HHI Bridge blog

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

0013 - Everything You Need to Know

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

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 or king). Partnerships usually have an agreement on bidding disciplined preempts vs. undisciplined preempts and/or on preemptive guidelines such as the Rule of 234, but these are discussions for another day.

How should North/South bid this hand?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

0012 - Forgoing a Trump Finesse

This deal was played September 18, 2014 / Hilton Head Island BC. 

Safety Play #001 – The term safety play is typically 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 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 leads the  A and when partner plays the  8 (suit preference) shifts to diamonds ... before playing to the first trick from dummy (North), 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 trick two (T2) is won should be based on how you plan the play of hearts. So how should the hearts be played? 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

HHI Bridge blog vs. HHI Bridge (Facebook) page

Earlier this year I decided to spend less time on administrative and governance activities of bridge and re-focus on studying, teaching, coaching, writing, and playing bridge, the technical activities of bridge.  As a result, I have been testing formats of two websites: this blogger website HHI Bridge blog (http://hhibridge.blogspot.com/) and a Facebook social media page also called HHI Bridge (https://www.facebook.com/hhibridge) each with the identifier "hhibridge". 

The blog has proven to be far more robust and lends itself more towards technical bridge writing - not only my observation, but unanimous among the feedback received from readers.   The Facebook page, as might be expected, lends itself to easier posting of newsy stuff such as notices of events, etc.  My plan going forward is to use both... The HHI Bridge blog will be a technical bridge page and the HHI Bridge page on Facebook will be a bridge media page ... I will try to link to two pages as best I can.  Thanks to everyone during this testing period, I hope you will continue to follow the format of your choosing.  And as always, feedback is welcome.

Fred Ferguson (fergusfe)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

0011 - Aunt Mary's 7♥

Goulash #001 – In the bridge world deals like this are often called Goulash (bridge) where the suits are more unevenly distributed among the players, creating wild deals.  Polly Thomason of Okatie Creek DBC gave me this deal from her neighbor's Aunt Mary (Indianapolis)... the challenge is making 7 .  (East's hand was not disclosed, it is not relevant to the play.)

Without looking at the answer below, can you make 7?

Monday, September 8, 2014

0010 - 2-Way Trump Promotion

Trump Promotion #003 - This is post 3/3 on the topic of trump promotion by position in passing - the card play technique called coup en passantThis thread will flow better if you start with post 0008 - Avoiding a Trump Promotion.   This deal was played September 6, 2014 / Unit 252 NAP Championship.  Here is the complete deal and auction - East is in a 2  contract and South leads the ♣5 (partner's bid suit).

So here $ is the trump promotion position after 3-tricks have been played with cards removed ... it presents a real challenge for declarer.

After 3-rounds of clubs (T1-T3) North considers the lead options for trick 4 (T4) ... the lead of a spade finesses his own  K (not good), the lead of a heart finesses partner and helps declarer discover the lie of the trump suit (not good), and the lead of a diamond is only good if partner has both the  KQ and the bidding does not indicate partner has this much ... so what about the  9?

From the time we learn to take a finesse, we are told it is bad to give declarer a ruff and a sluff, but DD double dummy (and what should be apparent to North sitting at the table) is that the opponents have plenty of tricks, all finesses are working!  So on this deal a ruff and a sluff doesn't help the opponents. The lead of the  9, however, may allow partner (playing behind declarer) to get a trump promotion which looks like the only real opportunity to gain another trick.

And, in fact, the  9 puts declarer on a guess: 1) does East trump in hand hoping that trumps are 3-3 and that an over trump does not promote the  9? or 2) does East guard against a 4-2 split in hearts by trumping in the dummy and hoping the  Kx doubleton are in South's hand?  DD (with hearts 3-3) the right decision is to trump in hand with either the  Q108, but sitting in East's position at the table, what decision would you make?

The point of this deal is that North's lead of the  9 is a great lead - it is the only lead that possibly creates another trick via a trump promotion.

Friday, September 5, 2014

0009 - Seeing the Trump Promotion

Trump Promotion #002 - This is post 2/3 on the topic of trump promotion by position in passing - the card play technique called coup en passant.  This deal was played September 4, 2014 / HHI Bridge Club.  Here is the complete deal and auction, East is in a 4♠ contract and South leads the 4.

So here $ is the trump promotion position after 6-rounds have been played with cards removed (see Trick Table).

After the opening lead of the  4, East plays 3-rounds of diamonds pitching a club on the third trick (T3) to avoid the possibility of 2-club losers. On T4 - East finesses the  J which South covers with the  Q, and wins the  A in West/dummy.  On T5 - a club is lead to the  A and on T6 - East exits a club (saving trumps in dummy) so as to trump the last club.  Everything looks good, right?

But North is on lead holding the last diamonds ... if North leads the  J, East is now in passing position (en passant) subject to a trump promotion for South.  If East trumps low relying on the  6 in dummy to win the trick, South can win the  7, and subsequently the  K, 2-spade tricks.  If East trumps high with either of the  1098, South pitches the  9 and South holding  K73 and playing behind East, still wins 2-spade tricks.

Trump promotion in passing typically happens when the defender (short in trumps) leads a non-trump card through the declarer and the defender (long in trumps) is playing in position behind the declarer and both are void in the suit being lead.

To obtain a printable PDF file of this post click here " 20140904 0009

Thursday, September 4, 2014

0008 - Avoiding a Trump Promotion

Trump Promotion #001 – Trump promotion is the defensive strategy of creating a trump trick (or tricks) by forcing the opponent's premature use of a trump card.  One of the card play techniques (coup) of achieving a trump promotion is to make a trump trick by position in passing playing behind the opponent who needs to trump (coup en passant).  see Glossary 

This deal was played by Eileen Griffin September 3, 2014 / HHI Bridge Club.  The contract is very reasonable North/South have combined 24 hcp and 26 shortage points.   Of the 12 times this deal was played it was played in 4  - 10 times and in 3 NT - 2 times (go figure).

The opening lead by West is the  A and East gives an encouraging signal with the  6. West follows with the  3 to East's  Q.  After 2-tricks East can now see all of the remaining 5-clubs –  J9 in dummy and  K42 in hand.  So to kill dummy's clubs (and avoid a ruffing finesse situation) East leads the  4 (hiding the  2) knowing that South and West are both void in clubs.  South is now in passing position (en passant).  If South relies on winning the  J in dummy or ruffs low West is in a position to win a trump trick cheaply.  If South, on the other hand, trumps high West might get a trump promotion, later winning a trick with a trump card that otherwise would not win a trick.

But, one of the ways of spoiling a trump promotion is to put a loser on a loser ... so when East leads the  4, Eileen smartly pitches the  2.  Now the play or coup is broken ... West must trump to protect against dummy winning a cheap trick with a trump card that would have, in fact, produced a natural trump trick.  East/West are entitled to win 2-spade tricks, either naturally or ruffing.  By pitching a losing diamond on the losing club ruff Eileen collapses her losers. East/West eventually win 2-spades and 2-clubs, but never get to win a diamond trick for down one (-1).  North/South scores 8.5 matchpoints (77%) on this deal - this deal went down two (-2) six times . Well done Eileen.

To obtain a printable PDF file of this post click here " 20140903 0008