Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

The Office Bridge Game

We haven’t played bridge in the office recently so this Friday afternoon we decided to give it a whirl.  I played with Eric and Sally and Ray played together.  Eric is the definite novice of the group and although he has played other card games his main strategy is to cash all his winners at once.  Sally has been working hard to learn more about bridge but she still seems a little but uncertain about what to do.  (Well then, I have played bridge for a good piece of 35 years off and on and I am still uncertain about what to do).

Anyway we played four hands and it turned out that everyone got to play a hand and they were all very interesting hand.  This one was Sally’s.  I have made up the spot cards but I do remember the key cards.

Sally held

  s K102
h AKxx
d QJ54

Ray opened 1d and I said double.  Sally bid 1h and Eric passed.  Ray bid 2d and Sally was uncertain about what to do.  She wanted to raise diamonds but she had no sensible way to do it.  In the end she just bid 3NT.  Eric led a club and this was dummy

  s Q7
h Jx
d A107432


Eric led a club and as expected the finesse lost and a club was continued.  Now Sally had to play diamonds.  This led to some discussion between Sally and Ray.  Was it better to finesse or to play for the drop?  Had my double made it more or less likely the diamond finesse would work?

We had a brief chat about leading the dQ from her hand.  In many games (but perhaps not the expert ones) if she led the dQ from her hand her opponent might cover.  If they didn’t cover and they weren’t all that good then she should expect it to be offside a lot of the time.  But Eric had been alerted now.  He was not going to cover no matter what.  She crossed on a heart and led the dQ to get into the habit.  Eric played low.  Now what?  Sally looked around the table.  She thought and she put up the dA.  Low and behold the dK came tumbling down.  After all there were not many highcards missing for my takeout double. 

This led us back to a discussion of the auction.  From Ray’s side the contract is almost certain.  A club led is into the tenace and now declarer can afford to give up the dK.  On a neutral lead if the finesse lost there is still time to get a spade trick for the ninth trick.  It is true that on a spade lead, if the finesse losses you have to play me for the sA but that is very likely.  So how do you get to play this hand from Ray’s side.  We suggested that Sally might have bid 3s.  Partner should take this as a no-trump try primarily.  Partner is not very likely to hold four spades on this auction.  Ray would then have bid 3NT.

This one simple hand led to a lot of fun.

My hand was sort of neat too.  Why?  Because it had a squeeze theme.  Yes, yes it really did.  I didn’t make that up.  It was just for an overtrick but here is the situation

  s 10x
h KQx
d AQJxxx
  s AJ9xx
h Ax
d x

Sally West opened 1NT and Eric overcalled 2d.  I bid  2s and over Eric’s 3d I bid 3NT.  The opening lead was the hJ.  Based on the bidding Ray had to have no cards higher than a ten.  There were only 16 points missing.  So Ray could have at most a jack but there were no jacks missing now.  I won in dummy and played a club.  Sally won and returned a heart.  I won and played a club and Sally returned another heart.  I won and played a spade to hand.  Here was the ending as I led the last club.

  s 10
d AQJx
  s J9x
d x


When I ran clubs Sally had to hold on to three diamonds to the king (assuming she had at least three diamonds) and the high spade in a four card ending.  She would have to pitch her heart winner and one spade winner.  I could then take the diamond finesse and throw her in on a spade.  With nothing but diamonds left she would have to return a diamond allowing me to finesse again.  Of course I had to be sure of the ending.  She could fool me if she only had two diamonds.

As it turned out she did only started with two diamonds but since she kept both spade winners I knew that the dK had to come down.  I wonder if she had thrown a top spade and kept the little heart if she would have fooled me.  Some times a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

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