The HHI Bridge blog is dedicated to a better understanding of the game of bridge. Each mini-lesson (#0001-0016) focuses on one deal, one topic, one explanation (bidding, play of the hand, etc.).
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0016 – The Throw-in Play

Endplays #001 – The endplay cardplay technique in bridge can take many forms, but the process and result are basically the same. Declarer first plays on side suits taking away safe exit cards from the defender's hand and then strategically puts the defender on lead at a point when the defender must make a lead which costs a trick. The endplay typically happens towards the end of the play of the hand (thus an endplay), but can actually happen at any time during the play.

The endplay form on this deal is called a throw-in (tenace throw-in play) where East is forced to lead away from a broken honor holding when put on lead (Trick 7) and has no safe exit without giving up a trick.

On this deal North/South play a conventional defense to 1 NT where a Double is a one-suited hand. South's hand is way too good (14 hcp, 6-losers and rebiddable club suit) to make a preemptive bid of 3 . East/West play systems are on over a Double and so 2  is a transfer to 2 . West's bid, takes North off the hook, and thus, South knows North does not have on-going values. South can fully define this hand by bidding 3 .  Some partnerships might double 3 , but with East's club values of  AQ10 sitting underneath South's values this would be a dangerous double.

The opening lead is the  K, so how should South play this hand? 

0015 - A Baby Grand

Minor Suit Slam #001 - Bidding minor suit slams is not the same process as bidding major suit slams - there are bidding space considerations. When bidding minor suit slams, often valuable bidding space is consumed exploring for major suit fits or notrump contracts before agreeing on minor suits. When bidding major suit slams systems are designed to find fits right away allowing bidding space to find secondary fits, bid out shape or bid controls. Finally, typical control responses to 4 NT use lower rank suit responses of 5  or 5  artificially where in minor suit slams responses often put the contract at slam level before controls can be established. Bidding space is a luxury not often afforded to bidding minor suit slams.

This deal (rotated for presentation) was originally played as Board 8 Monday night October 27, 2014 / The Common Game (TCG).  So how should this deal be bid?

0014 - Knowing When to Bid

When to Bid #001 – Knowing when to bid and when to pass may not be the most exciting bridge skill, but it is an important element of the game. The standard 1-level response to 1  with 6+ hcp should be a guideline not a rule. Responder might hold a hand such as  J53  QJ53  Q3  J753 with 7 hcp, and will surely respond 1  with a hand that may never win a trick.

North opens 1 , East passes ... with 5 hcp, what is South's call?

Fast Results - TCG

The Okatie Creek DBC (Sun City Hilton Head) runs The Common Game (TCG) on Mondays and Saturdays.

TCG sends out Fast Results via email for these games to players whose email addresses are registered with ACBL.  If your email address is not registered with ACBL you can enroll in Fast Results by emailing your ACBL # (typed in the subject line) to:  Just an email sent from your email address with your ACBL # in the subject line.

0013 - Everything You Need to Know

Preemptive Bid #001 – An opening preemptive bid is a high level bid (3-level or higher) made with length in a suit (usually 7+ cards), limited high-card strength (not enough for an opening bid) and limited defensive strength (maybe no outside ace). Partnerships usually have an agreement on bidding disciplined preempts vs. undisciplined preempts and/or preemptive guidelines such as the Rule of 234.

This deal was played September 25, 2014 / Hilton Head BC mentor/mentee game.

When East opens the bidding with a preemptive 3♣, how should North/South bid/play this hand?

0012 - Forgoing a Trump Finesse

Safety Play #001 – The term safety play is usually used to refer to the line of play that guarantees making the contract against any lie of defenders cards, but may sometimes refer to the line of play that gives the best chance of making the contract.

This deal (rotated) was played September 18, 2014 / Hilton Head BC.

This deal was analyzed by the GIB bridge software (used on BBO) and the contract of 5  was set, down one (-1). Is it possible to find a line of play to make 5  against any lie of defender's cards (the safety play)?

West's opening lead T1 is the  A and when East plays the  8 (suit preference) shifts to  6 ... before playing to diamonds, declarer (South) can count enough tricks (1-spade ruff + 4-hearts + 2-diamonds + 4-clubs = 11 tricks) if hearts are limited to just 1-loser.

Where T2 is won should be based on how declarer plans the play of hearts. So how should hearts be played?