Plan B From Down Under
This deal was played by John Wignall (World Bridge Federation vice president) in the Gold Coast Pairs. If anyone loves bridge and travel, this annual event has lots of great bridge,
beautiful scenery, good weather and nice people.
♠ A K J 8 6 5 ♥ 9 ♦ A K 8 4 3 ♣ K
Would you open 2♣ or 1♠? Either call would have adherents. Let’s say you start with 1♠ and partner responds 1NT, forcing. You might as well start to describe your hand by
jump shifting to 3♦ (game-forcing, of course). Partner bids 3NT. And now? I don’t think notrump is what you had in mind. Should you bid 4♦ to show the fifth diamond or 4♠ to show the sixth spade?
Because this was a matchpoint game (with the premium on playing in majors), let’s say you try 4♠. (If you had bid 4♦ and partner raised to 5♦, I don’t think you’d be very happy.)
Against your 4♠ contract, a club is led and you see:
♥ K 6 4 3
♦ 9 6 5
♣ A Q J 10 9
♠ A K J 8 6 5
♦ A K 8 4 3
As usual, you assess losers in a suit contract. If diamonds behave, you can hope for only one loser there. You have a heart loser, but it will likely disappear now that they have led
clubs. In trumps, you could get really lucky and lose no tricks (3–3 with the queen onside).
You surely win the first trick in dummy with the ♣A in order to continue the suit. Bad news. East ruffs the second club with a low trump. You overruff and must play trumps from
On the ♠A–K, more bad news: left-hand opponent started with the singleton ♠10. East remains with the ♠Q–9. It looks like you will have to lose those two tricks, along with at least one in each red suit. Do you see any hope?
There is plenty of hope. If LHO, who started with six clubs and one spade, was dealt only two diamonds, you have a great chance. It is not unrealistic to hope the hearts are 4–4 (giving
West 1=4=2=6 shape). If he also has the ♥A, you are in business. Simply cash two high diamonds to extract (you hope) West’s cards in that suit.
Then play a heart and West will have to take his ♥A (you hope). He will be dead. Let’s look at the Real Deal from down under:
|♥ K 6 4 3|
|♦ 9 6 5|
|♣ A Q J 10 9|
|♠ 10||♠ Q 9 7 3 2|
|♥ A J 8 2||♥ Q 10 7 5|
|♦ Q 10||♦ J 7 2|
|♣ 8 7 6 4 3 2||♣ 5|
|♠ A K J 8 6 5|
|♦ A K 8 4 3|
On the club lead, dummy played two high clubs, the second round being ruffed and overruffed. Next came the ♠A–K (bad news). Then came the ♦A–K (some good news). Then came a heart and the best news of all: West has to win the ♥A and then grant you access to dummy. In dummy, you continue
clubs and East is dead. If he ever ruffs in, you avoid the second trump loser. If he never ruffs in, you can dispose of all your diamond losers.
While plan A didn’t go so well, plan B came to the rescue.