Linda Lee — My personal bridge blog

Camrose Comment

A while back (in March) I wrote a blog about a round of the Camrose between 2 Irish teams.

The Clash of the Irish… Camrose

Just recently I noticed a comment from one of the players Tommy Gravey and I found it quite interesting.   He had not found the defense that would defeat a contract of 6NT.  This was an unfortunate result since the contract in the other room was 6h which required an impossible guess in hearts to make.   Should Garvey have found the right defense?  Was there a signaling problem with his partner?  At the time I thought so but let’s look at it again, respecting Garvey’s comments.


North-South Vulnerable


s Q1054

h J1062

Copy of d

c A974


s KJ83

h 83

Copy of d AKJ108 

c K8


s A

h AKQ974

Copy of d Q5 

c J1053


s 9762

h 5

Copy of d 97432

c Q62

Hastings Garvey Greer Carrol
1Copy of d pass 2h pass
2NT pass 3NT pass
4NT pass 6NT all pass

Here according to Garvey 4NT showed some extra, about a strong notrump range.  Garvey started off with the h10.  He does have a terrible hand to lead from, doesn’t he?   Greer won and continued with another heart seeing the bad break when Carrol threw the s7.

Now declarer led the cJ off the table.  This was ducked all round.  Declarer rattled off all his tricks and eventually endplayed Garvey who had to hold Qx of spades and the cA.

Back to trick 2.

This is a tricky hand for the defenders to work out.  There are many variations of pattern and point count and it is especially hard for Carrol to figure out how the missing high cards are distributed.  Garvey on the other hand knows his partner has at most a queen and the only available one is the cQ.  Putting that card in partner’s hand this is his problem after partner played the c2 playing reverse count… I will let him speak for himself.


tommy garvey April 6th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

 4nt was described as quantitative, simply showing a strong nt.

John played the c2… he, correctly, thought it was important to play smoothly… but we do play reverse count…

Before you quickly dismiss my duck as a “defensive error” consider declarer having:

s KJ83

h 83

Copy of d AKJ10

c K86

you will note that if you win the cA, you are later squeezed in clubs and hearts but, if you duck, you can cope with any continuation (eg win the cK (dropping pards queen) and return with the c9….)

interesting hand…


Garvey is completely correct if declarer had the hand he pictured than ducking is needed to defeat the slam.  And I give him huge marks for figuring that out at the table.  It is very difficult to keep in mind how to defend against squeezes!

So was this a signaling error by Carroll?  Did he fail to plan at trick one and therefore have to just play a fast card?  Would they not normally give count in this sitation, if so it is dangerous not to?  Could Garvey have figured it out anyway?  Carroll might have covered the cJ if he had a doubleton cQ. 

Eric Kokish does practice sessions where he gives partnerships tough hands to defend (like this one) and then they discuss what they might have done to get it right.  Of course sometimes getting one hand right by changing your methods means that you will mess up your defense on a different hand with your “new” approach.  Still this one deserves some discussion between Garvey and Carrol.  (Something they may well have done already.)

I believe the defenders should have got this one right.  I will assign no blame.  But it is sad to lose 14 imps on a slam you could have defeated.  Yes, this is a tough hand.  It takes a good defender to duck the ace, even if it is wrong this time.

1 Comment

HowardApril 16th, 2010 at 10:54 am

Heavens above if anyone kicks off with the ten of hearts on that bidding, I might well place him with the J for a marked finesse in hearts. If I was convinced ( table presence ) that this was the case, then I’m playing the A of spades, 5 diamonds, and the heart finesse for 6 more tricks. Clever lead but that’s what you expect from an expert. Low club could be fatal ( establishing 2 or 3 tricks in that suit ) for 5D, 3H, 2S and ,maybe 3C for the contract. A diamond or spade gives nothing away. Howard

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