Take All Your Chances


kantarbridge.com

There are many hands where more than one line of play exists to make your contract. If you select the best percentage line your chance of making the hand increases, but if you don’t……. But why take the worst of it? The idea is to take the line of play, which if it doesn’t work, still allows you to take the other line, and there ever may even be a third line!

North
♠ K J 10
10 4 2
J 5 3
♣ A Q J 5
South
♠ A Q 9 8 4 3
A K J 5
Q 8 2
♣ —

With both sides vulnerable, West opens 1, North and East pass, you double, partner responds 3♣, too strong to make a forced 2♣ response. You bid 3♠, forcing, and partner raises to 4♠. Incidentally, when making or responding to a takeout double, devalue jacks and queens in any suit or suits the opponents have bid unless responding in notrump or having a death wish.

West leads the AK and a diamond. East trumps the third diamond and exits with a low heart. Spades are 2-2. What is your plan? (Notice that the jack and queen of diamonds were worthless).

12 HCP are missing and West, the opening bidder, is a heavy favorite to have all 12. Win the A, cross to a spade, play the ♣A, discarding a heart, and trump a club. Return to dummy with a spade and trump another club. If the king appears, use the ♣Q to discard a second heart. If the king doesn’t appear, try to drop the Q in the West hand. Why finesse into a player who is known to have the queen?

Tip #1 When the bidding tells you that a particular defender must have a particular card, play that defender for that card even if it means going against the odds in the play of that suit.

Tip #2 Assume an opening bidder has at least 12 HCP unless the opener is known to have a distributional hand in which case 10 or 11 HCP is possible.

♠ K J 10
10 4 2
J 5 3
♣ A Q J 5
♠ 5 2 ♠ 7 6
Q 8 7 9 6 3
A K 10 6 4 9 7
♣ K 10 9 ♣ 8 76 4 3 2
♠ A Q 9 8 4 3
A K J 5
Q 8 2
♣ —