BRIDGE BITES: It Pays To Count

BRIDGE BITES By Brian Gunnell

From The American Contract Bridge League

IT PAYS TO COUNT                                    


♠ 852

♥ KQ

♦ AKT98

♣ 742


♠ KT

♥ 8642

♦ Q76

♣ AK93



West             East    



♠ J94

♥ A975

♦ J3

♣ QJT8


♠ AQ763

♥ JT3

♦ 542

♣ 65


Before seeing the auction, imagine that you are South, playing in 2♠.  Looking just at the N-S hands, how would you tackle the trump suit? The percentage play to avoid a second loser is to cash the Ace (a precaution against West having the singleton King), then cross to Dummy   and lead towards the Queen. That gets the job done whenever East has the King and it is doubleton or tripleton. As you can see, that is not a  success on the actual hand. Declarer loses two trump tricks and ends up going down one. Now let’s replay the hand, this time bearing in mind the auction.

      South   West    North   East

                                    1♦     Pass

         1♠       Dbl          2♠     All Pass

West leads the ♣A and East plays the Queen (showing the Jack). Clubs are continued and you ruff the third round. Next, you cash the ♠A, and lead a Heart which East wins. A Heart comes back, won on the board, and it’s time to lead a Spade. Is there any reason for Declarer to be inspired now and play a low Spade from hand? Yes, there is! Declarer needs only to remember West’s Double of 1♠ and do some counting.  West has 7 points in Clubs, a maximum of 3 in Diamonds and none in Hearts. That’s not enough for his bidding! He surely has the ♠K and Declarer’s only chance is that West started with King doubleton. Such an easy hand for those who take the trouble to do a little counting.

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