October 2019 English Bridge
This doesn't look hopeful. We have an 11 count and
partner has declined to bid. So what is best?
(a) ´5: 10 marks. This plays partner for the ´10 or
´Q plus an entry or, less likely, the ´K with
declarer having, say, the ´Q10x. I think it is just
more likely than a heart working but it is very
close, and thus reflected in the marking. Somewhat
amusingly at the table partner did have the ´10
but the diamonds were KJ10xx opposite Axxx so
declarer simply safety played by taking the
diamond finesse into your hand and you could not
continue spades to advantage. Ah well!
(b) ™Q: 9 marks. No one seems interested in hearts
so partner may well have a few. Essentially this
plays partner for the ™K and an entry, and so is
very close to the same required as a spade lead.
(c) t4: 1 mark. Trying for a ruff are you?
(d) ®3: 3 marks. Frankly, I cannot see that this is
much better. Why are you leading dummy's
second suit when it looks like you desperately
need to set up your own suits? Sometimes leading
dummy's second suit is a very good idea, but
usually when it looks like the opposition have no
fit (auctions such as 1™ - 1´, 2® - 2NT, 3NT for
example). This is not that time.
Pairs Bonus: ™Q - 5 marks. I lean to the ™Q at
Pairs. If it is about overtricks, which is likely, then
the ™Q is less likely to give away a vital trick than
a spade (perhaps leading round into KQ10).
The best known advantage of transfers has
happened - we are leading round into a 2NT
opener, with a pretty unattractive selection. What is
(a) ´A: 1 mark. This more or less plays partner for a
singleton or the king, and why should either of
those be the case?
(b) ™10: 6 marks. Unlikely to do much harm, but
what good is it going to do? It could certainly be
right if the hand is about being passive and just not
giving tricks away, but with everything breaking, it
seems as if we need to get at tricks.
(c) t10: 9 marks. It seems to me that you need to
lead a minor to try and set up some tricks. Why
do I give this one mark fewer than the ®10?
Simply because just occasionally partner may
have doubled 3t on good diamonds, so it is
fractionally less likely that diamonds are the right
(d) ®10: 10 marks. For the reason above. Plus it
worked �. Declarer had ®AQxx opposite ®Jxx
in hand and the club lead set up a ruff for the
setting trick (partner had the ™A).
Pairs Bonus: ®10 or ™10 - 5 marks. I would lead
the same I suppose, but I think it is very, very
close between that and the passive ™10. I have no
complaints with anyone who leads that. r
Choose from: (a) ´A; (b) ™10; (c) t10; (d) ®10.
´ A 9 7 6 4 3
™ 10 9 5
t 10 2
® 10 5
South West North East
2NT Pass 3t1 Pass
3™ Pass 4™ All Pass
1 Transfer to hearts
A slightly curious auction in that North seems to
have six hearts but passed as dealer. N/S were
vulnerable on the hand, so it is likely North did not
have a suit good enough to open 2™.
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