February 2020 English Bridge
You know a lot about the hand (dummy is 4·3·1·5
or 4·3·0·6) and declarer presumably has five hearts
and the diamond ace. It is also certain that partner
has 'his usual rubber bridge hand'. That should
make it clear what to lead.
(a) ´Q: 4 marks. Not likely to achieve that much,
and may not help at all if dummy comes down
with ´AK10x (as it did).
(b) ™A/K: 10 marks. You know dummy is short in
diamonds and you know you have all the values.
This is clear to cut down dummy's ruffs. ™AK
followed by the tK was the only way to beat the
(c) tK: 7 marks. Seductive but wrong I think for
the reasons given above.
(d) ®Q: 1 mark. I cannot see any upside to this at
all. The opponents (unless they have gone
completely nuts) will have both the ace and king
of clubs, so even if you could set up partner's jack,
you cannot ever get to it.
Pairs Bonus: ™A/K: 5 marks. Letting through 4™
doubled will score you precisely 0 matchpoints,
so definitely a top heart in Pairs as well.
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WINNERS:
Master: Rupert Timpson Open: Danny Roth
Chadlington, Oxon Chigwell, Essex
in playing in them, but is it likely that partner will
have enough to be able set up the spades, and then
get in to cash them?
(b) ™A/K: 5 marks. 'To look at the table' as they say.
Well yes, but you already know it is declarer with
the heart stop (unless they have taken a real punt),
and this runs the serious danger of isolating your
(c) ™10: 10 marks. Call me boring, but this is what
I would lead, because it is the simplest way to beat
the contract. This relies on partner having a
doubleton heart and an entry (and let's face it if
partner does not have an entry, then you are not
beating this). Yes, it will give declarer a trick if
partner doesn't have an entry or has a singleton
heart, and if partner does have an entry it will
isolate your hearts, but in that scenario you may
well be unable to beat the hand. And if you could,
you would probably have to lead this:
(d) t3: 7 marks. This basically plays partner for a
singleton or void heart, and enough diamonds
and entries to get in and cash the suit (along with
our ™AK). It is certainly a plausible line of
defence - I just think it needs more from partner
than the ™10 lead.
Pairs Bonus: ™10: 5 marks. Again, I would lead the
same thing at Pairs. You may say that this is too
aggressive and may isolate my hand and I never
get at my heart tricks. I think that is highly
unlikely. Declarer will need a long suit in dummy
to chuck away their remaining hearts. Also, I
think that is what most of the field will lead, and
if in doubt you may as well follow the herd as that
way at least you don't get a terrible score. This
time the ™10 was very right as partner had a
doubleton heart and the ®A so that was two off.
My correspondent tells me the Bridgemate was
littered with 3NT making after a top heart lead.r
Choose from: (a) ´5; (b) ™A/K; (c) ™10; (d) t3.
´ 5 2
™ A K 10 9 7 2
t Q 6 5 3
South West North East
1® 1™ 2® Pass
3NT All Pass
(a) ´5: 3 marks. OK, partner probably has a few of
them since the opposition have shown no interest