|MONTHLY HAND||NOV 2001|
|THIS MONTH'S TOPICS:
The DMZ Hand
The Bath Coup
The Super Duck
One important aspect of Declarer play is
communication. Either disrupting the Defenders' lines of communication
with the use of the Hold-Up play;
or establishing communication between the table and the closed hand
with the Duck. In this month's hand
we will consider both of these strategies.
*Groucho Marx, who appeared in the movie Duck Soup, was an avid Bridge player.
|What to open? Today most pairs play the
No Trump range between 15 - 17 High Card Points (HCP). In this month's
hand, South has 18 HCP. Should she open 1 No Trump anyway? Some players
might do this and it would not be a terrible lie. Call it a small Bridge
fib. Partner, hopefully will use the Stayman convention asking for a Major
suit and then get to game in that suit.
Thus, in this month's hand South elects to tell the truth and opens with a bid of 1 . North responds 1 and now South will show her strength by jumping to 2 No Trump.
What does the jump to 2 No Trump mean? South's hand of 18 HCP is greater than the top of the 1 No Trump range (15 - 17 HCP) and is less than the bottom of the 2 No Trump range (20, 21 HCP). You might say that South is in between the 1 No Trump opener and the 2 No Trump opener. This is called no man's land or the DMZ (De Militarized Zone).
And the way South indicates this DMZ hand
is to jump to 2 No Trump when making her first rebid.
|West has a broken or incomplete 3 card
sequence in Clubs. This is a sequence where the third card of a possible
4 card sequence is missing. A K Q 7 is a 3 card sequence. A K Q J
7 is a 4 card sequence. A K J 7 is a broken 3 card sequence. (The Queen,
which would have been the third card of a 4 card sequence is missing.)
A K 10 7 is a 2 card sequence.
Against a No Trump contract the best opening lead is usually from the top of a 3 card sequence in a long suit. And the lead from an incomplete or broken sequence is permissible. So West should lead the K . But South bid Clubs. Is it safe to lead a suit bid by Declarer? Maybe, since South might have opened with a 3 card Club suit; or a suit with zero or 1 honors. On a good day partner might have the A or the J . And besides, nothing else looks that appetizing and one lead in the Club suit cannot do that much harm. Or can it?
West leads the K and Dummy's cards are tabled. Declarer wisely spends a few minutes counting and planning and eventually calls for the 2 . Partner, East, plays the 7 and Declarer from the closed hand the 6 . Now it is West's turn to do some thinking.
|Where is the A
and the J ? Were they
left out of the deck? Not likely, since every one counted 13 cards after
the deal. Then, the A
and J are distributed
between East and South. West, a perceptive and astute player, notices that
the 3 has not been
played. West thinks (could be trouble): maybe partner has the 3
and is signaling me by playing a high card first.
This is called the Attitude (or Come-on) Signal. A high card encourages continuation of the suit, while a low card discourages. High card: I like it, I like it. Low card: I don't like it., I don't like it. From the missing 3 , West concludes that his partner has the J or the A and that it is safe to lead the 4 at trick 2. Table plays the 8 , East the 9 ; and Declarer wins the trick with the J . Ooops! West has just been Bath Couped.
|PLAY tricks 1 and 2|
|Holding up with the Ace and Jack of a suit
(either in the same hand or split between two hands) is known as the Bath
Coup. This is South did. Normally West should refrain from continuing the
suit as this would give a trick with the Jack. Note: if South or East were
to lead the suit, the J
would be a loser. But South gave West a chance to go wrong by playing the
6 , not the 3
on the first trick. Sneaky, deceptive, disinfo, false carding.*
West thought partner was signaling and wanted a Club continuation. Yes, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. But actually West did not think the situation through to its logical conclusion.
If East had the J he would have known West is leading from K Q 10 x and would have played the J . (Hoping partner had the 9 or a 5 card Club
And surely if East had the A he would have played it at trick one to unblock (get out of West's way); or to get the lead and return a Club through South's hand trapping the J (if South had it).
West should have smelled that deception was in the air and returned a different suit, like the 2 , at trick 2. Then the J would never have been a winner.
* This type of deception is perfectly allowable in Bridge. What is not permited is previous partnership bidding, discarding, or opening lead agreements that are not standard and are not made known to the opponents.
|Don't get smug just because your deceptive
play of the 6 fooled
West and you successfully Bath Couped him. This doesn't mean you will make
the contract. There is still work to be done. First, count winners off
the top: 2 Spades; 1 Heart; 1 Diamond; and 2 Clubs. That is 6 winners.
(Without the Bath Coup it would have been 5 winners.)
Second, make a plan. Taking the Heart Finesse successfully will only produce 1 winner. Still short. The obvious way to get the three tricks needed to make the contract is from the Dummy's long Diamond suit. Most No Trump contracts are a race of the long suits. Defense has the slight edge because they are the first out of the starting gate with the opening lead. (In this case it was the Club suit.)
The Diamond suit presents South with a few problems. First, the K , J and 10 are with the Defenders. A Diamond Finesse (hoping to trap the K in West's hand) is definitely called for.
The second problem facing Declarer, is that there are no entries to Dummy (other than Diamonds). Even if the Finesse wins, how will South get to Dummy (in the third round of the suit) to play the rest of the winning Diamonds? Answer: execute the entry creating play of the Duck. Here the Finesse and the Duck will be combined in the maneuver called the Super Duck. Ready? Let's see how the Super Duck quacks.
PLAY: South has just won the second trick
with the J . She now
plays the 2 from
the closed hand. West plays the 6
and Declarer plays the 3
from Dummy! This is the Duck. East wins with the 10
and returns the Q .
This is the top of a broken 3 card sequence. East hopes if South has the
K , his partner
West, will have the
QUESTION: Is there any play that the Defenders could have made that would have set this contract?
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