Page 0028

28 English Bridge December 2016 www.ebu.co.uk

T

he last few articles have considered odds and

percentage plays. By now you should know

the right way to play the following hand in

4™ on the ´K lead:

Now, what difference does that make?

Actually, quite a lot. There has now been a

significant change in the odds. You may assume that

West has seven spades for his nuisance bid, leaving

East with just two. So there are six unknown cards

in the West hand and eleven unknown cards in the

East hand.

We call these unknown cards empty spaces. Now,

as declarer in 4™, you take the ´K with the ace, cash

the ™K first (it's possible that West has no hearts so

East's ™Q 7 5 2 can be picked up with a finesse) and,

if East-West do both follow, play a low heart.

Assume East follows with the last low heart. At this

stage eight of West's cards (seven spades and a low

heart) are known and only four of East's (two

spades and two hearts). There are therefore only five

empty spaces in the West hand and nine in the East

hand. The odds are now as good as 9-5 in your

favour (can you see where these odds come from?)

that the ™Q is with East so you should play the ™J

hoping and expecting West to discard.

Note that the finesse is nearly 2-1 on so is a much

better play than trying for the drop. Of course, 2-1

on does not represent certainty and sometimes West

will have started life with ™Q-x. C'est la vie. One

down. Avoid dummy's icy stare, put the next board

on the table, get on with the next deal:

Empty Spaces

by Paul Bowyer

Basic Cardplay

Basic Cardplay

click

link

Hand 1. South plays 4™

West leads ´K

´ J 2

™ K J 8 4

t K Q 8 3

® Q 10 7

´ A 5

™ A 10 9 6 3

t A J 9 6

® 5 3

N

W E

S

Hand 2. South plays 3NT

West leads ´K

´ 8 7 5

™ Q 10

t A K J 10

® A J 9 5

´ A 9 6

™ K 9

t Q 7 2

® K 10 8 3 2

N

W E

S

You can see that you have to lose two clubs and a

spade so the whole hand revolves around not losing

a trump. You take the ´A, therefore, cash a top

trump (it really doesn't matter which) and then play

another heart.

With no other indication, you would cash the

other top heart honour, hoping that the queen fell.

You would succeed whenever the hearts split 2-2 or

the queen fell singleton. You would also succeed if

you discovered a 4-0 heart split and your play of the

ace (or king) revealed a finesse position. It would be

a lucky guess which honour to play first, of course.

However, I neglected to tell you the bidding on

the last hand. It may be because there wasn't any, at

least by East-West, in which case you may as well

play the odds and play off the top hearts. Suppose,

though, that the bidding had been as follows:

South West North East

1™ 3´ 4™ All Pass

Index

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