Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Trick 1 Decisions - Part 5

If you enjoyed Part 1; Part 2; Part 3 and Part 4 of this test, lets go ahead with more hands. But remember! After you see the dummy, before to run the trick to your hand...

  • Count your tricks and your losers.
  • Plan your play.
  • Plan your entries.
  • Ask your opponents about their leads and carding system.
And only then start to play.

Try to make your decision before you look at the solution. No peeking!
The following hands are your test. Give yourself 10 point for each time you made the contract, and 0 for making the wrong decision. Be honest! Did you score well?

For the purpose of this test we'll assume, about the leads:
  • 4th best against NT always promises an honor, denies sequence (3cards sequence, full or broken vs NT, and 2 card sequence vs trump).
  • Low lead in Partner's suit promises honor.
  • 2nd best from a suit without honor.
  • 10 and 9 leads are either top of nothing (1098x, 987x) or 2 higher (KJ10xx, Q109xx)

Start the test now!
  1. Against 6♠ West leads the 8. What do you do?

  2. The Heart lead suggests that the K is with East. Your best chance for a 12th trick is to promote the 5th club. However, for that, you need 3 entries, in case clubs are 4-2. So... Play LOW at trick 1, using the 9 in hand to force East win the trick. East wins with the 10 but can't afford to return a Heart (else you score the Q) so he plays back a Diamond. Win with the A. Play ♠A, ♣AK, club ruff, spade to ♠J and a 4th club ruff. Pull the remaining trumps, and use the A as entry to play the 5th club, throwing the Diamond loser from hand.

    If you try the Q at trick 1, East will get the K, return a Heart and destroy your entry to the 5th club.

  3. You play 4 and West leads the ♠7 (East was a passed hand and then overcalled 2♠). What do you do?

  4. Win the 1st trick with the ♠K! Why? Because if you run it automatically to your ♠A, play ♣AK, ruff club and play Heart to the J – West can hold up. You continue with the Q but now West wins with the A, plays his 2nd spade and now you are locked in dummy with the ♠K. You try Diamond, but East wins, continues spade, and West's 10 is promoted (no use to throw a Diamond instead of ruffing since East will continue with another Spade.)

    So, win the ♠K at trick 1, play ♣AK, ruff club and continue with a Heart. Holding up will not save West now, as you have the ♠A to enter your hand and pull out his 10.

  5. You play 7♠. West bid 2♠ (Michaels, showing + minor) and East bid 4NT (= asks West to bid his minor at the 5th level). West leads the K. What do you do?

  6. Don't blow this! If you automatically throw a Heart loser, you will not be able to avoid losing a club, no matter how you try to tackle this suit. Instead, throw a club from hand! Pull trumps, play ♣AKQ, ruff a 4th club in hand, go back to dummy with the A (or trump) and throw your Heart loser on the 5th club. 100% success!

  7. You play 3NT. West leads the ♠7 (4th best). Which card do you play from dummy? East wins the ♠A and continues with another Spade. What do you do?

  8. You have 6 top tricks. To make 3 more, you need the Diamond finesse to work, and if East has Kxxx, you would need to finesse 3 times. For that – you need 3 entries. So, try the ♠10 at trick 1 in case W has ♠AQ. When East takes the ♠A (which means the ♠Q is surely with West) drop your ♠K!! That move will create your 3rd entry via the ♠J. If you play low on the ♠A, East will continue with spade. If you play low again – West wins, plays a 3rd spade and your ♠K wins in hand leaving you without any more entries for the for 3rd Diamond finesse.

  9. South plays 3NT doubled. What do you lead?

  10. Note! Partner's double is a lead directing, asking you to lead the suit bid by dummy. If you ignore it and lead a Diamond – declarer will win in hand and play on clubs, scoring 9 tricks (4 Clubs, 2 Diamonds, 3 Hearts).

    However, if you lead a spade, as Partner asked, Partner will win trick 1 cheap and play back a Diamond. You win the trick cheap over declarer's card and play another Spade to Partner's hand. A 2nd Diamond will be played from Partner's hand and you take declarer's Q with your K and play back a 3rd Spade. Partner wins again, cashes his 4th spade and plays a 3rd Diamond to declarer's A. When declarer plays on clubs now - defense wins the ♣A and cashes 2 more Diamonds: 5 down!! (4 Diamonds, 4 Spades and 1 Club for defense). What a swing! Instead of -600 you get +1400!

  11. South plays 4♠. Partner leads the 10 and declarer plays the K from dummy. What do you do?

  12. Duck (encourage with the 7)! Partner's lead is clearly from a doubleton (10x). Why can't it be a singleton? Because South opened 1♠ and rebid 2NT = he has NO 4 carder Hearts. If Partner had a singleton Heart then declarer would have rebid 2. Partner has around 7 points. You need to hope he has a trick in trumps and a Diamond trick. Still, you need another trick to set, which needs to be a Heart ruff. Since the A is your only entry to hand, you must duck at trick 1. When Partner gets the hand with his ♠A, he plays his 2nd Heart to your A and you let him ruff a Heart. The K will be the setting trick.

  13. Against 3NT West leads the ♠5. What do you do?

  14. Partner's lead is 4th best of his long suit. That means he has an honor (the ♠J).

    How many Spades does he have? Five. Why? Because declarer's 2 bid denies a 4 card major. So Partner must have ♠Jxx5x.

    If declarer plays a low spade at trick 1 – Take it with the ♠Q and continue with the ♠K at trick 2 (!) to save your ♠2 as entry to Partner's ♠J. When you get the hand with the ♣K, you play your 3rd spade and defense gets 4 spade tricks and the ♣K.

    What if declarer plays the ♠A at trick 1? Then you must unblock the ♠K (!) to keep the real important card in hand: the ♠2. When you get the hand with the ♣K, you continue with ♠Q and the ♠2 to Partner's ♠J and his remaining spades.

  15. Against 4 Partner leads the ♠K. What do you do?

  16. You can easily count P to have 5 points (15 for declarer, 11 in dummy and you have 9 = 35 together) which are the ♠KQ. So, 3 sure tricks for defense: 2 in spades and 1 in Heart. The setting trick must be a Diamond ruff, but you need to show Partner the way: Overtake with the ♠A at trick 1 and play your singleton Diamond. When you win the A later, play a Spade to Partner's marked ♠Q and he will let you ruff Diamond for 1 down.

  17. You play 4 and West, who bid 2 Michaels (showing 5 Spades + 5 cards in a minor), lead the ♣K. What do you do?

  18. Play low from dummy! Why? To avoid East later on (the dangerous hand). If you take with the ♣A at trick 1, pull trumps and try to develop Diamonds – East will win the 3rd Diamond, switch to the ♠Q and defense gets 3 Spades and 1 Diamond.

    But if you let West hold the 1st trick, your ♠K will protect you from a spade continuation. You win whatever West continues, pull out AQ, play AK, throw your 3rd Diamond from hand on the ♣A. Ruff a 3rd Diamond, go back to dummy with the K, and throw 2 spade losers on the 2 remaining Diamonds = Making 11 tricks!

  19. You play 3NT and West leads the 6. What do you do?

  20. If you win the trick in dummy or win in hand cheap with the J (East plays low at trick 1) – You will crash! When you try to develop clubs – West holds up, winning the ♣A on the 2nd round, and then switches to Diamond the next trick. You try the J but East covers with the Q. So you win in hand with the K and play spade to the ♠K, trying to enter dummy. But East takes the ♠A (if you try to run your ♠10 – East will play low, waiting with his ♠A to your ♠K) and returns a Heart. You can try to play low – But West will win his K, play a 3rd Heart and defense will get 3 Hearts, 2 Spades, 1 Club and a Diamond trick = 3 down!

    So, play safe. Make sure you keep an entry to the dummy by winning trick 1 with the A. Play your Clubs now. West will hold up once, get the ♣A next and play Diamond but you win the K and play a low Heart to the 10. West must win this trick with his K (or your 10 makes the trick), but now you have a sure Heart entry to dummy to your remaining long Clubs.

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