Pass

opening lead: ♠ 8

♠ 8 6
♥ K Q 9 6
♦ 9 7 6 5 4 2
♣ 9

♠ 5 4
♥ 8 2
♦ A K 10
♣ A K J 10 6 2

♠ A Q J 10 7
♥ A 7 1
♦ 8
♣ 8 7 5 2

♠ K 9 3 2
♥ J 10 5 4
♦ Q J 3
♣ Q 4

the play
1. Bidding commentary: West has a choice of responses after one ♣ by East, one ♠ by South. West?

a. A negative double brings ♥s into play. However, if partner bids two ♣s, West isn’t good enough to bid again.

b. One No Trump better describes West’s hand. One No Trump shows eight to 10 high card points with good ♠ stops. East then can make an easy raise to three No Trump with a ‘no trump’ ♣ suit (a suit that is likely to run).

2. Lead commentary: Standard lead is high/low from a doubleton. With the 862 or 8632, North leads the 2 if he has not supported the suit, the 8 if he has supported the suit. The lead of a high spot card in an unsupported suit shows shortness. The lead of a low spot card in a supported suit shows an honor.

3. The outcome of this month’s hand is decided early on. North leads the ♠ 8 and South wins the Ace. South can see continuing ♠s will give West their contract: one ♠, two ♦s and six ♣s equals nine tricks.

4. South shifts to the 3 of ♥s, Jack from West, North the Queen.

5. North knows South led from the Ace because a low card (the 3) was led. (Also, if West held the Ace, he would win and cash his game-going tricks.)

6. North plays the ♥ 6 back, and South wins their Ace. South plays the ♥ 7 to West’s 10 and North’s King.

7. North cashes the ♥ 9. Five tricks for the defense, one ♠ and four ♥s.

note: Staying with the hand and thinking through the bidding and play make defense much easier.

tip of the day
My partner and I have had trouble with opening leads, especially against No Trump. Are there any rules of thumb that we can fall back on?
I prefer standard leads and signals. Some good partnerships play Coded Nines and Tens (‘Jack denies, 10 implies’ treatment). The lead of a Jack denies a higher honor and the lead of a 10 or 9 shows no higher honor or two higher honors.

big games & scores 

March 2
Susan Shogren/Rick Armstrong
St. Louis Bridge Center

March 5
Anne Benson/Marvin King
St. Louis Bridge Center

March 9
Debbie Romero/En Xie
St. Louis Bridge Center

March 11
Judy Larson/Steve Roberge
St. Louis Bridge Center

March 15
Nancy Keefer/Mark Ehret
Bridge Haven