Hand of the Week, Vol. 2 No. 13

This hand was played at the 07 July 2009 club championship. Vulnerable against not, your partner dealt you

S K T 9 4
D K 7 5 4
C 7 4

Partner passed as dealer, and you were all set to open 1D, but your RHO beat you to it with 1H. With no suitable bid, all you can do is sit and watch. (You didn't double "to show an opening bid," did you? That leads to an ice-cold zero in 3C doubled, a fine reminder why takeout doubles promise all three unbid suits and no wasted values in opener's suit.) LHO raises to 2H, and that becomes the final contract. What suit should you lead?

Since the opponents stopped in a partscore, you know they have barely more than half the high cards. That leaves your partner with 6-8 HCP, but you don't know what suit they are in. A spade lead could work, but only if partner has SQ or SAJ. A diamond lead could work, but only if partner has DQ or better. A club lead works only in the unlikely event that partner has solid or near-solid clubs (you have no interest in a ruff.)

Do not gamble. The obvious lead is a trump. This cannot possibly harm your partner, and it gives you time to see the dummy and make a more informed decision what to lead when you come in with one of your pointed kings later. If dummy has a singleton or doubleton this lead will pay an extra dividend, preventing declarer from ruffing a loser.

Dealer North
NS vul
S Q 6 2
H 8 4
D J 9 8
C A Q T 6 5
S A J 8 5
H 9 7 3
D 6 2
C K 9 3 2
[table marker] S 7 3
H A T 6 5 2
D A Q T 3
C J 8
S K T 9 4
D K 7 5 4
C 7 4

On the actual hand, dummy does have a doubleton diamond. Declarer is likely to win the opening lead, cross to the table, and try a diamond finesse, hoping to win DQ, DA, and ruff a diamond while dummy still has trumps. You will thwart him by winning your DK and pulling the rest of dummy's trumps. (If declarer tries the club finesse rather than crossing to the SA, your partner should continue trumps for you.)

As the cards lie, an opening diamond lead would have been suicidal, and on an opening spade lead, the only way to beat 2H is for North to switch to trumps when he wins the SQ, not an easy play to find. One gift, from either defender, lets East make it. At the table on July 7th, every East declared 2H, and all but one of them was allowed to make it.

Back to HOTW index
Back to Articles index
Back to TaigaBridge home

This page last updated 13.07.09
©2009 Gordon Bower