|MONTHLY HAND||OCT 2000|
THIS MONTH'S TOPICS:
Suit Preference Signal
Counting Partner's Hand `
Playing Bridge is not only bidding and playing the hand; it is also Defense: preventing the Declarer from making the contract. And part of defense is Signaling.
Signals are used only on defense. Do not Signal Dummy. And Dummy does not Signal Declarer. (This would be a major impropriety.) Signals are done only with the cards. Gestures, grimaces, morse code, winks, kicking, and cell phones are not to be used. Let the cards do the talking.
There are 3 basic Signals in Bridge.
In order to avoid confusion, and there might be some when you first use signals, (and maybe even later), let the Attitude and Count be a preference over Suit
Preference. Actually Attitude should count more than the Count. Misuse of Signals
can be the cause of disastrous defensive errors and can lead to partnership break- up, divorce, bodily injury and possibly even death. But do not be discouraged; the rewards are great. Still, make sure partner is not armed.
Suit Preference Signal
LOW RANKING SUIT
HIGH RANKING SUIT
If you want your Partner to return the Lower
ranking of the 2 Preferenced suits,
|Over North's opening bid of 1 ,
East overcalls 1 .
This shows a 5+ card Heart suit headed by 2 honors and 10 or more points.
South competes by bidding 1 . This bid shows a 5+ card Spade suit with at least 6 points. North shows Spade support and a Minimum opener (13 - 15 points) by rebidding 2 .
South, with 15 High Card Points (HCP), knows that they are in the game zone of 26 points (15 + 13 = 28). But, if South considers distribution points, with a doubleton in each of the Minors, then they are near the slam zone of 33 points. Near, but not in; South bids game at 4 . All pass.
|The Opening Lead can make or break a contract.
So, it is important to get off to a good start. Even though Opening Leads
might seem like a shot in the dark, there should be a message for partner
behind every lead. And hopefully, partner will get the message.
There are two reasons why East should lead the 2 . The first reason is that the suit bid by his partner was Hearts. Thus, it is likely that partner has some goodies (Bridge tech term) in Hearts. The second reason is that the 2 is a singleton. West could potentially win the second or even third round of Hearts by ruffing.
|Dummy comes down. Declarer is thinking
and counting. East should be doing the same. Should East play the A
or the J ? Does West
have the Q ? Is the
2 the bottom of fourth
best in Hearts? If East examines the clues, the answers are there. Bidding
Clue: partner did not support the 1
overcall and probably has less than three Hearts. Spot Clue: if partner
started with a doubleton in Hearts, he would play high then low. Since
the 2 is the lowest
Heart, partner did not have a doubleton Heart. Conclusion: the 2
must be a singleton.
After reaching this conclusion, the play is sort of obvious: win with the A and give partner a ruff. But that is only 2 tricks. And with the A , this makes 3. Not enough to set the hand. Maybe partner has another trick.
Again, examine the clues. Declarer has at least 12 points because she went directly to game over her partner's minimum support. Now count: Dummy has 14 points and you, East have 11. Add them up: 12 + 14 + 11 = 37. West cannot even have an Ace. Possibly, but not likely, the K .
The best shot at setting the contract is to have West ruff Hearts two times. These two tricks, plus the A and the A will defeat 4 . In order to do this, West must return a Club after he ruffs the first Heart. The A is the only entry back to East's hand. But how to tell West to lead a Club after ruffing the first Heart? Answer: use the Suit Preference Signal.
PLAY: East wins the opening lead with the A . East is pretty sure the 2 is a singlton and that his partner will ruff the next Heart. But what Heart should East play? Here is the chance to use the Suit Preference Signal. First, find out what suits are Preferenced. Simple; eliminate trump (Spades) and the suit being led (Hearts). That leaves the Minors; Clubs and Diamonds are the Preferenced suits. East has the A , the lower of the two Preferenced suits. Thus, he leads the low Heart (3 ), signaling his partner that he wants the lower Preferenced suit (Clubs) returned.
West ruffs and reads his partner's message and returns a Club. West wins with the A and plays another Heart. West ruffs for the second time which is the setting trick. The Defense took the A , A , and two Heart ruffs for down 1.
There is no such thing as a bad hand, only bad players. Note that West, with a Yarborough (no honors), took 2 tricks.
|After the Defense takes the first 4 tricks,
setting the contract, the play of the hand is quite straightforward. Pull
trump and take the rest of the tricks.
However, there are some deceptive plays that South could make on the opening lead.
Play the K from Dummy at trick 1. The only reason for a Declarer to do this, is that she does not have the Q . This might induce East to think that his partner has the Q . East starts to think: " Since partner has the Q , we can get that later. I'll try another suit."
Another deceptive play at trick 1 is for South to play a small Heart from Dummy and then bang down the Q from her hand. This deceptive play can also cause the wheels to go round in the wrong direction in East's head: "South has a singleton Heart and my partner started with 4 Hearts and the 2 is from the fourth best. Therefore no sense returning a Heart"
It is important for Defender to think things through. But, with deceptive play on the part of Declarer, the thinking may go awry.
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