5 in one morning!

Author: Larry Cohen
Date of publish: 03/25/2016
Level: Intermediate

I hardly play in tournaments these days, but lately have been playing in an online game. I used to get material (to write about) from playing--and now the online game has become a fertile source. I love to look for "lesson deals" and remarkably found 5 of them in one short session.

The first 3 are "situations" and then you can play out the final 2 full deals on Vu-Bridge.

1) I opened 1♠ and ended up in 4♠ after LHO overcalled 2♠. The ♠Q was led and dummy had a singleton ♠A and ♠109852.   I had ♠K10x and ♠ 76. 

What is the lesson?

Why didn't LHO lead a high heart (chosing to lead from something like ♠QJxx or the like instead)? He must not have ♠AKJ or ♠KQJ.  He would have led a high heart from either of those holdings. The only possible layout is ♠AQJxx on your left and singleton ♠K on your right (and so it proved to be). It is another issue as to whether or not that might help you in the planning of the play.

2) Defending a heart partial I had ♠AKxxx and a singleton diamond. My partner (who had raised spades) led a low spade. Dummy had ♠xx and ♠KQJx.  I won (with the ♠K) and shifted to my singleton. Partner won the ♠A and returned a high diamond (the 10). This should be a suit-preference play. Whenever you are giving your partner a ruff, a low card indicates a preference for the lowest remaining suit and vice versa. So, I underled in spades to try to get another ruff. But, partner had only ♠Jxx. He should not lead a high diamond (suit preference) since he knows I don't have ♠AKQ (I would have won the queen-the cheapest at trick one). So, he should lead a medium or low diamond. He had nothing in clubs, but still, he cannot lead the ♠10 knowing I will underlead (I did) and declarer will win the ♠Q. If I had won the first trick with the ♠Q, then indeed he should play a high diamond if he has the ♠J.

3) Against 1NT (all pass), I led a 4th-best club from ♠Q10842.  Dummy had ♠A3 and played low. Partner won the king and returned the 7. Declarer played the 5 and then the 6. What is going on? Unless partner started with 4 (where his correct return is low), declarer remains with ♠J9. If partner had 9x or Jx remaining, he would have returned a high card. When next you get in, don't lay down the queen, because that gives declarer an undeserved trick. Declarer had ♠J965 and careful card reading would prevent you from making an error. (If partner had 4 clubs, there would be plenty of time later--against only 1NT to continue to run the suit.)