MONTHLY HAND JAN 2000 
INTRODUCTION
    THIS MONTH'S TOPICS: 
          The Stayman Convention
          Dumping losers on winners 
          Trumping losers in Dummy
          Quick Losers

We evaluate a suit contract in terms of losers. How many; and how do we get rid of them.
     In the November 1999 hand the loser was TRUMPED in dummy. Another way to get rid of a loser is to Dump them on winners. DUMP & TRUMP are two ways of eliminating losers. Throwing them on the floor; putting them in your pocket; or giving them away to a relative are not really acceptable Bridge maneuvers. Again think in terms of getting rid of losers by DUMP & TRUMP.
     In No Trump bidding, The Stayman Convention is a widely used and powerful tool that should be part of every Bridge player's repertoire. As used in this hand the best contract of 4 S is easily reached. 


 
BIDDING
South with 16 High Card Points (HCP) and a balanced hand opens the bidding with 1 No Trump.  If North/South's  No Trump range is 16 - 18, then North with 10 points knows that the combined point count is definitely in the Game Zone of 26 points. 10 + 16 = 25. 
      North can bid game directly which is 3 No Trump. Or North can also investigate further to find a Spade fit. 
     This is done by North bidding 2 C which is the Stayman Convention. This bid of 2 C by North asks South to bid a 4 card Major. Note: the 2 C bid is artificial and does not necessarily show a Club suit. South, with a 4 card Spade suit, responds 2 S
     South would bid 2 D if lacking a 4 card Major; or 2 H with a 4 card Heart suit. (In either case North would make the game bid of 3 No Trump.) 
      Having found a Spade fit however, North now  carries on to game with a bid of 4 S.

 
OPENING LEAD
The best lead, both attacking and safe, is from the top of a sequence. West puts the K D on the table. Dummy plays a small card; East the J D; and Declarer wins the trick with the A D.
      Even though West did not win the trick, the lead of the K D created a potential winner in the Q D. This is why leading the top card of a sequence is so important. Even if the card led does not win the trick, by forcing the opponent to play a higher card to win the trick, it sets up the next card in the sequence as a potential winner. 
      A common beginner error is to lead the A C.  This is because a person wants to take a quick trick. (Where's the rush?) Leading a high honor which is not at the top of a sequence, allows your opponent's high card in that suit to become a winner. 
     Unless it's at the top of a sequence, save your Ace to capture Kings and Queens later on in the play of the hand.

 
PLAY
Dummy comes down. Count losers before playing that small Diamond. A good plan is based on counting, and in a suit contract Declarer counts losers.  So let's do it: 
      1 Spade;  0 Hearts; 2 Diamonds; and 2 Club.  That is 5 losers; two too many to make the hand. What  to do? Leave the room? No. Let's examine the losers. 
     PLAN; Losing a trick to the opponent's Ace of trumps is unavoidable. ( A Nobel Prize in Bridge to some one who can find a way not to lose this trick.) The Club suit has 2 cards in Dummy and 4 in Declarer's hand. An imbalance. So one of the two Club losers can be TRUMPED in Dummy. This still leaves 4 losers: 1 Spade, 2 Diamonds and 1 Club.  But what about Diamonds?
      Notice the imbalance in Hearts: 3 in Dummy opposite 2 in the hand. So a losing Diamond can be DUMPED on a Heart winner. Now the losers are: 1 Spade; 0 Hearts; 1 Diamond; and 1 Club which adds up to 3. Great! The contract is made.
      PLAY: Win the opening lead with the 
D. In most suit contracts Declarer should pull trump as soon as possible. But in this hand, if trump were to be played at the second trick the defense would win with the A S and cash 2 Diamond tricks. So the Diamond loser must be gotten rid of before a trump is played. The Diamond loser is a Quick Loser and must be gotten rid of quickly.
     Now it's time to DUMP & TRUMP
     DUMP: Declarer plays the A H winning the trick; then the 2 H to Dummy's K H. Now for the coup de dump. Dummy plays the Q H allowing Declarer to DUMP a losing Diamond on this winner. 
TRUMP: Now play Clubs; eventually TRUMPING the one Club loser in Dummy. South can counter any defensive play, by trumping Clubs (even a winning Club) in Dummy. 
     By eliminating one Diamond loser and one Club loser, the contract of 4 S is made. 

     QUESTION: Why not play trump after DUMPING the losing Diamond on the winning Heart? 
     Answer


 
DEFENSE 
     The Defense is pretty straight forward. West can hold up one round with the A C. This makes it harder for Declarer to get to the hand in order to trump a Club. But with the way the cards lie, nothing will prevent Declarer from trumping a Club loser in Dummy. 

 
 

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