Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PUZZLES - with DOU­GLAS NEW­LANDS

This hand is from an online teams game and the bid­ding re­quires a lit­tle ex­pla­na­tion. North’s 1S re­sponse showed a bal­anced hand and de­nied four cards in spades. The 1NT re­bid showed a flat hand of 12- 14 points and, over North’s in­vite, South con­tin­ued to game. This con­tract is not very good but there is lit­tle at­trac­tion in play­ing in 2NT as there have to be ex­actly eight tricks for that to be cor­rect. In­deed, the hy­per- mod­ern view is that 2NT should al­ways be played as forc­ing to get more de­scrip­tion into bid­ding se­quences. West led the QH and de­clarer looked at his op­tions. With only three top tricks, it is nec­es­sary to gen­er­ate six tricks and five of th­ese might come from di­a­monds. The spades or the club fi­nesse might pro­vide the ninth trick. De­clarer ducked the first heart and won the heart con­tin­u­a­tion in hand as East showed out. For the di­a­monds to pro­vide enough tricks, the ace must be on­side and the suit must split evenly. When the 10 of di­a­monds was led, West rose with the ace and East played the 4D. West cleared the hearts and de­clarer won the AH in dummy. When the KD was played, the last di­a­monds both fell and de­clarer was sud­denly well placed. The re­main­ing prob­lem is which of the AS and KC to play East to hold, since the con­tract is safe if we choose the right one. The an­swer is to ask the op­po­nents to tell you by run­ning the di­a­mond suit. West will dis­card clubs and no spades while East dis­cards spades and not clubs. Thus, it is rea­son­ably easy to place the KC with East and to take the club fi­nesse. If the di­a­monds hadn’t split, it is likely that 2NT was two off which, at teams, is neg­li­gi­bly dif­fer­ent from 3NT go­ing three off. The up­side is that when 3NT makes, there is a game bonus but 2NT with an over­trick gets no such bonus. This 3NT con­tract is very poor since a 2- 2 split with the ace on­side is just 20 per cent. North should not re­bid 2NT. A 3D re­bid would have been quite rea­son­able and it makes nine tricks even on the 3- 1 split. With a fit­ting di­a­mond hon­our, part­ner might try 3NT over the 3D bid.

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