Lifestyle

Bridge: Think ... and visualise your plays

I’ve constructed this week’s hand to get you thinking ... about thinking!

Too often at the table we make bids or plays without visualising the hands and having a clear idea of what we want to achieve, and that is not a good thing. You are vulnerable against non-vulnerable opponents and you pick up this 28-point rock-crusher.

S AKQJ

H AKQ

D 962

C AKQ

LHO is the dealer and passes, as does partner and you are shocked when RHO opens 3 Diamonds, showing a weak hand and long Diamonds. You double for takeout and LHO now bids 5 Diamonds, which comes around to you.

Not easy now! Partner is almost certainly void in Diamonds so you could bid 6 Diamonds, forcing him to choose a suit but in the end you settle for another double and that closes the bidding.

So, which Ace do you start with to get a look at dummy? None of them! This is where the thinking comes in — you have all the points, your tricks cannot run away other than to ruffs, so stopping the ruffs is what you must aim for — lead a trump, it is automatic.

The full deal

N

S 109843

H 874

D K1075

C 7

E

S J762

H J10932

D None

C 10932

S

S 5

H 65

D AQJ843

C 8654

W

S AKQ

H AKQ

D 962

C AKQJ

Declarer wins and leads a Club which you win and lead another trump — declarer can now ruff a Club in dummy but then has to come to you again and you lead a third trump. Declarer ends up with his 6 Diamond tricks and one ruff in dummy — down 4 and plus 800 gives you a near top score.

Let’s see what happens if you cash your Club Ace, see dummy, cash a Spade, and then try and cash three Hearts — declarer ruffs the 3rd Heart and can now ruff 3 Clubs in dummy for just 2 down.

Whenever opponents sacrifice against me based on just a lot of trumps and distribution I lead trump, no matter what my holding.

Singleton, three small, Kx, Qx, anything at all but I lead trump. It usually works out really well.

PS, Notice that on the above hand East West are cold for a Heart grand slam.

That is what pre-empts are designed to do.