Remembering the Auction


Author: Michael Berkowitz
Date of publish: 05/17/2019
Level: Beginner to Intermediate

We all have our peccadilloes--our little quirks that those around us have no choice but to accept (or, you know, abandon us). One of mine is that as soon as I move from one room to another, I forget entirely any goings on in the other room.

This has led to some issues in my relationships. One time my fiancée  asked me to get her a glass of water from the kitchen. Twenty-five minutes later she found me playing bridge online on the couch.

One evening, I volunteered to get her a sweater from the bedroom. When I woke up the next morning, she wasn’t speaking to me. She says that, like a baby, I lack object permanence--once something isn’t in front of me it no longer exists.

What was I talking about?

Oh, right: at the bridge table, it can be very dangerous to forget the auction once the bidding cards have been put away.

 

West
 
North
(Partner)
East
 
South
(You)
     1♠ 1♠ 
 Pass 2♠   Pass  4♠
All Pass       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead:♠4

Dummy

♠ KQ104
♥ J6
♦ AJ53
♣ J87

 

Declarer

♠ AJ763
♥ KQ4
♦ 82
♣ K109

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Partner seems to have enough to cover our slight overbid (nice to play with good partners). We have one loser each in both hearts and diamonds and we have two potential club losers.

Does that mean we win, draw trump and take a club finesse?

The finesse for the queen is still a 50-50 proposition. We should look instead for a line where we can use the information we have.

When dummy comes down, the auction doesn't disappear. Our RHO still opened 1♠. We see that we have 25 HCP between our hands. With 12 points in the bidder's hand, the opening leader has 3 at most (probably--we know that opponents sometimes open a little lighter than expected); certainly that hand COULD have the queen of clubs, but it would be VERY unlikely to find the ace with west. We should play accordingly.

Win the first trick and draw trump (assuming only 2 or 3 rounds of trump). Now play a heart. The best defense is to win and switch to a club now. Do you still have to guess? NO! Play the king. When this wins, you can play your good hearts to pitch your second club loser.

Full hand:

  ♠ KQ104
♥ J6
♦ AJ53
♣ J87
 
♠ 92
♥ 10752
♦ 964
♣ Q653
  ♠ 85
♥ A983
♦ KQ108
♣ A42
  ♠ AJ763
♥ KQ4
♦ 82
♣ K109
 

 

 

 

 

 

If we don't spend a moment at the beginning of the play to review the auction, we will find ourselves guessing wrong more often than we should.