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PB + PD = PR

Poor bidding and poor defence leads to poor results … in case you were wondering.

Board 8 from Thursday 5/04/2018
Dealer W Nil Vul

Board#8 05/04/2018

While I would expect that most Wests would open this 1C if playing Acol, there is no guarantee. North would probably not overcall but when East responds 1H, South would certainly bid 1S. From then on the bidding could escalate as far as either 4S or possibly 5H. When South overcalls 1S, West will no doubt raise hearts and North will bid to 4S.

Let’s say that EW bid to 5H which South doubles. Will NS find the perfect defence? It is a risky one, but if North has raised to 4S, it is not impossible to find:

South starts with the singleton club lead and later switches to a low spade, which North wins and has little trouble in working out why South has a) doubled 5H, b) led a club, and c) underled the ace of spades. A club ruff, a spade trick, plus two hearts equals four tricks, which happened only once, when East was allowed to play in 4H. Twice, 5H doubled was down one only.

Now let’s take a look at the 4S contracts. In one case, it was North who played in 4S and East made a very poor lead of the heart ace, allowing declarer to make an overtrick. The other 4S contract was by South, and the defence is worth discussion. West led the obvious ace of clubs (“God didn’t deal you AK in the same suit for you to lead any other suit”). When dummy goes down, with which card should East follow? If playing STANDARD signals (high encourage, low discourage), East should still follow with the three and not the queen. The play of the queen when partner leads the ace should be reserved for either a singleton, or when you hold the jack also, which could enable partner to get the lead to you if required. If you are playing ‘reverse’ attitude (something I personally dislike), East’s play is automatic, the three. However in both cases, West could still go wrong, and some of them did, by continuing with the king and handing the contract to declarer on a platter. Irrespective of what signalling system you are using, you should continue with a LOW club if you are West. Why? Because you can see by looking at dummy that East has either a singleton or the queen doubleton. If singleton, East will ruff and you will retain your king of clubs over dummy, if East has the doubleton queen, declarer will ruff it and no harm will be done.

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