|MONTHLY HAND||MAY 2001|
| THIS MONTH'S TOPICS:
The DMZ Hand
8 Ever, 9 Never
You have too many points to open 1 No Trump,
but not enough points to open 2 No Trump. You are in the middle of the
No Trumps; in no man's land; or in the DMZ (the De Militarized Zone). How
is a DMZ hand bid? Like any other hand in Bridge - with care, consideration
for your partner, and with a dash of panache.
Play the A
(in case the Q is
singleton), then play the 5
to the J . If East
has the Q and West
follows suit, you will make 5 tricks in Spades.
Play the A
and then the K (the
order does not really matter) and hope that the Q
drops. That is, falls under the A
or the K .
Solution: throw away the A !
That is, unblock the suit. But how? Easy! On a high Diamond. After winning
the opening lead with the K ,
|South has 19 points which is a DMZ hand.
That is, too many points for a 1 No Trump opener; and not enough
points for a 2 No Trump opener. So South opens 1 ,
hoping that partner can respond. If partner does respond then a game contract
has to be bid. For even if partner has the minimum response with 6 points,
they are in the game zone: 6 + 19 = 25.
North responds 1 . South then shows the DMZ hand by jumping to 2 No Trump.
What about the Heart suit? Partner might have a Heart stopper. And if not, the opponents might not lead a Heart. And if the opponents take the first 5 or 6 Heart tricks that is life. . . or Bridge. You cannot make every hand. If you do, then you are not bidding high enough.
North with 8 points, and knowing that partner has 19 or 20 points also knows that there is game (19 + 8 = 27), but no slam. So North bids 3 No Trump. All pass.
|West is on lead and reviews the bidding.
South's jump to 2 No Trump shows a monster hand. If North has a minimum
of 6 points then partner would have a maximum of 7 points. (19 points
from South + 6 points from North + 8 points from West = 33 points between
South, North, and West. Since there are 40 High Card Points in the deck,
40 - 33 = 7 points for East.)
West also notes that the opponents did not bid the majors. This makes a Spade lead a good candidate. What decides the issue is that the Spade suit is headed by a 3 card broken (or incomplete) sequence. A broken sequence is when the 3rd card of the sequence is missing, but the 4th card of the sequence is there. Example: A K J 5 is a broken 3 card sequence because the Queen ( 3rd card) is missing, but the Jack (4th card) is there. K Q 9 7 is not a broken sequence; but K Q 10 7 is one.
West also has possible entries to his hand with the Q or the Q .
West puts all this data into the Bridge computer and leads the Q .
|Dummy comes down. Declarer counts winners
off the top: 2 Spades, 2 Hearts, 2 Diamonds and 1 Club. 7 tricks total;
2 short to make 3 No Trump. These 2 tricks must come from the Diamond suit.
Declarer, who now has to play Diamonds, remembers that old saw 8 EVER, 9 NEVER. And since there are only 8 Diamonds, Declarer is about to finesse for the Queen. But wait, what happens if the finesse loses and a Spade return knocks out the last entry to Dummy? The A and the K will be winners, but there will be 2 good game making Diamonds left stranded on the table. In effect the A and the K got in the way. These two high cards prevented Declarer from reaching Dummy; they blocked the suit.
The problem facing Declarer is how to unblock the Diamonds. Unblocking plays sometimes call for dramatic extravagant maneuvers such as throwing away an Ace or a King; or throwing a winner on a winner; or winning a trick with an unnecessarily high card. In this case, it is examining that old Bridge maxim,
8 EVER, 9 NEVER. Maybe go counter to the maxim and do not finesse with 8 cards in the suit?
Declarer only needs 4 Diamond tricks to make 3 No Trump. Winning a Diamond finesse is not crucial. Play the A and K and let the 2 be the road to Dummy.
PLAY: Win the opening lead of the Q with the
A . There is no reason to hold up. Now play the 3 to the A . Do not finesse. Go against the maxim 8 EVER, 9 NEVER by playing the K . Who knows, on a good day the sun will shine and the Q will fall. Not to be; not to worry. Now for the coup d'entre. Play the 2 . West wins this trick with the Q . Dummy now has two good Diamonds which are the 8th and 9th tricks. The K is the entry to those precious Diamonds.
This case communication to precedence
over winning a trick
Declarer now wins whatever West returns and cashes out: 2 Spades, 2 Hearts, 4 Diamonds, and 1 Club 9 tricks making 3 No Trump.
General rules of play are fine as guidelines, but always stay alert and for when the exception may prove the winning strategy.
2. Does any lead other than a Spade set
|The Defense is pretty straightforward. Try not to revoke. Any card played by West after winning with the Q is won by Declarer, who can now take enough winners to make 3 No Trump.|
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