The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Monday, September 06, 2004

Two Black Kings

Sherry and I played at a regional bridge tournament in Santa Clara yesterday. Two hands from the evening session were classic examples of card play principles, featuring the black kings:

On board 19, unfavorable, second seat, I held

SK84 HA53 DJT95 CJ95

RHO passed, I passed, LHO bid 1S, RHO responded 1N, and LHO rebid 2D. RHO rebid 2H, which LHO pulled to 2N.

Everyone passed and I led a club. Here was the (very much understrength for 2N) dummy:

SQT632 HKQ DAK76 C76

Sherry won the CA and returned the C3. RHO ducked, playing the 4 and 2. I played a third club and RHO won the king. He pitched a spade from dummy.

Declarer played on hearts and I foolishly won the first round, hoping to block the suit. No such luck; declarer crossed to the ace of spades and found hearts 3-3. His hand was SA7 HJ8762 D432 CK42. (Please do not ask me to explain the spade pitch or the 2H bid.)

Let's say I duck both hearts (and that declarer makes the more sensible pitch of a diamond on the third club). He is left with nothing better to do than work on spades. A spade to his ace -- and I must play the king, a Deschapelles coup! This leaves partner with J9 behind dummy's QT, and declarer cannot establish the spades without allowing partner in to cash her clubs.

Board 35 is the same dealer and vulnerability as 19. Sherry opened 1N after three passes and I raised to 3N. Here was the dummy and her hand below it:

SK63 HAKT D843 CT652

SAQ87 H73 DQJ6 CAQ93

The DT was led to RHO's king, a diamond went back to the opening leader's ace, and a third round was played, RHO pitching a heart.

Suppose Sherry crosses to the SK and leads a club to the queen, which holds. (She actually led a heart, and LHO, after perhaps 10 seconds of thought, played the queen from HQJ6! But I will try to pretend that the defense is somewhat reasonable.)

Since the jack has not appeared, there is at least one club loser. You don't mind losing a club to RHO, but a club lost to LHO will set you. So cross to dummy's heart honor and lead a club. If RHO plays the king, duck it! And if he plays small, play ace and another. This is called "avoidance play."

Here is one more hand on which I did not play in a double-dummy correct fashion. Far from it:

On board 15 (favorable, second) I held

SAJ43 HQ9 DAJ42 C952

I opened 1D and Sherry bid 2C. I rebid 2N which she raised to 3N.

LHO led DT and here was the dummy:

ST98 HT3 DKQ8 CAK743

I was lucky to have avoided the heart lead, but I was still nowhere near nine tricks. I could duck a club and hope that they broke 3-2, but the opponents were unlikely to continue diamonds given that I had bid the suit and dummy had two honors. I decided to put the opponents off the heart suit by leading it myself!

So I won the diamond in dummy and led a heart to the 9. LHO won the HJ. I hoped he would switch to spades, which would give me three tricks. He continued diamonds; I won in dummy and led a small club. RHO won the queen -- and led a spade! I won the ace and clubs did break. Making 3N was a top board.



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