English Bridge October 2018 www.ebu.co.uk
his article continues merrily on its way on
the theme of how to handle common suit
combinations. Consider the layout of the
diamond suit here. How would (or should) you
Suit combinations - Part 5
t J 4 2
t A K 9 6 3
South plays in
3NT. West leads
´ A 9 7 5
™ Q 7
t J 4 2
® A 7 6 3
´ K 8 3
™ A 5
t A K 9 6 3
® 10 5 2
You suspect the question contains a trap? Quite
right! All suit combinations need to be considered
in the context of a full deal. To answer correctly you
need know the contract and, therefore, how many
tricks are needed in the suit.
So, let's put this suit combination into a workaday
3NT. West leads a low heart - how should you play?
and, assuming the queen hasn't fallen from West,
continue with the king.
You will make your contract whenever either
opponent started with tQx and also on the rare
occasion when West has the singleton queen (in that
event you should play the second diamond to the
jack and finesse against East's remaining t10x).
Now, suppose that the ™Q holds the first trick.
How does that alter your Count and Plan?
In this case you have five top tricks, so only need
four diamond tricks. Playing off the tAK and
another would be fine on any 3-2 break (and would
gain an overtrick if a defender held tQx) but would
cost you the contract if diamonds split 4-1 with
either East or West held tQ10xx.
So, the key question is whether you are able to
guarantee four diamond tricks against any adverse
distribution. Can you?
The answer is that a 5-0 diamond split would
thwart you, but you can cope with any 4-1 split. To
ensure your contract you must cash a top diamond
and, after both opponents have followed suit, then
lead a low diamond towards the jack on table.
Nothing can beat you now. If West has four
diamonds then he can either take his queen or allow
you to make the jack. If East has four diamonds you
play dummy's jack and then have a marked finesse
against East's remaining t10x. The full deal follows:
There is little option at trick one - you have to
close your eyes and call for dummy's ™Q. Let's
assume that East is mean enough to produce the
king on that. What's your Count and Plan in that
You have four top tricks outside of the diamond
suit (to wit: two spades, one heart, and one club) To
make 3NT you need to bring in five diamond tricks
- and pronto. To that end you must cash the tA
Unfortunately it firstname.lastname@example.org that
emails sent from btinternet accounts to
email@example.com have failed to come through to
me recently, and possibly for a long time. The
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hear from more of you soon. Lou Hobhouse
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