Seven Notrump

In which some people who play bridge blog about it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Playing it safe

This is based on a recent hand, loosely recalled.

East
South
West
North
Pass1NTPass2NT
Pass3NTPassPass
Pass
Lead: ♠ 3
North
♠ A Q J 8
♥ 6 5 2
♦ A 8
♣ 9 6 5 4
South
♠ 7 2
♥ A K Q 8
♦ K Q 7 5 3
♣ Q 2


West leads the 3 of spades against a no-trump game. If the distribution's good -- if West has the king -- it's possible for declarer to take 11 tricks: finesse the queen in dummy, then (crossing first to your hand) lead again to dummy's spades, repeating the finesse. You'll make three spade tricks, five diamond tricks, and three hearts.

BUT if East has the king, playing the queen on the first trick gives up that trick, followed by a likely four club tricks, and the contract is set. You can draw your own conclusion regarding the relative virtues of locking in the contract versus risking your neck chasing after overtricks.

2 comments:

  At Monday, September 25, 2006 10:21:00 AM, Anonymous Bryan said:

Hey Paul.

In duplicate, I'd say DEFINITELY try the finesse. For contract bridge... well, I'd still go for it. Regardless, you need to hope for a favorable diamond break to make the contract. I think based on the conventional "4th highest of longest strongest" lead, chances are better than not that the king of spades would be in the West's hand, especially considering the amount of high card clubs remaining in the deck. (You'd think that a club lead would have been made if West had any strength there...) And I don't know the numbers, but I'd say that this gamble could be not much worse than hoping for the favorable diamond break. Am I close?

See you tonight!

  At Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:39:00 PM, Blogger Paul said:

That's good thinking. It looks impossible, on closer analysis, to make the contract without the spade finesse! Diamonds just aren't going to fall right -- in the best case, they're split three/four, and the lowest possible hand with four of them has the 2-4-6-9, which wins a trick unless you find and finesse against the 9 right away...

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