perjantai 8. joulukuuta 2017

How technically good is your declarer play?

Two technically interesting hands were spotted by our teammate Melih Özdil. With a good technique bridge players are able to succeed more frequently to make their contracts... What is your plan in this everyday looking 3NT?

After a strong NT and a transfer sequence you end up playing 3NT. What's your plan when west leads ♦3 (3rd/5th)?

You have to start planning which tricks you are going to make already at trick 1. You may plan to make 4♠ + 3♡+ 2♢ and 1♣ for your contract. However, you risk losing 3♦, 1♥ and 1♠ before you make 9 tricks. A better chance is to plan on playing clubs: to make the contract you need either 5♠ (if the suit is 3-3 or ♠JT doubleton)+2♦ and 2♣ or 3♠ + 2♦ and 4♣ tricks. Unfortunately, the entries are quite hard to handle so you must plan the play carefully.

First, you start playing ♣ from dummy to make the needed finesse. You cannot use your ♠ to get to dummy as the entries are needed either for dummys spades or your own clubs. So you should start the play by inserting ♦J hoping to win the trick in the dummy. Success - as east follows ♦4 (high-low even). Next you follow your plan by playing ♣T to west's K. West continues with ♦2, now what?

If ♦ splits 4-4, you can easily make your contract by conceding ♥A to the opponents, but there is a risk diamonds are splitting 6-2 (or west made a clever lead). You cannot still be certain of your contract as ♣ and ♠ may not  be splitting. By carefully looking the spot cards in ♣ you may notice that you have an extra chance of west having ♣K8 doubleton. You may pin ♣8 by playing ♣9 and east cannot do anything. To do that, you have to be in dummy. However, you still cannot use your ♠ entries as the entries are needed later. The only chance is to make an inspirational play of ♦K to ensure you are in dummy to play clubs. It would be weird for east to duck the ♦A so the play is safer than it seems first. You are hoping a lay-out like the following:

Did you even consider the possibility of ♣K8 doubleton? Recognizing the small details is a key to a technically successful declarer play...

Try your dummy play in next hand:
What is your plan to make 2NT when west leads ♠Q (King would have been a strong lead so Q maybe from KQ)?

You could possible plan to make 2♠ + 1♥ + 3♦ + 1♣ for your contract. The problem is, however, that the opponents may have enough time to set up too much tricks for them before you can make the contract. Do you see any way to gain more time for you?

The inspirational play of ♠J at trick 1 seems to be the best plan! It will be very hard for west to read the position and he will probably continue with a small spade to your nine... Now you have gained an advantage for yourself as you have got two quick tricks in spades. Now you have a better chance to make your contract. The best play is to play ♦A +K and more diamonds. After that you need good card reading in the end position, but the contract is possible to make. The whole deal is:

Without making the ♠J play, the defense will not have hard time to defeat the contract.

Next time we all know these positions better. "Are we on our way to a technically superior declarer?" is a question that remains as a mystery still...

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