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Brian's Articles

 




 

Brave New World

"O, wonder! How manygoodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
that has such people in't!"

William Shakespeare.(The Tempest)

Or to paraphrase the Bard– "O brave new world, that has such technological gadgets in't!"

Bridge in Israel has at last entered the 21st Century with the new AR Win scoring program devised by Assaf Amit. This program replaces the old DOS based AR scoring program, a relic of the 20th century. The main features of the new program are the Windows based concept and large number of features to create more accurate results as well as different types of tournaments like Teams and Barometer tournaments. In addition, the new program is compatible with"Bridgemates" but more on that later.

As I mentioned in an earlier article, I was a participant in the European Championships in Ostend this summer and was again enchanted with the "Duplimates" and "Bridgemates' technology. This was not new as I had already seen it in action in Turkey in 2007. I was in contact with the Bridgemates representative in England,the late Maurice Cahm and tried to bring them to Israel. Maurice later made aliyahbut  was unable to introduce "Bridgemates" mainly  because of the AR                  compatibility.

So back to the present and theAR Win program which was launched in July to the bridge clubs of Israel after atraining session in the Ganei Hataarucha convention center. Knowing that AR Winwas about to be introduced, I bought a "Duplimate" machine in Belgium andthen went on to The Netherlands to buy "Bridgemates".

What are these 2 devises?

Well, Duplimates is a card shuffling and card dealing machine. Instead of manually shuffling the cards, dealing and only the playing, boards are distributed for immediate play. For the players this savesa lot of time and reduces the duration of the tournament by 10-15 minutes.Anyone who has played in the Festival or any national tournament would beacquain ted with this system. Another advantage is that hands played can beprinted out for study at the end of the tournament and the hands can also bepublished on the internet. If hands are prepared by the players, like in thesimultaneous tournaments, again a lot of time can be saved by the"Duplimate" and it eliminates mistakes in distribution of the cards(so long as the players put the cards back in the boards correctly!)
I requested permission to receive the distribution of the last simultaneous tournament a couple of hours in advance, and spent 15 minutes preparing the hands on the "Duplimate" machine. As a result, the tournament lasted for just 3 hours to play 24 hands. Duplimates are a great help for Barometer tournaments and eliminate the need to manually prepare the cards (a very boring job indeed!). When we started to install the machine itkept jamming, but fortunately "Dr" Ilan Shezifi was a great help andmanaged to get it running smoothly.

Some players think that Duplimates distributes more distributional hands. This is correct. When yousimply shuffle and deal you probably do not shuffle the card 7-10 times. This means that the hands are more 4-3-3-3 or 4-4-3-2 shape as they retain thedistribution from the hand played previously. This isalso why you will find Queen – Nine double ton combinations too. Duplimatescompletely randomize the cards and I find that the boards are more exciting.

The "Bridgemate" is acomputerized scoring devise which is the size of a mobile phone and is placed on each table of the tournament. It records the names of the players and scores the results by simply typing in the contract and recording the result. No ne dany more for registration of player's names forms and no need for travele rscore sheets to record the results. In addition to the score, players are given, after a couple of rounds, their percentage score for the board, which gets more accurate as more pairs play each board. Bridgemates eliminate mistakes in transferring scores from the traveler to the computer and saves paper (environmentally friendly) and significantly speeds up the publishing of the results.

All these innovations have brought us technologically on a par with all the larger bridge clubs in Europe and the USA (and about time too!) and make our tournaments a much more pleasant. It was a huge expenditure for us at the Jerusalem Bridge Center but in my opinion a worthwhile investment for the future. I am sure that  many more clubs in Israel will follow our lead and make your visit to your local club an even more enjoyable experience.


IMP's in the Festival


The 'trouble and strife' (rhyming Cockney slang for 'wife') thinks I am a lousy I.M.P player because I am too conservative in my bidding (don't mention it to her but I am pretty lousy at 'top-bottom' too). She may well be right - just look at this hand from the IMP tournament in the festival:

30
None
East

SAT92

HKQ4

DAK864

C4

SJ5

HJ2

DQJT9

CAKQ62

SKQ

HT98763

D3

CJT75

S87643

HA5

D752

C983

 Here is the bidding :

E  S (wife)  W  N (me)

P  P  1C  x

1H  1S  2C  3S

All Pass

Just 20 points together but 4 Spades +1 is unstoppable losing just a Club and a Spade. It is true that if the Spades would have been 4-0 then the game would not make but she says that in IMP's you have to stretch to make game. So after her ridiculous free bid of 1 Spade with just 4 points, I should have gone to 4 Spades instead of inviting with 3 Spades.

I was able to redeem myself in the mixed teams (also IMP scoring) by going to game with the following hand:

10
All
East

SAJ962

HJ52

DAQ7

C5

SQ8

HA63

D6432

CT832

SK3

H T75

DJ8

CAKJ976

ST754H

KQ98

DKT95

C4

E  S (wife)  W  N (me)

1C  P  1D  1S

2C   2S   3C  4S!

All Pass

Again just 20 points together and it is true that if the Spades would have been 3-1 or 4-0 then 4 Spades could not make, but fortunately they were 2-2 so I lost just a Club, a Heart and a Spade to make my contract and earn a big swing to help us win the match. On the other table they only got to 3 Spades +1.

So here is my list of bridge tips when playing IMP's or teams:

1.  Bid boldly, play safely.

2.  Don't double part – scores unless you are 99% sure of getting the opponent's down.

3.  Get the opponents down one first and then worry about getting them down more.

4.  Take more time when bidding and playing slams.

5.  Be constantly aware of the vulnerability – be extra careful before competing or sacrificing when vulnerable.

6.  Stretch to game or small slam particularly when vulnerable.

7.  Beware of bidding grand slams – you only get about 50% more than a small slam.



Mixed Pairs Final (Bayit A)

My moment of glory had finally arrived. We were doing well with a decent carry over from the preliminaries and again from the semi finals into Bayit A – all was going well with above average scores against the strongest mixed pairs in the country. It is tough playing against 27 other pairs with a healthy sprinkling of World Champions, European Champions, National team players and the like. Then this hand came along: 

                                       North

                                     S  AQJT87

                                      H J952

                                      D  -

                                      C QJ4

    West                                                            East

S 962                                                              S -

H Q8                                                               H K4

D K875432                                                     D QJ96

C 8                                                                  C AK97632

                                      South

                                   S K543

                                   H AT763

                                   D AT

                                   C T5 

One of our great talents, Michael Barel was North playing with one of our top ladies Dana Tal.  Formidable opposition to say the least! Michael was North and opened 1 Spade.  My partner jumped to 4NT – showing the 2 minors and Dana Tal bid 5 Spades. I only had 5 points but my 3 little Spades indicated to me that my partner was void in the opponent's suit. I ventured an outrageous bid of 6 Diamonds (despite the vulnerability). This was doubled, of course. The lead was the Ace of Spades and when dummy laid out her Diamonds and Hearts, I could see that I was missing the 2 red Aces! But then I saw the void in Spades and a glimmer of a hope. No way that I could draw trumps as the opponent's would immediately cash their Ace of Hearts. No, the only way to make the contract would be to make something out of my Clubs. I led the Ace and King of Clubs, discarding one of my losing Hearts. Another Club from dummy and a ruff in hand after South discarded a Heart. A second Spade ruff, and the Clubs were now high. I led a high Club and Dana ruffed with the 10 of Diamonds and I overruffed. I ruffed my last Spade in dummy and led another High Club. Dana ruffed with her Ace of Diamonds, but I was able to discard my second losing Heart. Glory at last – 6 Diamonds doubled made! Maybe David Bird would write an article about my brilliant bid and play? Could this be our year?

Unfortunately, a dog barked outside my window and I woke up and remembered what actually happened. This was the layout in real life. 

                                     North

                                     S  AQJT87

                                      H 952

                                      D  T

                                      C QJ4

    West                                                            East

S 962                                                              S -

H Q8                                                               H K4

D K875432                                                     D QJ96

C 8                                                                  C AK97632

                                      South

                                   S K543

                                   H AJT763

                                   D A

                                   C T5 


Dana in fact had the singleton Ace of Diamonds and when I led the 4th round of clubs to get rid of my second heart, Michael was able to ruff with the 10 of Diamonds and so I went down doubled when the opponents later took their Ace of Diamonds. This was the beginning of a steep downhill slope towards the bottom.

No glory this year– just 5 national points!

Oh well, maybe next year! 

_________________________________________________________

The Bath Coup

The Bath coup's origin is from the game of whist, the granddaddy of our game of contract bridge. It's name probably comes from the town of Bath in England and if used properly the coup can usually be quite effective, particularly if the defenders are not signaling clearly. I am sure that you have used it before even if you did not know the name. 

Here is the basic position:

 

632

 

KQ1094

 

85

 

AJ7

 

The player sitting West leads the King of any suit against the declarer, who holds the Ace and the Jack. Declarer realizes that West also has the Queen. In order to get two tricks in this suit, the Declarer will hold up once, waiting for West to lead the suit again. Declarer then gets two tricks. This situation crops up time and again in no trumps, and the defender in the West seat has to keep his eyes wide open to see his partner's signal. If East holds the Jack he should drop it like a hot cake to show his partner, West, that it is safe to continue from his KQT (without the T and from KQ 4 or 5 times, West would have led small). 

I was playing in the Ashdod Cup National Tournament when the chance came up to play the Bath Coup and quite unusually it happened in a suit contact.

Here are the North –South hands:

   North 

  S J97532

  H 862

  D 8

   C T63

  South

  S K6

  H AJ74

  D AQ74

  C  AQ4

Holding 20 points I opened 2 Diamonds (Multi) showing either a weak 2 in one of the majors or a 20-22 balanced hand. My partner bid 2 Hearts (showing less than an opening and 'play or correct' to 2 Spades). I responded 2NT showing my 20-22 and she bid 3 Hearts meaning transfer to Spades. After I duly bid 3 Spades, she showed admirable faith in my declarer play by bidding 4 Spades with just ONE point exaggerating the value of her singleton Diamond.

The lead was the King of Hearts and I could see at least 2 losers in the trump suit Spades, at least one, if not two in Hearts and also a possible 2 losers in Clubs. A daunting prospect indeed! The lead was clearly from the King-Queen so I smoothly ducked the first trick and West, without a moment's thought, continued with the Heart Queen. This gave me the opportunity to win with the Ace and now my Jack of Hearts was high. One hurdle was overcome thanks to the Bath Coup but still many more remained. When you are playing a lousy, hopeless contract, the best thing to do is imagine that the cards are sitting favorably.  So, Ace of Diamonds and Diamond ruff was followed by a small Spade to the King which won the trick dropping the Ten on my left. When I played a small Spade the Queen appeared on my left so I knew that I had only 2 trump losers. West led her last heart and when I won with the Jack, I was delighted to see a 3-3 heart break so my 4 of Hearts provided a parking place for one of the Club losers. Now, before finessing in Clubs there was still another miracle available. A small Diamond ruffed on the table dropped the King of Diamonds so my Queen was now high! No need now for the Club finesse as the losing Club could be discarded on the now high Queen of Diamonds.

In fact, the finesse in Clubs was sitting well, even though did not need it now, so all I lost was the initial Heart and 2 trumps.

Here is the full hand:

  North 

  S J97532

  H 862

  D 8

  C T63

East  West

S QT  S A84

H KQ9  H T53

D JT653   D K92

C 872  C KJ85

  South

  S K6

  H AJ74

  D AQ74

   C  AQ4

Of the 19 pairs that played the hand, only 3 made game so we had a sharing top for 94%. Nice!

Opening in 4thposition and the Rule of 15

This article is for beginners and less experienced players. We are taught very early on that we need 12-13 high card points (HCP's) before we can open the bidding. The position is different when the bid goes Pass – Pass – Pass. All the players look to us expectantly thinking that we probably have a powerhouse. In many instances, this is true and we can open the bidding with 1NT, 2NT or even 2 Clubs. But what do we do when we have 10, 11, 12 or 13 HCP's? How do we know whether to pass out and go and have a cup of coffee until the next round is called or alternatively to make a bid? 

Well, the experts have come up with an interesting theory which from my personal experience seems to work consistently. It is called the rule of 15.

Just to backtrack a little you have probably heard of the rule of 20. This concerns hands when you have 9, 10, 11 or 12 HCP's. The question arises: when to open? The answer is to add the number of points in our hand, let's say, 10. Then we add up the length of our 2 longest suits (let's say our distribution is 5-5-2-1). We count the length of our 2 longest suits – in this case 10 and add this to our HCP's again 10 –total 20 points – worth an opening.

Two examples:

a) SAK543

     H 86

     D QJT32

     C 7 

We have only 10 HCP's but if we add that to our 2 five card suits we get to 20, so we will open 1 Spade. Note the added advantage of having our points in our long suits.

b) SAQ32

      H J32

      D KJ3

      C J52

We have 12 HCP's but our 2 longest suits are 4 and 3 which is only 7 so the total is only 19, so we will NOT open. Note the poor Jacks in Hearts and Clubs which may be worthless.

Now let's go back to the rule of 15.After Pass – Pass – Pass, if we have about 10- 12 HCP's, we can be pretty surethat the points are distributed fairly evenly around the table. The 28- 30 HCPmust the evenly spread amongst our partner and the opponents because no one wasable to open the bidding.

So how do we know whether to open? Theanswer is to add up our HCP's and add it to the number of cards we hold in Spades.If the total comes to 15 (or more), then it qualifies for an opening bid. Let'slook at some examples:

a) SKQT42

     H 94

     D 97

     C AJ82

10 HCP's plus a 5 card Spade suit = 15 -  open 1 Spade

b) S 2

     H KQ32

     D KJ3

      C KJ432

13 HCP's plus a singleton Spade = 14 -  PASS.

c) S43

     H AK86 

     D QJT32

     C J7 

11 HCP's plus a doubletonSpade  = 13 - PASS

a) S542

     H AKQJ2

     D QJ3

     C 95

13 HCP's plus a 3 card Spade suit = 16 - open 1 Heart.

   

So the question is; why are the Spades so important? The reasoning is that the balance of strength between the two sides is probably even. This means that both sides will be battling for part-scores only and contracts of one or two will probably scrape home, whereas 3 level contracts will go one or two down. This means that the side that can bid 2 Spades will have a significant advantage, hence the vital importance of the Spade suit.
If we have only a singleton or doubleton Spade, chances are the opponents will have enough Spades to be able to compete, bidding up to 2 Spades, which they may well make and if we go up to a 3 level contract in Hearts or a minor we will go down. So if the opponents have enough Spades to bid, keep quiet and pass the hand out. Otherwise, get in and make your part-score (or defeat your opponents on the 3 level)!

This is a rule that is worth using because it works! 


 

The Smolen Convention

Well that was a surprise! I wrote an article entitiled 'Stayman or Transfer' and 3 people (Avi Rosenthal, George Leibowitz and Lea Cesarco) individually commented about Smolen.  I did not realize that I had such a large number of readers of my articles J. Funnily enough, Ron Pachtman gave us a lecture in the 'Atlas Course'  and he mentioned Smolen as well. I was very surprised that I had not heard of Smolen before and wondered if he had heard of me.

Anyway after some research, it turns out that Michael Smolen died at the age of just 52 in 1992. Here is a brief outline of his convention.

As I stated in my article when we have 5:4 or even 6:4 in the majors and game going values, we will respond with a transfer to the 1NT opener and then bid our second major which is forcing. But according to the Smolen Convention, we do not bid an immediate transfer but Stayman with a delayed transfer in these situations. If partner responds to our 2C Stayman with 2H or 2S, we will happily jump to game with a 4:4 or 5:4 or even 6:4 fit in that major.

However, if the response by the No Trump bidder is 2 Diamonds, denying a 4-card Major suit, then, as I stated in my previous article the responder must now bid the longer Major suit to show at least a 5-card Major suit. The problem with this system is that when this occurs, then the transfer advantage has been lost and the weaker of the two holdings usually becomes the declarer. Instead of concealing strength like as King-Jack or Ace-Queen, these holdings are revealed to the defenders, providing them with additional defensive advantages.

When the partnership includes and employs the Smolen Transfer bids, designed specifically for this situation, then the responder will jump to the three level in his shorter Major suit. This initiates the Smolen convention and the No Trump bidder now has the information that partner holds game values. It is this jump which shows a 4-card suit in the suit bid and either a 5-card or a 6-card suit in the other Major suit. In this way, the No Trump bidder becomes the declarer, which is the basic intention of this conventional method.

 

 

Example:

Opener

 

Responder

 

Meaning

A42

A73

Q763

AK3

 

K7654

K964

K8

QJ

 

 

1 NT

 

 

 

15-17

 

 

2

 

Stayman

2

 

 

 

Denial of a 4-card Major suit.

The No Trump denies a 4 or 5 card major by bidding 2 Diamonds. According to the Smolen conventional method the responder no longer bids the 5- or 6-card suit directly, but jump bids in the 4-card Major suit (the shorter of his 2 majors). This action initiates the delayed Smolen Transfer bid and shows exactly a 4-card Major suit in the Major suit bid and at least a 5-card suit plus in the unbid Major suit, plus game values, as shown in the continuing example:

Opener

 

Responder

 

Meaning

A74

A76

Q843

AK8

 

K9865

K984

K7

QJ

 

 

1 NT

 

 

 

15-17

 

 

2

 

Stayman

2

 

 

 

Denial of a 4-card Major suit.

 

 

3

 

Smolen convention.

 

 

 

 

The No Trump opener will now have all the information at his disposal to make the right decision. Holding 3 cards of the longer Major suit, the No Trump bidder will bid this suit.

Opener

 

Responder

 

Meaning

A74

A76

Q843

AK8

 

K9865

K984

K7

QJ

 

 

1 NT

 

2

 

Stayman convention

2

 

 

 

Denial of a 4-card Major suit.

 

 

3

 

Smolen convention.

3

 

 

 

Completes the transfer.

In this particular bidding sequence, the No Trump bidder completes the transfer, and becomes the declarer. The responder, depending on his values, will either bid game or attempt slam.

Holding only two cards in the longer Major suit, the No Trump bidder rebids 3 No Trump:

Opener

 

Responder

 

Meaning

A7

A76

Q843

AK85

 

K9865

K984

K7

QJ

 

 

1 NT

 

 

 

15-17

 

 

2

 

Stayman

2

 

 

 

Denial of a 4-card Major suit.

 

 

3

 

Smolen convention.

3 NT

 

 

 

Denies a 3-card Spade suit.

 

 

If the distributional pattern of the responder is as shown above, then the responder will pass game in 3 No Trump holding only a 5-card Major suit. However, with slam values the responder will continue the auction.

When holding a 6-card Major the action of the responder changes. The illustration below should clarify this continuation:

Opener

 

Responder

 

Meaning

A76

A7

Q843

AK85

 

K984

KJ9865

K7

Q

 

 

1 NT

 

 

 

15-17

 

 

2

 

Stayman convention

2

 

 

 

Denial of a 4-card Major suit.

 

 

3

 

This jump shows a 4-card Spade suit and a longer Heart suit, plus game values.

3 NT

 

 

 

Denies a 3-card Heart suit.

 

 

4

 

Shows a 6-card Heart suit. This is a Smolen delayed transfer bid. The opener is required to complete the transfer to 4 Hearts.

 

It is also important to remember that the Smolen transfer bid may be used in other bidding sequences such as the following two bidding sequences. The continuations, as described above, are the same following the No Trump bid.

 

 

 

 

Opener

 

 

Responder

 

Meaning

2 NT

 

 

 

 

20-22

 

 

 

3

 

Stayman.

3

 

 

 

 

Denial of a 4-card Major suit.

 

 

 

 

Showing 5+ Hearts and 4 Spades 

 

The Smolen conventional method can also be applied following a strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening followed by a rebid of No Trump.

 

 

2

 

 

 

 

Strong, artificial 2 Clubs opening bid. Forcing for one round.

 

 

 

2

 

Generally a waiting bid. However, the partnership agreement can employ other versions of responses.

2 NT

 

 

 

 

(23-24 HCP)

 

 

 

3

 

Stayman

3

 

 

 

 

Denying a 4 card major

 

 

 

 

Showing 5+ Spades and 4 Hearts 

 

So, anyone for Smolen?

 

 

 

 

 
The Case for the Defense
 
On average, we are 25% of the time declarer, 25% of the time dummy and 50% of the time on defense. But, when it comes to bridge books for every 10 on declarer play there is only 1 on defense. Most bridge teacher concentrate on bidding and then follow up with declarer play.
Teaching defense is only made as a last resort and is usually confined to opening leads and a little on signaling.
 
Many players come to me and say to me "I did not play at all today" (what they mean is that they were declarer less than the average 25% and on defense more than the average 50%). Sometimes I receive complaints like "How come I did so well today? I didn't get any good cards at all!" or "I had no chance of doing well today, I had such lousy cards".
 
They do not seem to understand that defense is the key to improving results.
 
I have recently been translating a new section of Best e Bridge's (BeB) (www.bestbridge.co.il) latest innovation - exercises in declarer play – and as one would expect this comes as a welcome addition to the series of lectures, the articles and the exercises in bidding that have been featured so far on the website. This is a wonderful website, and the Israeli player, can be very proud that finally there's a first Israeli website, which is dedicated to teaching bridge for all levels, with such high standards – excellent bridge exercises and explanations, user friendly, and above all, a dedicated and talented team which also provides excellent service to its users.
 
So far 225 hand play exercises have been published recently on line and another 75 more are in the pipeline. This is in addition the previous bidding exercises (over 1000). The play exercises are divided into 4 sections: 1 for beginners, 2 for advanced, 3 for experienced tournament players and 4 for real experts.
 
 I was taking to Moti Gelbard about one hand which fascinated me from level 3:
 
Below is the exercise – reproduced with permission ©
 
Level 3B
 
The bid
 
S           W       N           E
                       1C          1D
3NT
 
Exercise No. 5                               
North
S AJ6
H KT85
D 73
C AQT8
 
South
S KQ8
H J97
D AQ5
C J973
 
 
 
 
The Lead:2D (partner's suit)
 
 
Tricks: We can count 6 sure tricks: 1 in C, 2 in D and 3 in S.

 
 
 
 Solution:
 
The plan: If the C finesse will succeed, the opponents will be able to develop the D suit. Therefore, the timing and correct order of the play of the cards is very important. We will start by developing the H suit, since it is better to give up a trick when we still have a stopper. If the QH is with W, we will make our contract. If not, we can still try the C finesse.

 
The play: We will win with the AD and run the 9H for a successful finesse. We will continue with the JH. E wins with the AH which reveals that the QH is held by W. E continues with the JD which we win with the QD and we will run the TH which wins. All that is left is to take our tricks from the top and make our contract.
 
     Below is the full deal:
North
S AJ6
H KT85
D 73
C AQT8
 
West                                                              East
S T75                                                          S 9432
H Q643                                                      H A2
D 96                                                            D KJT84
C 642                                                                         C K5
South
S KQ8
H J97
D AQ5
C J973
 
This is an excellent exercise in declarer play. When analyzing the hand a thought occurred to me and gave me the idea that exercises should be developed in defensive play.
 
 
 
 
My thought was what if the East hand would be as follows (simply swapping the KC for the QH):
 
           East
           S 9432
           H AQ2
           D KJT84
          C 5
 
E would have the chance to make a brilliant play on the run of the 9H. He would win with the AH! (not the QH). This would encourage declarer to continue with the H finesse. When the JH would lose to an unsuspecting QH, the D suit would be run to defeat the contract. If he would make the mundane play of the QH on the 9H, he would have left declarer no option but to try the C finesse which would work!
 
When I talked to the BeB team about defense exercises, I was pleased to hear that this is in their business plan and in the future, subscribers will be able to also enjoy unique defense software which doesn't exist anywhere else in the world!
 
I look forward to translating it and trying it out.
 
 
Killing Trump leads at the Loiben Festival 2012
 
My wife, Maggy, and I had the pleasure of spending our summer holiday in Austria and Hungary concluding the vacation with a lovely five days at the exquisite Loiben Festival – an hour's drive from Vienna in the beautiful Wachau area of Austria. The venue is the Loibnerhof Restaurant on the banks of the river Danube. It is an enormous restaurant with 6 large playing areas – all the rooms are decorated in typical Hapsburg era design which creates a special ambiance. Most of the participants are local Austrians, with a quite large contingent from Germany, a sprinkling of fine players from Hungary, and representatives from Italy and The Netherlands. We were the only Israelis. We were a bit apprehensive that we may encounter some antisemitism but this issue did not manifest itself.
 
The main differences with our festival were:
1.     Absolute quiet.
2.     No discussing hands.
3.     A very high level of play in all tournaments.
4.     No arguing with the tournament director.
5.     No 12 or 14 cards, no leads out of turn, no revokes!
 
One highly entertaining moment came when we were playing against a very strong pair. They took 21 bids to reach a contract of 6 Hearts and I knew they were going down as I held QJT9 in trumps and was not going to double for them to escape into 6NT. Before my final pass, I was just curious to understand their system and asked for explanations of their bids. I received a very detailed description of the distribution and specific key cards. After they had completed their explanations, I asked my opponent on my right jokingly, "Yes, but what about the 2 of Clubs?" He promptly replied, "Oh, I know my partner doesn't have it ….. long pause……because I do!" and he laid it down on the table.
 
We played in the Teams event with our friends from the Austrian Juniors Simon Weinberger and Raffael Wadl and even though we produced a creditable result we could have done so much better if we would not have lost the last match 5-25.
Here is a hand showing the strength of the players.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The bidding in both rooms was identical and went: (N/S Vulnerable, E/W Non-Vulnerable.)
                   W                 N             E             S
                    1C               X              P            2S*
                     P                 3S**        P            4S
                   All Pass
*    8-12 HCP – not necessarily a 5 card suit
** Invitational
 
The lead in both rooms was a trump.
My line of play was pathetic and gave me no chance of making the contract.
 
Dummy (North)
S A62
H K986
D AQ94
C J5
 
Declarer (South)
S   KQJT4
H A4
D T2
C 8764
     
I won the Spade lead and led a club. They led Spades again and I led Clubs again. Now they led Spades again and even though the Diamond finesse was sitting well, I could not avoid losing 2 more club tricks. Adding this to the 2 Clubs that I had lost already, that was one down.
 
The South in the other room had a better idea. He could see my teammates would continue trumps at every opportunity so he turned his attention to the Diamond suit. He led the Ten of Diamonds losing to the Jack. Trumps were led again as anticipated and declarer now pulled trumps himself. He now led a Diamond for a second finesse to the Nine. When this won, he played the Ace of Diamonds, discarding a Club and  was delighted when the King dropped. The Queen of Diamonds now provided a parking place for his second losing club. This meant that declarer lost just 2 Clubs and 1 Diamond for a score of 620.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here is the full hand:
                                  North
                                  S A62
                                  H K986
                                  D AQ94
                                  C J5
West                                                   East
S 983                                                 S 75
H QT3                                               H J752
D K86                                               D J753
C AQ93                                             C KT2
                                   South
                                   S   KQJT4
                                   H A4
                                   D T2
                                   C 8764
 
Can you spot the winning defense?
 
West should cover the Ten of Diamonds with the King and then when South plays the Ace, he can only make 2 Diamond tricks as the J75 sits behind the Q94.
 
It would have been easier for West if declarer had led the 2 of Diamonds and finessed the 9. Then, after drawing trumps declarer would lead the 10 of Diamonds. Now it would be clearer to West that he has to cover with the King restricting declarer to just one club discard and one down. The play of the 10 put West under pressure and so lost us a bad swing.       
 
Our Austrian friends plan to come to our Festival next year in February, we look forward to their good company and some interesting bridge.

 

 

HELVIC RUN OUTS
 
What happens after 1 No Trump by your partner and a nasty sounding double by your right hand opponent. In the pre-bidding boxes days, the double could sound very threatening but even today, some players seem to be able to place that little red card on the table and make their partner understand that they mean business.
 
Considering that 1 No Trump usually means 15-17 and the double shows similar values, the position can be very dangerous because the bulk of the points are sitting behind the 1 No Trump opener. Considering that on average both the opener and the doubler (is there such a word?) have 16 points each, that means that there are only about 8 points left for you and your left hand opponent. For your left hand opponent life is easy – with a strong hand (6-10 points), he leaves the double in and with a weak hand (0-5 points) he takes it out to his longest suit.
 
Most club players don't really know what to do as a partner to the 1 No Trump opener.
 
The late Zvi Shilon taught me his system for dealing with this problem and escaping disaster and it certainly helps. I learnt later that this system is called Helvic run-outs.
 
So what are your options after 1 No Trump double?
 
1) Pass - this shows either:
   
·        A relatively strong hand (6-10 points) OR
·        0-5 points with 4-3-3-3 distribution.
 
2) Redouble – this shows a weak hand (0-5 points) with a 5 card (or longer) suit.
3) 2 Clubs -this shows a weak hand (0-5 points) with two 4 card suits one of which is Clubs.
4) 2 Diamonds -this shows a weak hand (0-5 points) with 4 Diamonds and a 4 card major.
5) 2 Hearts - this shows a weak hand (0-5 points) with 4-4 in the majors.
 
 
 
 
So how does it continue?
 
Well, after 1 No Trump, double, pass, pass, your partner must
redouble -then if you are strong (6-10 points) you pass. Now you put your left hand opponent in the hot seat and if he tries to escape then maybe you can punish him. If the final contract is 1 No Trump redoubled, then you have good chances of making.
 
West
North
East
South
1 NT
X
Pass
Pass
XX
Pass
Strong – Pass.
Weak 4-3-3-3 bid 2 Clubs.
 
 
 
If you redouble this shows a 5 card suit and a weak hand. Now after pass, partner bids 2 Clubs and if this is your suit, you pass, and if not you bid 2 Diamonds, 2 Hearts or 2 Spades depending upon which one is your 5 card suit. Now you will play in a 5-2 fit or better and again NOT doubled.
 
 
West
North
East
South
1 No Trump
X
XX (5 card suit)
Pass
2 Clubs
Pass
Bid 5 card suit
 
 
 
Now, if you are weak (0-5 points) you bid 2 Clubs and this shows a 4-4-3-2 distribution with a 4 card Club suit and one other 4 card suit. Partner will now pass if he has 3 Clubs or bid his next 4 card suit (or 5 card if he has one) and you will probably play on the 2 level with a 4-3 Moysian fit BUT NOT doubled.
 
West
North
East
South
1 NT
X
2 Clubs (4-4-3-2) with 4 clubs and another 4 card suit
 
 
 
 
 
If you bid 2 Diamonds showing 4 Diamonds and a 4 card major, partner will either leave you in with 3 times Diamonds and again, if this is his doubleton, then he will bid 2 Hearts and let you show your 4 card major. If it is Hearts, you will pass and if not you bid 2 Spades and again you will play in 4-3 fit and again you won't get doubled.
 
West
North
East
South
1 NT
X
2 D (4-4-3-2) with 4     Diamonds and a 4 card major
 
 
 
If you bid 2 Hearts showing 4 -4 in the majors partner will either
pass or bid 2 Spades and again you will play in 4-3 fit and yet again you won't get doubled.
 
West
North
East
South
1 NT
X
2 H (4-4-3-2) with 2 four card majors
Pass
 
 
I have played this system for many years and it works especially well when I don't forget the responses.
 
But, if you try it out, then please don't play it against me, I don't want my results to be any worse than they are already.
Gambling 3 No Trumps
 
You can count yourself really lucky when a lesson you learned just a few days earlier comes up in the play. This is what happened to me in the National Tournament at Wizo, Petah Tivka.
 
First the lesson – number 37 on Preemptive plays in Moti Gelbard's wonderful and informative web site www.bestbridge.co.il.
 
 
 
Here is the lesson (reproduced with permission) ©
 
Preemptive Bids Lesson No. 37
 
The bid:
 
You are East and your partner opens 3NT. What do you bid?
                               
      S AKQ2
      H KJ765
       D 84
       C T8
 
Correct answer: 4C
 
Explanation:
 
Partner, West, opened 3NT.
 
How do we interpret his bid?
 
3NT shows a long 7- 8 card minor headed by the AKQ, without an outside Ace or King and without a 4 card major.
 
We have stoppers in the majors but not in the minors.
 
Therefore we will bid 4 Clubs and not PASS. Partner will PASS if his suit is Clubs, and if not he will correct to 4 Diamonds.
©
 
Now for hand number 9 at Petah Tikva:
 
          
                                  S 93
                                  H 32
                                  D AKQT954
                                  C 75
S Q54                                                   S AT72
H 764                                                   H AQ95
D 82                                                     D 7
C AQJ63                                              C KT82
 
                                  S KJ86
                                 H KJT8
                                 D J63
                                 C 94
 
My partner (North) opened 3NT. The idea behind the bid is that you have a 7 trick hand and all you need is 2 tricks from partner to make your contract. In addition, it has an excellent preemptive value as the opponents are forced to the 4 level if they want to compete. Also, if partner is strong, then there are chances of playing in game or slam in one of the minors.
 
East doubled and I had a decision to make. My partner has a 7 card suit headed by the AKQ in one of the minors. As far as I was concerned it could be either of them. Before the lesson, I would have taken a chance on passing and hoping that partner had a 7 card club suit and maybe a queen doubleton diamond.
 
But I remembered the lesson and realized that because I do not have cover in one suit (either clubs or diamonds) I must take it out. I bid 4 clubs and partner bid 4 diamonds – down one.
 
Can you see what a disaster 3NT would have been? East would have led one of his aces (the recommended defense against 3NT gambling giving him a chance to see the dummy). Even before seeing the dummy he would know that declarer's long minor suit was in diamonds as he has the KT82 in clubs. But after seeing the dummy he can see where his side is going to collect their tricks. So after taking 2 major suit Aces and 5 clubs the 3NT contract would have been 3 down doubled.
 
Thank you Motti for an average rather than a bottom!

 

Monster Hands
 
Whenever I play bridge with my children, if there have been 3 passes the last one will inevitably pass in order to play a 'goulash'. The cards are then not shuffled, just cut, and then distributed in groups of 5, 5 and 3. The distributions are wild and whoever buys the contract usually goes down 3 or 4 doubled.
 
Computer generated hands are more random and have the reputation of goulash distributions. This is not a fallacy – it is true. Shuffled cards tend to be more balanced because they are not shuffled sufficiently.
 
Moti Gelbard and his partner Talia Lebel were guests at the Jerusalem Bridge Center for one of our weekly Shabat afternoon tournaments. They had spent the first part of the day visiting the Israel Museum and after the tournament went on for a meal in a Jerusalem restaurant with the Best-e-Bridge team. I was invited too as I have been involved in translating their website to English.
 
In the afternoon tournament which we played the hands were shuffled by hand but unusually one of them turned out into a real 'goulash' .
 
My partner (Yoel Guy) and I were North-South and so were Talia and Moti. Therefore, we played the same monster hand.
 
Yoel and Moti both picked up as North:
 
S A
H KJ87
D AKQT9872
C -
 
But it was South who opened the bidding with 1 Heart!
 
Moti decided that this is the time (about once in a lifetime to use his expression) to use the 'Josephine' Convention. This convention was invented by Josephine Culbertson who was the leading woman player of the 1930's. He bid 5NT which asks partner to bid 6 Hearts holding one of the 3 top honors in Hearts or alternatively to bid 7 Hearts holding 2 of the top 3 honors in Hearts. When Talia bid 6 Hearts, he went with his gut feeling and bid 7 Hearts anyway.
 
 
 
This is what happened at our table and here are the North-South hands:
     
                                             North (Yoel)
                                           S A
                                          H KJ87
                                           D AKQT9872
                                           C  -
 
 
                                             South (me)
                                             S 632
                                             H AQT65
                                             D J
                                             C AK97
 
 
After I opened 1 Heart, Yoel bid a forcing 2 Diamonds. Moti told me that my next bid of 3 Clubs was an error. Holding just 14 high card points I was simply not strong enough for such a bid. One of the points was lost anyway as my singleton was a worthless Jack of Diamonds. After 4NT I had a problem. I did not know what the trump suit was? I bid 5 Hearts showing 3 Aces (the Aces of Hearts Diamonds and the King of the last bid suit (Clubs). Not quite sure what my 5 Hearts meant, Yoel decided to put me in 7 Hearts which turned out to be a slight underbid!
 
Only one pair (Shlomit Yudasin and Hanan Ben-Ami) managed to get to the ideal top-bottom contract of 7NT.
 
There are 16 tricks in 7NT and 18 tricks in 7 Hearts!
 
Shame that there is no bonus for overtricks in a Grand Slam.
 
 
Bridge Books
 
 
I love bridge books! I always have a bridge book on my bedside table and read a chapter before going to sleep. Every time when visiting London, I pop in to 'Chess and Bridge' and buy 3 or 4 books. Over the years we have built up a fine selection of books in the Jerusalem Bridge Center which are loaned out on a regular basis.
 
There have been many outstanding bridge writers over the years – the legendary Terence Reese, Charles Goren (I have a 1947 signed copy of one of his books), Victor Mollo, Hugh Kelsey, and Edwin Kantar – but in my mind there is no better nor is there a more prolific author than David Bird.  
 
David's most famous series concerns the bridge playing monks of St Titus in which you can either learn from the fascinating hands that he presents or simply have a good laugh from the exploits of the obnoxious Abbot, the cunning and deceptive Brother Lucius, the wild bidder - the Italian monk, Brother Paulo - or the inspired youngster Brother Cameron. I have a lot of fun trying to place real life characters that I know to the idiosyncrasies of the monks.
 
Maybe in order not to leave us Jews out, David has also published with Ron Klinger, 'Kosher Bridge' and Kosher Bridge 2' and the Rabbi's Magic Trick' which follow the exploits of a brilliant bridge-playing Rabbi.
Coincidentally David Bird was born in the same year as I was and in the same place – London, 1946. He has written over 110 bridge books and is bridge correspondent for the Mail on Sunday and the London Evening Standard. He has co-written books with many of the world's top players, including Terence Reese, Ron Klinger, Geir Helgemo, Tony Forrester, Omar Sharif, Martin Hoffman and Boye Brogland.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here is an interesting tip from 'Inspired Cardplay' that David wrote with Martin Hoffman (reproduced with permission) ©
 
TOP TIP
 
There are many situations where the defenders can make declarer believe that a finesse has succeeded thereby drawing him into a losing line of play. Suppose dummy holds A-J-9 in a side suit and you are sitting over dummy with K-Q-T x. When declarer finesses the nine, it costs little to win with a deceptive king or queen. Declarer may then hope that a subsequent finesse of the jack will succeed, perhaps wasting an entry or losing the chance to pursue some other line that would have succeeded.
 
 
 
It is all very well to play bridge on a regular basis and attend courses to improve your level but, in my opinion, the improvement that you can get from reading a good bridge book is no less important.
If you are going to read a bridge book, then I heartily recommend that you start with a book by David Bird.
 
A Double Sacrifice
 
84 pairs came to pay tribute to Nurit and Noach Maoz in the National Tournament held by the Jerusalem Bridge Club. It was a particularly moving event for all Jerusalem bridge players because Nurit and Noach were pillars of the bridge playing scene in Jerusalem and the news of their murder was plastered all over the media for many weeks. Such a turnout of players was a fitting tribute to their memory. The proceeds generated went to the oncology Department at Sha'are Zedek hospital where Nurit was a patient.
 
Many times one is faced with the dilemma: Do I leave the opponent's alone to play in their contract which as far as I can tell is sure to make? Alternatively, do I sacrifice going down for sure, almost inevitably doubled? It is not often that one gets a second chance at sacrificing but such a hand occurred on board 3 of the tournament when Maggy and I were playing against Irit and Yossi Neiman.
 
Here was my hand (South):
 
S 53
H 9873
D K9876
C JT
 
Holding my usual 4 points I passed.
 
This was the bidding sequence:
 
S                 W                 N            E
P                 1C*             3D**       4D***
5D ****      6S                P             P
???
 
* precision 16+ points   ** preempt     *** strong **** sacrifice
 
Now I had a decision to make. Leave the opponents in 6S or sacrifice with 7D? It is plain at this stage that the opponents are very strong and my partner is very weak. They cannot have any Diamond losers as my partner has 7 (required for her preempt) and I have 5- so they are distributed 1-0 or 0-1. My sacrifice in 5 Diamonds was intended to keep them out of slam, but that patently had not worked.
 
I rechecked the vulnerability and made sure again that they were vulnerable and we were not. 6 Spades is 1430 and even if we went down 6 doubled that would be cost only a mere (!) 1400. The chances were that we would take 7 tricks in Diamonds for 6 down even if we did not take any tricks at all in the side suits.  I put the 7 Diamonds bidding card on the table which was duly doubled and as we were missing the Ace of Diamonds plus my partner had only 6 of them rather than the expected 7 times, we went down 7 costing us 1700.
 
This gave us a 19% score, rather than the 57% score that we would have got if I had let them play in 6 Spades plus one. Oh, yes, my sacrifice could have been even more expensive as I could have pushed them to 7 Spades which would have given us just 12% or, even worse, 7 NT which would have given us a mere 3%.
 
Here is the full hand:
 
 
                                      North (Maggy)  
                                       S 2
                                       H KJ2
                                       D QJT542
                                       C 763
 
West (Irit)                                                          East (Yossi)
S AKQJ764                                                      S T98
H 65                                                                  H AQT4
D --                                                                   D A3
C AQ92                                                            C K854
                                        South (Brian)
                                 S 53
                                 H 9873
                                 D K9876
                                 C JT
 
 
Let's calculate the odds. There is a 68% percentage that clubs break 3-2 and 32% chance that they break 4-1 or 5-0. If the 32% comes up from the bad club break, then all is not lost as there is a 50% chance that the King of Hearts can be is finessed. So 50% of 32% gives a 16% further chance of success. So adding the 2 odds together (68% + 16%) gives the Grand Slam an 84% chance of success. A pretty good Grand Slam!
 
Learning experience from this hand:
 
·        If you are going to sacrifice do it once not twice.
·        When sacrificing, beware of pushing your opponents into an even better contract.
·        Don't preempt with a 6 card suit – it gives your partner the wrong information (I hope Maggy reads this article ).
·        Just because the opponents are vulnerable and you are not, does not give you carte blanche to sacrifice whenever you have a weak distributional hand (I hope I read this article).
 
 
 
Teams at the Festival 2012
 
Even though participating and sometimes directing for over 30 years, I always get a special buzz from the atmosphere of the Festival. The sight of all those hundreds of crazy people (me included!) who are willing to sit for hours on end playing bridge somehow creates beautiful vibes.
 
There has been lots of criticism over the years about the parking, the heat, the cold, the directors – and this year we had the awful noise which was certainly not conducive to good bridge. But, all in all the festival is run superbly like a well oiled machine and congratulations are due to the Israel Bridge Federation, the head organizer Assaf Lengy, the Chief Tournament Director, Ilan Shezifi (have you noticed how Ilan's English has improved over the years?) and all those who work so hard to make the festival the success it is.
 
As a child, I played a lot of chess and when losing I had only myself to blame. On graduation to bridge, if things did not go as well as expected it was always possible to blame partner. Playing teams, if the results were not as good as expected, teammates could be blamed. Unfortunately, in the hand below, there was nobody to blame but me. It cost us a lot, for instead of winning the match comfortably; we lost by a big margin. Let's see if you can do better.
 
The bidding went: (N/S Vulnerable, E/W Non-Vulnerable.)
E                   S             W              N
3S                 X              4S            Pass
Pass              5C            5S           6C
Pass               Pass        X           All Pass
 
The ace of spades was led and partner put down the following dummy:
 
 
S J5
H QT43
D AT3
C 7642
 
 
 
 
 
Your hand as south was:
 
S   -
H AK82
D KJ4
C KQJT98
     
    
After the pre-empt, not wanting to miss the possible heart fit, came a take-out double – 17 high card points plus a void in spades. When the bidding came round to me again, I had no hesitation in bidding 5 clubs to show my monster hand. After the 5 spades overcall my partner, Stav Rachmani, put me in the fine contract of 6 clubs, though the double on my left gave me a feeling of apprehension. This was not going to be easy.
 
So how would you plan the play of the hand after lead of the Ace of Spades?
 
My analysis was as follows: I must lose the ace of trumps (unless one of the opponents revokes before it is playedJ) and I have to find the queen of diamonds – assuming that the hearts behave. Trying to get a count of the hand and find out the opponent's distribution, I led the king of clubs which lost to the ace, then won the king spade continuation and drew trumps. Hearts were played which were distributed 3-2 (west had the jack 3 times).
So, east had 7 spades, 1 club and 2 hearts and therefore by elimination 3 diamonds. This meant that west had 4 diamonds and was statistically more likely to hold the queen of diamonds. But, he had already shown the ace and king of spades, the ace of clubs and the jack of hearts. Despite non-vulnerable against vulnerable, surely north, in first position, had not pre-empted with just 2 points – the queen of spades? I went against the odds and took a losing finesse in diamonds for 1 down. L!
When our teammates came over to compare scores, Neta Saxon pointed out a far superior line. Below is the full hand. Can you see the winning line?
 
 
 
 
                                  S J5
                                  H QT43
                                  D AT3
                                  C 7642
S AK76                                                 S QT98432
H J95                                                    H 76
D Q752                                                 D 986
C A5                                                     C 3
 
                                  S   -
                                 H AK82
                                 D KJ4
                                 C KQJT98
 
The answer is: After ruffing on trick one, play a middle club and not the king! West would be afraid to play the ace in fear of dropping a singleton honor with his partner. Then enter dummy with the queen of hearts (giving up on the possibility of finesse position of heart to the queen –ten), eliminate the spades with a spade ruff, play the ace and king of hearts. If west would ruff with the ace of clubs, he would be end played forced to lead either spades for a ruff and sluff or diamonds towards my king- jack. If he does not ruff, continue the last heart and then throw him in with a club to the ace and again he is end played. My teammates, Neta and Alex Tobbis were most gracious in accepting this enormous swing. On the other table, east did not open with an outrageous pre-empt and after the 1 club opening followed by a double, it was easier to locate the missing queen of diamonds.
So instead of making 6 clubs doubled for 1540 – a net gain of 5 IMP's, we suffered a net loss 17 IMP's on the hand. In a match of just 6 boards, one hand like that is an absolute disaster.
At least we went on to win the last two matches and earn a respectable place in the standings. Better luck (and better play) next year!
Working Hard for an Average
 
I had the pleasure of playing at the end of the year with Rena Haas in a National Tournament organized by Gat, one of the 4 Bridge Clubs in Jerusalem, in which, for a big change, the owners/managers of all the other bridge clubs in Jerusalem attended. The tournament was held in honor of Avi Raz, the famed pharmacist of Jerusalem who was one of the founding fathers of bridge in the capital.
 
A decade ago there were 3 bridge clubs in Jerusalem operating twice a week on different days and were not in competition with one another. In fact, I would many times act as Tournament Director in all 3 clubs without any conflict of interest. Then almost 9 years ago, we opened the Jerusalem Bridge Center which 'shuffled the pack', so to speak, since we were open 6 days a week and were competing with all the other clubs. This competition created strained relationships between all the clubs trying to retain their share of the market. Recriminations were rife and the competition between the clubs was fierce.
 
But, there were many improvements for the players who gained from the benefits of the competition. All the clubs made improvements in facilities and the price of participation remained stable. The competition boosted teaching in the capital and participation in the last 9 years has gone from about 20,000 a year to about 45,000 – more than double! Compared to the national increase of less than 10%, this is certainly remarkable. The level of the bridge beyond Sha'ar Ha'Gay has improved too with all the clubs competing to bring 'big' name teachers like Eldad Ginnosar, Efraim Brifman, Moti Gelbart and Gilad Ofir to run courses.  
 
Hopefully, a new atmosphere of positive thinking will mean that new players will increase, conditions will continue to improve, and relationships between club functionaries will become more cordial.
 
Here is a hand that I played against Martin Rotblatt (a club owner from outside Jerusalem) and his partner Malkolm Creme. We all know Hebrew but at this table we all reverted to our native mother tongue – English – mixed of course with lots of Hebrew words.
 
 
 
 
 
The bid went:
E                S                W             N
P                 1C              P              1H
P                 1NT           P              3NT
 
What would you lead, as West, holding?
 
S 764
H JT2
D KT532
C 54
 
I guess most of you would lead the unbid Diamond suit from a 5 card suit headed by the King. But Malcolm had different ideas and found a killing lead of the Jack of Hearts. I suppose he figured that he was so weak that he would need to find unexpected strength in partner's diamonds to be able to rattle off some tricks in the suit. Since I did not support my partner's suit, he was hoping to find something in Hearts with his partner – which he did!
 
Here is the full hand:
     
                                            North (Rena)
                                          S KQJ3
                                          H Q863
                                          D Q4
                                          C A92
 
West (Malcolm)                                               East (Martin)
S 764                                                                 S T982
H JT2                                                                H A974
D KT532                                                           D 87
C 54                                                                   C QJ8
 
                                             South (me)
                                             S A5
                                             H K5
                                             D AJ96
                                             C KT763
 
 
 
I was not proud of my second bid and maybe it would have been better to open 1NT with 15 points despite the 2 doubletons as I held honors in both of the majors. I had too many points now for either 1NT or 2 Clubs and not enough points for a reverse bid of 2 Diamonds.
 
Anyway the majority of pairs got to 3NT and on a ' natural' diamond lead they were quickly chalking up 3NT +2 - 4 Spades, 1 Heart, 2 Diamonds and 4 Clubs.  
 
The Heart lead opened up the suit for the defense and did not give me time to develop both Clubs and Diamonds. The Heart lead ran round to my King and I ducked a club to East to protect myself from the Heart continuation. But now East (Martin) made the killing switch to the 8 of Diamonds and I could see that if I let West (Malcolm) win he would continue Hearts and, if East held the Ace of Hearts, my contract would die a painful death. So I rose with the Ace and took my 10 tricks with 4 Spades, 1 Heart, 1 Diamond and 4 Clubs.
 
This proved necessary as running the Diamond would have been fatal.
Malcolm would have won the King of Diamonds and reverted to Hearts to put me on a guess – either I would just make or go down one - both results would have given me a terrible score.
 
So, half the field made 3NT + 2, the rest just made or went down and a few pairs ventured to 5 or even 6 Clubs which also failed.
 
So, our score of 3NT + 1 with good defense and careful declarer play resulted in a fair score - average. 
 

 

 

A New (?) Bridge Tip
 
Here's an interesting hand that I played recently with Malka Yaacov at the Jerusalem Bridge Center. The scoring was Top-bottom (match points).
After playing the hand, I considered that an important tip can be applied and I have not seen it in any of the literature (I would appreciate if anyone would let me know if I am wrong)
 
Here is your hand:
South
 
S 96
H JT2
D AQT972
C 83
 
You are NV against vulnerable.
This is the bidding:
 
N           E         S         W
1S          2H      P          P
3 C        P         P          3H
All pass
 
You are on lead after a competitive auction and it is critical to get the opponents down two as you get the magic 200. This will guarantee a good result because it will be better than any part-score that you could make in Spades. Partner opened Spades and then bid her second suit, Clubs. You have a doubleton in both suits and nothing really to choose between the two. Which one do you lead?
 
My tip is to lead the second suit not the first one. Why? Well it is true that partner opened Spades, and in a bidding sequence you would give preference to the first suit, but the opening bid does not promise honors. The bid of the second can only be made with some kind of strength in that suit.
 
Well I lead a Club - the second suit - and look what happened.
  
Here is the full hand:
 
          
 
                                      North   
                                       S QJT42
                                       H 9
                                       D J5
                                       C AKQ63
 
West                                                             East
SA75                                                        S K83                                   
H K754                                                     H AQ863
D 864                                                        D K5
C JT7                                                        C 942
                                        South
                                 S 96
                                 H JT2
                                 D AQT972
                                 C 83
                                   
 
East was encouraged to bid on due to the favorable position of the King Spades and West competed with 4 card support and the Ace in the opponent's suit. Both were hoping that their partner was short in Clubs.
I decided to lead partner's second suit with the 8 of Clubs from the doubleton. Bingo!
After the AKQ of Clubs I signaled for a Diamond switch by discarding my odd 7 of Diamonds on the 3rd round and declarer was already one down when I won both the Ace and Queen of Diamonds.
Now for the key play. If I would have led a high diamond, then partner may well have discarded and declarer can ruff small. But instead , I led the 2 of Diamonds forcing my partner to ruff the 'high' 8 Diamonds in dummy with her 9 of Hearts and when this was overruffed by declarer with the Queen, my JT2 of Hearts was promoted to a second setting trick for the 2 down = 200.
 
Just look what would have happened if I would have led a Spade. Declarer would win, draw trumps and concede 3 Clubs and 2 Diamonds for 1 down = 100. This would have been a bad score for us because 3 Spades can only be in trouble from a difficult Heart lead from the Ace-Queen. If there is no Heart lead, then North can even make 4 Spades. We scored a top, because I led Clubs rather than partner's first suit, Spades.
 
I think I made a big mistake not doubling 3 Hearts as partner bid 2 suits strongly and I have the third. In hindsight, it seems difficult to imagine that 3 Hearts can be made. 500 would have absolutely guaranteed a top.
 
So, if there is no particular reason to lead partner's first suit rather than the second, then lead the second suit.
 
Good tip? What do you think?
The Case of the Moysian Fit
 
It is always a pleasure playing in the 'Leagot', there is a special kind of ambiance in playing 16 hands against one pair in IMP's, rather than the usual 2 or 3 hands against a wide variety of different opponents in Top-Bottom.
One of our team's encounters this year in 'Leaga Artzit' was against the formidable Wax team and I found myself in an unusual Moysian fit.
A Moysian fit refers to declarer's holding 4-3 in trumps and is named after Alphonse Moyse Jr., who (in certain situations) strongly advocated opening 4 card majors and raises with 3 card support. Playing a 4-3 Moysian trump fit is often challenging since one defender often has as many or even more trumps than the declarer.  The declarer's dilemma is how many rounds of trumps to play - playing more than one round of trumps usually commits the declarer to a given line of play, hoping opponents' trumps and other suits split relatively evenly and favorably.
 
Here is hand 21 of the final session on 12th November 2011.
 
(N/S Vul) (E-W N/V)
 
You hold as South:
S AKQT
H Q742
D T963
C 3
 
You hear the following bidding:
 
North              East          South         West              
1 Diamond   Pass         1 Heart      3 Clubs*
   Pass           Pass         3 Spades   Pass
4 Hearts       All pass
* weak
 
My partner took me for 5 Hearts and 4 Spades – maybe a double would have been a better bid rather than 3 Spades. But, I wanted to show partner that I had game going values after his opening, especially as my hand was strengthened by the singleton Club. If partner held a Club stopper, then 3NT could be the best contract. He did not have a Club stopper, so he bid 4 Hearts opposite my presumed 5 card suit.
 
 Here is the full hand (rotated for convenience):
          
 
                                      North   
                                       S 962
                                       H AK2
                                       D AJ82
                                       C J54
 
West                                                                  East
S 853                                                             S  J74                                 
H J6                                                               H  T985
D Q4                                                               D  K75
C AKT982                                                      C  Q76
                                        South
                                 S AKQT
                                 H Q743
                                 D T963
                                 C  3
                                   
 
The lead was the Ace and King of Clubs. I ruffed the second round and found myself left with a 3-3 trump fit. I could see that even if the opponent's trumps broke 3-3, I would have my work cut out for me. I counted 3 Hearts, 3 Spades, a Club ruff and a Diamond – eight tricks. As so often happens in bridge, I had to disregard the axiom – ruff in the shorter suit - and I decided to play a Heart to the Ace and then the key play, ruff a Club in my hand. I was pleased to see the Queen of Clubs from East because if this was a true card which was probable after the 3 Club bid, then East had no more Clubs left in his hand.
 
Next came the Ten of Diamonds to the Queen and Ace and I now drew trumps with small to the Queen and small to the Ace. Then on the King of trumps, I discarded a small Diamond from my hand. I was not pleased that trumps broke 4-2 rather than 3-3. I was left to contemplate the Spade suit.
I could play a finesse to the Jack (probably a better than 50% chance since West has a known long Club suit) but decided to play from the top hoping that the Jack was singleton, doubleton or 3 times. Fortunately for me, both lines work on this particular hand.
9 tricks were in the bag and I played the high Ten of Spades. East had to ruff with the only outstanding trump but then had to play King of Diamonds and reluctantly gave the last trick to the Jack of Diamonds in dummy.
 
On the other table they played in the same contract for one down.
 
This swing of 12 IMP's meant that we "won" the match by 2 VP's – but unfortunately 2 VP's in 16 hands is a tie.
But, as I pointed out to our opponents, "We had the 2 VP's edge, so the moral victory was ours".

 

Give your partner
the chance to have his bid  

 I remember reading somewhere that the shortest bridge book in the world is the one entitled "Rebids after a preemptive". Meaning that after your preemptive bid all that is left for you to do is to pass.

 
I would like to use this article to carry this thought a little further on the theme of "if you have shown your values and partner has another bid, then let him decide what to do."
The idea came to me after playing the following hand with two delightful ladies at the Jerusalem Bridge Center:
  
                                      North
     8  
  52
 AK752
♣ K8653
 
 
West                                                   East
 AKQ76                                  92   ♠                                        
 AT8                               J9763
  86                                                   9543
    ♣                     942                           ♣    AQ
 
                                South
    JT543
   KQ4
   T2
♣    JT7                                                 
 
North South  vulnerable - East West non- vulnerable.
South (dealer) passed and West opened 1 Spade. North bid an unusual 2 No Trumps, showing the 2 minors. East passed and South gave preference for Clubs with 3 Clubs.
West, falling in love with her AKQ of Spades now made her big mistake by bidding 3 Spades. This was doubled by South  and West went down 2.
If West would have passed the 3 Clubs, her partner would still have a chance to bid. After 3 Clubs pass, pass, East would be able to reason as follows:
My partner opened the bidding and then passed so she has a 5 card suit and probably 12-14 points. North bid 2 No Trumps vulnerable so is surely 5-5 (or maybe 6-5) in the minors with close to an opening. South gave preference to Clubs and since he was a passed hand anyway he is not very strong. I have 6 points so the strength is divided more or less equally between the 2 sides. But I have a 6 card Heart suit. I can bid 3 Hearts and partner will not take me for a strong hand as I did not take any action over 2 NT.
3 Hearts would make for +140 – much better than going down 2 in 3 Spades for -300.
 
The point is that East knows all about West's hand but West knows virtually nothing about East's hand and therefore East is in a much better position to decide on what action to take. In the hand above, to continue bidding is correct, but with a Club stack instead of the length in Hearts then double could be the right course of action. Alternatively with a weak hand but length in Spades then 3 Spades could be the best competitive bid.
The moral: If your partner still has a chance to bid after you have shown your hand, let him decide what action to take.

 

 Don't mess about with Lotan
 
Have any of you noticed that it is getting tougher to play in our national championships? The pairs, mixed pairs, Imp's and all the other have become so much more challenging because of the healthy sprinkling of World and European junior champions. It is true that many of them play with clients but they raise the level considerably nevertheless. It seems like the only refuge left is the Seniors which give the average players some chance of success.
Anyway, my partner and I were playing in the second round of semi-finals of the Mixed Pairs Championships when we were facing Lotan Fischer and his partner.
I picked up:
             S 872
             H 65
             D J6532
             C KQ4
Quite a few points more than my usual collection of rubbish. As dealer I passed and the bid continued:
1 Club was followed by 4 Spades from my partner, and then 4 NT from Lotan. I passed and Lotan's partner now answered 5 Clubs. He was not quite sure what to make of this as he was asking for Aces and his partner was showing 0 or 3. In fact, she did not realize he was asking for Aces and simply bid her long Clubs again.  I could see that he was a bit agitated and when he threw down the 7 NT card , I happily doubled. Partner obviously had points for her 4 Spades bid and I held the King-Queen in dummy's suit.
I led the King of Clubs and waited for the one down doubled. I am still waiting.
Here is the full hand:
             S 872
             H 65
             D J6532
             C KQ4 
S AT                       S -
H AKQT432          H   9
D K8                      D   AQT94
C J2                        C AT97653
 
               S KQJ96543
               H J87
               D 7
               C 8
Lotan won in dummy and rattled off 7 Heart tricks. I followed twice, discarded my 3 Spades, a Club and a Diamond. Now came the Ace of Spades and I started squirming. Mercifully, Lotan put me out of my misery by claiming the rest. He told me that if I discard my Queen of Clubs then his Jack is high and if I throw another Diamond then he runs off the diamond suit. 7NT doubled made for a score of 2490 – an absolute bottom for us.
As I wrote as the subject of this article -Don't mess around with Lotan

 

Listen to your opponents
 
Here is a hand played in the Jerusalem Bridge Center in one of our tournaments and is very instructive, because it shows that we should not play bridge based on the rules we learn, but we have to listen to our opponents before deciding on the best line of play.
 
Here is your hand:
 
You have 16 points and you open 1 NT with:
 
S AK87
H A982
D K32
C Q3
 
After a pass from LHO your partner with 11 points bids 2 Clubs (Stayman). RHO opponent doubles. This double shows strength in Clubs and strongly suggests an opening Club lead.  You bid 2 Hearts which partner raises to 4 Hearts.
 
LHO leads the 10 of Diamonds and this is what you see:
 
S AK87                   S  Q432
H A982                    H KJ76
D K32                      D  AJ94
C Q3                        C  2
 
Well, this is not the time to count points anymore but to count losers. You can see one possible loser in Spades (if they break 4-1 or 5-0), one in Hearts (if the finesse does not work), no losers in Diamonds after the lead of the Ten and one loser in Clubs. In fact, if the Spades are 3-2 and you guess the Hearts you may even make 2 overtricks.
 
Our declarer did not take any notice of the bid or lead and after Ten, Jack, Queen, King of Diamonds on trick one, he decided to play a Heart to the Jack.
 
This thinking was based on the principle that with 8 cards missing the Queen, the correct play is to finesse. This was fatal. South took the Queen of Hearts and played a small Diamond which was ruffed. Back came a Club followed by another ruff and one down.
 
What did our declarer miss? Firstly South doubled for a Club lead and North, despite that double led a Diamond.
 
Why?
 
He should have reasoned that the Diamond was a singleton and there was a serious danger that South would be able to give his partner a ruff.
 
 
 
Here is the full hand:
             S T96
             H T43
             D T
             C J98754
 
S AK87                   S Q432
H A982                    H KJ76
D K32                      D AJ94
C Q3                        C 2
 
               S J5
               H Q5
               D Q8765
               C AKT6
 
So, in order to avoid the threatened ruff, the correct play was to play the Ace and King of Hearts and when the Queen drops doubleton then he makes 2 overtricks instead of going down!
 
By the way, it would have been marginally better to play the Ace of Hearts and then finesse because then North only gets one ruff and also the Queen of Hearts may be singleton.
 
So, the conclusion: When one opponent doubles for a lead or bids a suit, and his partner does not lead that suit, ask yourself, why did he do that?
 


 

 
 
           The Shakespeare's Elbow Bridge Club in Montreal
 
 
Whenever I travel abroad, I like to visit a local bridge club to soak in the atmosphere. I have just been visiting my son Oren in Montreal and he invited me to a game at the Shakespeare's Elbow Bridge Club - strange name for a bridge club - in the very Jewish St Luc section of Montreal. It was quite fascinating to see the set up. They play every single day of the year (except Yom Kippur !) and the tournaments are run by the very amiable Michael Efraim from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. No morning - no evenings and no siesta. A lunch light before the tournament begins and free tea and coffee and biscuits during the tournament. The club is situated on the fourth floor of a shopping mall and has a beautiful view from all the windows. It costs NIS 35 to play in one of the daily tournaments.
 
At least 80 % of the players were Jewish and they all greeted me in such a friendly way, it was a pleasure. Many have children who live in Israel or lived in Israel and some have grandchildren who are about to go or just came back. The club has capacity for 50 tables and is the 7th largest Bridge Club in North America. Despite the fact that it is in Quebec, we only encountered one pair of French speakers - all the rest were English speakers. Funnily enough, on an adjacent table I met Blanche Gulko who used to live and play in Israel but now lives in Montreal. On the day we played there were quite a few empty tables because the weather was pleasant and many had gone off to play golf instead! That was a stroke of luck as we had not booked a table in advance- usually they are completely full and only players who book places in advance can play even though it is just a regular local tournament.
 
They use Bridgemates for scoring which is a pleasure too after using travelling score sheets all my life.
Everyone is so interested to see their running score and how well they scored on each board.
Probably the most striking difference is the quiet. Despite the preponderance of Jews they have obviously been influenced by the Canadians and are very calm, polite, and quiet.  
They have not got a clue about Multi 2 Diamonds, and when they asked what kind of system is it? I replied : Standard Israeli.
 
Anyway, here is an interesting hand from the tournament:
 
    Oren (West)                             Brian (East)
 
 S KQT73                                  S   2
 H Q                                          H AKJT9854
 
 D AT74                                     D   982
 C AJ5                                       C   9
 
 
After I opened 4 Hearts non-vulnerable against vulnerable, Oren, who hasn't played much bridge for the last few years, simply leaped to 6 No Trumps. No beating around the bush for him in top-bottom. Instead of a friendly spade lead, he got the lead of the king of diamonds and the contract looked hopeless. All that seemed possible was that he would take 8 Heart tricks and 2 Aces for 2 down. But Oren didn't give up. He could see that his only chance of making the contract would be if South held the Ace of Spades and also had a singleton Diamond. So, after winning the Ace of Diamonds on trick one, he overtook the Queen of Hearts and ran off 8 hearts tricks. South was in trouble as this was the situation when the last heart from the dummy (East) was played.
 
                                      North
                                       S 3
                                       H ---
                                       D QJ6
                                       C T
West                                                              East
S KQT                                                           S 3
H ----                                                             H 4
 
D ----                                                             D 98
C AJ                                                              C 9     
 
                                     South
                                     S AJ 9
                                     H ----
                                     D ----             
                                     C KQ
                                     
 
When the 4 of hearts was played Oren realised that South was in trouble as she agonised for some time before discarding the 9 of spades. A discard of the queen of clubs would have been just as fatal as he could then discard a spade. He now discarded the jack of clubs on the heart and played a small spade from the table. As it happens south played the ace of spades but the jack would have been no better. Since south held a singleton diamond from the beginning, Oren made the contract for a top score.
 
Well done son, never give up even if the contract looks hopeless.
 


 

       

On Etiquette and Ethics
 
Here are 10 improvements that I would like to see in behavior during bridge tournaments in Israel:
1)      Tournament Director's starting tournaments on time without players arriving late and delaying the proceedings. In England, I remember playing in a tournament and at 7:55 p.m. all the players without exception were all in their seats. At exactly 8:00 p.m. the tournament Director came in to the room and said very quietly "OK, you can start now". Play began immediately in perfect silence.
2)      Less talking by Directors. I was playing in a tournament in Canada - 2 sections of 18 tables. After 9 rounds the director said "Please move to the next round" and every East-West in the room knew to skip a table. The Director did not even mention the need to skip. Apart from announcing to move to the next table the director's voice was not heard at all during the tournament.
3)      A more pleasant approach to players by directors. The players pay good money to participate in tournaments and sometimes mistakes - like revokes or insufficient bids - are made. There is no point in shouting at the players. It would be far more pleasant if Directors would show more respect to the players, to make ruling with humor and without emotion.
4)      Less talking by players and less body language. This is another word for cheating and has to come from the way we educate our new players and also our youngsters.
5)      Respect for partners. One of Modi Konigsberg favorite expressions is "I never made a mistake in bridge…..on purpose". Remember your partner is on your side. He wants to win just as much as you do. It does not help to call him an idiot or worse, it will only ruin your chances on doing well on the next board. If your partner made a mistake, he probably knows it before you. On the other hand, a short remark, like "well played, partner" or "good switch partner" can do wonders for partnership harmony.
6)      Less gloating and more respect for opponents. Shaking hands when the opponents make a mistake and demonstrably congratulating one another on a top score is very unpleasant.
7)      Less post-mortems. When the hand is over it is much more pleasant to arrive at the next tale with a short greeting to the new opponents rather than remain agitated over partner's play in the previous round.
8)      No mobile phones. How did we exist before they were introduced?
9)      When I am directing a tournament, I am very frustrated when I am called by one player, yet the whole table starts interrupting and trying to have their say. Don't they realize that they are harming their cause? If the player who called is allowed to have is say and the others listen and respond to the questions of the director, then the problem will be solved much more equitably and fairly. Those who interrupt or talk loudly are automatically judged more harshly by me and I am sure that other directors act in the same way.
10) More teaching of ethics and etiquette to our beginner's classes not simply learning how to play the game.
 
      
 
Trust your Partner
 
In my opinion the 2 most pleasurable moments in bridge come from:
 
A)    The perverted pleasure in seeing one of your opponents squirm when he is squeezed and he cannot decide what card to throw. You know that he is squeezed and whatever card he throws will enable you to make the winning play. The longer he agonizes the more you enjoy it.
 
B)    The pleasure of playing a defense in which the partners trust one another and as a result make a good score.
 
Today, I would like to show an example of B.
 
It never ceases to amaze me when beginners say to me:
"I didn't play at all today" or when asked how they did, they reply "No good, we had such lousy cards." It shows a basic misunderstanding about how duplicate bridge is scored. By, "I didn't play at all today" they mean – "I was not declarer today". This is quite possible. Remember when you play a 24 boards session then on average you will be dummy 6 times, declarer 6 times and in defense 12 times. But playing well in defense is one of the most important ways of scoring better results and generally speaking you will be twice as many times on the defense rather than declarer.
As for the "lousy cards", well it is true that the hands with lots of points can produce more spectacular bidding and use of conventions but at the end of the day what is important is to get a better score than the other pairs who play exactly the same hands as you.
 
Here is an example on the theme of trusting your partner which were played in the National Tournament in Ra'anana in honor of Uri Yariv (RIP) which was held in May.
 
You hold as South:
 
S QT3
H T4
D T8764
C A32
 
You hear the following bidding:
 
East            South     West               North
1 Spade      Pass         2 Diamonds Pass
2 Hearts      Pass        4 NT              Pass
5 Diamonds Pass        6 Spades        x
All pass
 
What do you lead? Well usually you would lead the Ace of Clubs but just look at that double from partner. This is a "Lightner" double asking for an "unusual" lead. Well, because it is often quite difficult to know what kind of unusual lead is required, my partner and I play that it is always asking for the first bid suit of dummy – in this case Diamonds. So, my partner trusted me and instead of leading a "natural" Ace of Clubs, she led the 8 of Diamonds and …... BINGO!
 
Here is the full hand:
          
 
 
                                      North   
                                       S 82
                                       H Q632
                                       D ---
                                       C QJT9865
 
West                                                                  East
S K9                                                                S  AJ7654                                 
H A5                                                               H  KJ987
D AQJ532                                                       D K9
C K74                                                            C ---
 
                                 S QT3
                                 H T4
                                 D T8764
                                 C A32
                                   
 
I ruffed the Diamond lead and my partner later took a Spade for one down. Just notice that after the Ace of Clubs lead, declarer would have ruffed and drawn trumps and only given you the Queen of Spades for 6 Spades making.
Thank you partner for trusting me!
 
 

 

 
"e-bridge" – An Exciting and New Experience
in Learning Bridge
At our pilgrimage to the Lot Hotel for our annual "Nofshon" at the Dead Sea this winter, I did something that I have never done before! How many over 60's can boast such a thing?
 
What was it? A one hour lecture on Checkback Stayman. Well, that doesn't sound so spectacular, does it? For me, though, it was. The reason is that I have never played Checkback Stayman in my life and up to a month previously, I did not have a clue about how it works. Funnily enough, a couple of months before, I was playing in a local tournament with Paula Weiss and after I opened 1 Club, she bid 1 Spade, and then I bid 1 No Trump. She now bid 2 Clubs (forcing) and I passed! She assumed that I play Checkback Stayman and could not believe it, when I told her sorry, don't know Checkback and have never played it before.
 
So, what has happened in the meantime? Oryah Meir recruited me to help translate from Hebrew to English, in her new internet innovation, Best e Bridge, This is a joint venture with Motti Gelbart and two other partners. The concept is so simple that everyone will be asking "Why didn't I think of such a brilliant idea?" What they have done is to take the best teacher in Israel (in fact, the teacher of all the teachers) and give bridge lessons for all on the internet. Oryah and Motti have taken bridge topics like, 4th suit forcing, overcalls, and Checkback Stayman and broken them down to 10 to 20 separate 7 minute lessons which can be ordered by the public and played at home by means of a subscription site through the internet. The advantage of this is that you get a private lesson at a very reasonable price without stepping out of your door. Motti gives the lessons in his very distinct and picturesque style, backed up by excellent graphics which make the lessons come alive.
 
What a great way to learn and improve your bridge! In fact, the Hebrew version is really just a pilot for the launch of this huge project, which will be distributed worldwide after translation. My translating job is excellent for me, because apart from receiving a salary for my work, I am getting free bonus lessons too.
 
Here is an excerpt from one of the lessons on Checkback Stayman:
 
Checkback Stayman – Opener's 4th bid
 
Now we will take the seat of the opener, and we will see how we answer our partner, the responder, when he asks us Checkback Stayman.
 
We have Queen doubleton Spade, King, Jack 3 times Hearts, Ace, Queen 4 times Diamonds and 4 small Clubs headed by the Nine. That's a total of 12 points. We open 1 Diamond, partner bids 1 Spade, we bid 1 No Trump and partner bids 2 Clubs. This bid, of course has no connection to the Club suit in itself. It is simply asking "Partner do you have 4 Hearts? And if you don't have 4 Hearts, maybe you have 3 Spades for me?"
 
If you have neither of these 2 holdings then bid either 2 |Diamonds showing 12-13 points or 2 No Trumps showing 14 points. In this example, with only 12 high card points, we bid 2 Diamonds. We now know that partner has 5 spades for sure and in addition he may have 4 Hearts. If Partner now bids 2 No Trump, we will pass.
If partner bids on our 2 Diamonds, 3 No Trump then that is our final contract. If partner bids on our 2 Diamonds, 3 Hearts showing 5-5 in the majors and 13 plus points we will bid 4 Hearts. This means that in this hand with our 12 points, if partner won't carry on to game we will not be there. If we change our hand a little, giving ourselves the Queen of Clubs 4 times then we now have 14 points. Now, after partner makes any move to invite us, we will continue to a full game contract. This is because partner promised 11 points or more. When partner investigates the distribution and strength of your hand after 1 No Trump, it is up to partner to decide on the final contract after discovering all the details of your hand.
 
Another alteration in our hand – 12 points but now with Queen 3 times Spades, when partner bids 2 Clubs Checkback Stayman after our 1 |No Trump, we will now bid 2 Spades. If partner invites us with 3 Spades we will pass. Just look what happens when we hold, Queen 3 times Spades, King, Jack 3 times Hearts, Ace, Queen, Jack 5 times Diamonds and a small doubleton Club. This is 13 points but we can add an extra point for the doubleton Club and the nice 5 card Diamond suit so, after discovering the 5-3 fit, we can accept partner's invitation and bid now 4 Spades.
 
 
At the end of all the lessons is a summary. Here is an example:
 
To summarize:
·        Checkback Stayman is bid by the responder after the second bid of opener has been 1 No Trump which shows a balanced hand of 12-14points.
·        The responder will bid 2 Clubs and in doing so promises 11+ points and asking opener to continue to describe his hand.
·        The responder will use the convention to find out, amongst other things if opener has 3 card support in the responder's suit.

It is clear that the opener hasn't got 4 card support otherwise he would have supported immediately.

 
 
So what are you waiting for: Go to www.bestbridge.co.il and try it out.
 

 

FLYING LOW!
 
Just look at this hand from a recent duplicate game at the Jerusalem Bridge Center.
 
I was playing with Shmuel Greenberg known in Jerusalem as Green or "the egg man from the Moshav" who is also a helicopter pilot. Here he was in action swooping down to the ground with a beautifully judged pass which amazed our opponents.
 
Here is the full hand.
 
                  North (Green)
                 S Q987
                 H A1096
                 D A982
                  C 7
 
(Yossi)                           (Shraga)
S   AK1054                   S   632
H Q852                        H 43
D   764                          D Q105
C    6                             C K10843
 
                       South (me)
                       S J
                       H KJ7
                       D KJ3
                       C AQJ952
 
East-West were vulnerable and North-South non-vulnerable - very
critical in this situation. North, the dealer, passed of course with
his 10 points as did East. I opened 1 Club and Yossi my opponent bid a "normal" overcall of 1 Spade. Not a bad bid I suppose, with the regulation 9 + points, a 5 card suit headed by the Ace and King and with the additional bonus of a singleton in my suit. Green now passed as did west and I was looking at my lovely 6 card suit. But in these situations I play that a double in this position is automatic.
 
This double is a protective double which has become necessary since the introduction of negative doubles.
 
I spoke to Eitan Orenstein once about this situation and he told me
that the double is not automatic and should be made only when I hold less than 3 cards in the opponent's suit. This means if you have shortness in the overcaller's suit, it could well be that partner
holds a trump stack over the overcaller and could not double because this would have been "negative" and would be taken out.
With more than 3 Spades the chances are very slim that partner has a trump stack and you should bid your suits naturally.
  
Anyway with a singleton Spade, my hand certainly fit the bill. With a weak hand and an insignificant trump holding partner would escape to the lowest possible bid – either 1 No Trump, 2 of a long suit or simply support my opening suit.
 
Anyway, Green with vulnerability favorable to our side, with his good defensive values, and his trump holding opposite an opening decided to convert my reopening protective double into a penalty double. This is very rare on the 1 level but he figured that even one down would give us the magic 200 – better than any part-score that we could make and since we were non-vulnerable 2 down would be better than any game we could make.
 
So the final contract was one Spade doubled.
 
Green led a Spade. Notice that he has natural trumps tricks so there is no point in leading the singleton club. Yossi took my Jack of Trumps with his Ace and tried hopefully a Club to his King which of course lost. When the dust had cleared and Yossi managed to scramble home with 5 tricks, he was 2 down doubled for a juicy 500. All the other North South pairs played in various part scores for 110 or 130 and some made part-scores in no trump for 120. One pair on our side even managed 3 No Trump for 400.
 
This is an exceptional case when doubling on the 1 level leads to an
excellent score. It is certainly more common after 1 of a major, 2 of a minor overcall followed by pass, pass and then a protective double which partner can convert into a penalty double if he has the required trump stack.
500 or even 800 in such cases can be far more profitable than the dubious game which sometimes makes and more often than not,
doesn't make.
 
I think we should all consider eating more eggs!
Dream session
 
If you can score near to 70% or more in a session against a decent field, you can feel pretty pleased with yourself. You need a few elements to help you on your way, the most important being:
 
1)      You and your partner have to be in tune playing solidly without misunderstandings.
2)      You have to take advantage of the slightest mistakes by your opponents and
3)      You need a good healthy quota of luck.
 
Obviously number 3 is the most important element.
 
In the southern district preliminaries of the Israel championships (Top – Bottom) I was fortunate to have such a session with my young partner, Stav Rachmani.
 
Here are a couple of examples of how it can be done.
N/S vul
Dealer W
The bidding goes: (rotated for convenience)
East                  South              West               North
P                       1NT*                 P                    2Sp**
3 H                    3NT                  P                    4NT***
P                        5 C ****           P                     6 C
end
  • *14-16 (playing "Puppet Stayman")
  • ** Transfer to clubs
  • *** Roman Key card Blackwood
  • **** 3 aces out of 5
 
What do you lead as West with this hand?
 
                         S    KQ62
                               H     987
                               D    JT84   
                               C     A9
 
You have a guaranteed club trick (unless partner revokes!) and partner bid hearts so he must have something there. Looks like a double might have been in order. You lead an obvious K of spades to set up a spade trick and when dummy goes down this is the full hand:
I was sitting south and immediately saw that I was missing 2 aces. A heart lead would have defeated me instantly.
 
  
 
                                        North (Stav)
                               S    ---
                               H    Q
                               D    K95
                              C  875432
West                                                                  East
S  KQ62                                              S    9753
H    987                                                 H  AJT52
D   JT84                                                D   Q762
C     A9                                                   C    ---
 
                                        South (me)
                              S AJT84
                               K63
                              D  A3
                              C  KJ6
 
The lead gave me a chance. I threw a heart from dummy, won with the ace of spades and led the Jack of spades. I needed the spades to behave, either 4-4, 5-3 or if they were 6-2 then the hand which was short in spades would have to be void or singleton ace in clubs. Fortunately they were 4-4 so when West covered my Jack, I ruffed in dummy and returned to my hand to lead the winning 10 of spades and discard my losing Queen of hearts. I could now give up a club, ruff a diamond and dummy was high. An absolute top score. You an see what I mean by a good healthy quota of luck !
 

 

Where is the Queen?
 
Heard the phrase eight – ever, nine never? Excellent teaching tool but finding the queen can be much more than simply reciting a mantra and playing accordingly.
 
 
You hold                Dummy
AJ72                      KT743
 
Well, according to the mantra you should just play of the ace and king and that is the best chance that the queen will drop. (Nine – never – never take the finesse.)
 
Well what about:
 
You hold                  Dummy
AJ72                         KT64
 
Now you should play for the finesse which gives you a better chance of finding the queen than finding the queen doubleton (eight- ever). It helps if the queen happens to drop on the floor or if you get a peek at the opponent's cards and then you know exactly which way to take the finesse. Sometimes you can also get an indication from the bidding or lack of bidding from your opponents.
 
The hands:
Declarer                                  Dummy
 
S AJT                                     S KQ9
H A84                                    H 63
D KQ9                                   D AJT
C AJ72                                  C KT743
 
The bidding:
North       West          South       East
3 Hearts      x              Pass         4NT
Pass         5 Hearts       Pass        6NT
 
 
North leads the King of hearts. You count 3 spades, 1 heart, 3 diamonds and 2 clubs = 9 tricks. Even if you finesse to through north and the queen of clubs loses to south you will only have 11 tricks even though south will now be out of hearts.
Anyway, according to the mantra, you should play for the drop of the queen of clubs. But since North bid 3 hearts he has 7 known cards (hearts) and 6 unknown.  So South is more likely to hold the queen. Finesse against South and pray. Too bad - the queen is with North and you lose to the queen of clubs and an avalanche of hearts.
So how do you make this contract against any distribution? The answer is to make some detective work. Play 3 rounds of spades and see how many times North follows suit. Now play 3 rounds of diamonds and again see how many times he follows suit.
 
 
 
 
 
Let's say he follows twice in spades and twice in diamonds. Now you know that he had 7 hearts, 2 spades and 2 diamonds. He started with 13 cards so you know that he started with exactly 2 clubs. Play for the drop.
 
Let's say he follows 3 times in spades and 3 times in diamonds. Now you know he started with 7 hearts, 3 spades and 3 diamonds and therefore no clubs. Finesse against South
 
Let's say he only follows with one spade and one diamond. Now you know he started with 4 clubs. Finesse against North.
 
 
Finally, if he follows to 2 spades and 3 diamonds (or 3 diamonds and 2 spades) then you know he has only 1 club. Play the king and run the 10.
Just note that you only need to observe and count the cards from North.
 
 
What do you do if he pre-emptied with only 6 hearts? You should still be able to get the right count but if not then congratulate him on his fine bid. If you succeed in your play your partner should congratulate you on your fine play.
 
Compliments in bridge rather than criticism, wouldn't that be nice?
 
 
 
Hands from the Israel Championships.
 
On the weekend of the 21st and 22nd May my wife Maggy and I played in the Israel championships. It was a very tough level even in section B. IMP's can be a very cruel tournament because you can lose so much on just a single board, especially after working arduously to scrape some single IMP's on part scores and overtricks. Then a slam comes along and you lose 12 IMP's in one shot.
Aviv Dvir partnered by Ilan Heller scored such a 12 IMP's hand against us – Aviv made an excellent recovery after his partner Ilan put him in an ambitious slam.
Here is the hand (rotated for convenience):
         All Vul                 North (Ilan)
         Dealer               S Q73
          South                 H QT4
                           D J9764
                           C K6
 
West (me)                                   East (Maggy)
S J86                                            S 54
H J7532                                       H K98
D T8                                            D K32
C Q95                                          C JT432
 
                              South (Aviv)
                             S AKT92
                              H A6
                              D AQ5
                              C A87
 
The bidding:
South         West      North      East
  2 D (strong) P         3 D        P
   3 S               P         4NT       P
   5 D               P         6 S        end
21 points opposite 8 points in balanced distribution – a very ambitious slam indeed especially since they are missing 2 kings.
I was faced with an unpalatable lead round to the strength of declarer and remembering the advice of my late friend Yvonne Simhon "when you don't know what to lead, then you should lead your longest suit". I duly led a small heart and then put declarer to his first dilemma – to play the 10 or the queen? He wrongly guessed the queen which was duly covered by the king leaving me with the jack now high. Aviv was now facing a heart loser and a possible diamond loser as well as needing to ruff a club. First things first: club to the king, ace of clubs and club ruff. Now he played a small spade to the queen and small diamond to the queen. The line that works on this hand is to run the jack of diamonds which succeeds as the 10 of diamonds drops doubleton. Anyway, having negotiated this hurdle it was time to draw trumps. He was lucky that the trumps were 3-2 and now he played the ace of diamonds hoping to drop the king. Again no such luck and it appeared that he still had to lose a heart and a diamond. He led a heart and I had to go up with the jack and all I had left was hearts. So I was forced to lead a heart to the ten putting Aviv back on the table and allowing him to discard his losing diamond on the now high ten of hearts. Good recovery Aviv!
 
Here is another cruel hand which could make or break your score.
        
        E/W Vul                 North
         Dealer                S A976
          South                 H KQ953
                           D 86
                           C T6
 
West                                             East
S T                                              S J84
H 87                                             H --
D AJ932                                       D QT754
C AQ843                                     C K9752
 
                              South
                             S  KQ532
                             H AJT642
                              D K
                              C J
 
South opens one spade (too weak to open 1 heart and reverse because the king of diamonds is not necessarily worth anything). West now makes an unusual 2NT and North supports spades (3 or 4). East now bids 5 clubs or 5 diamonds and south bids 5 hearts or 5 spades. East- West with an eye on the vulnerability now either bids the small minor slam or not.
The north-south's who were left to play 5 hearts or spades gain 7 IMP's or if doubled 10 IMP's. By the way, 5 hearts is impregnable but 5 spades can go down after a heart lead which is ruffed.
The courageous East –West's (only 3 out of 18 pairs) who bid the minor suit slam gained a whopping 17 IMP's! What a swing!  

 

 

Redouble Trouble
 
The Jerusalem Bridge Center has built up a most impressive library of bridge books. This was established by Moshe Ben Osilio and I, when we brought to the club our large collections of bridge books when we opened in 2003. This has been augmented by the generous contribution of books by my friend and snooker partner Moshe Jaffe, former Chairman of the Israel Bridge Federation, and Rena Haas who donated a large collection of books when her husband, my friend and sometime partner Chaim passed away.
In addition, whenever I go to London, I always pick up half a dozen new books from 'Chess and Bridge'.
In all these hundreds of books the use of the redouble is hardly mentioned. It is probably the least used card in the bidding box.
The reason for this is basically that a game or slam contract which is doubled usually gives a good score and redoubling does not add any advantage, especially playing match points (top-bottom). In addition, if you get defeated redoubled you are almost guaranteed a bottom
There are all kinds or conventional uses of the redouble- the support redouble, the parking lot redouble (bet you haven't heard of that one!) and others, but the two commonest uses of the redouble are to show a 10+ point hand after partner has opened and RHO has doubled and the SOS redouble. These are easily confused and below are 2 examples:
 
 
1.        Partner opens 1 Spade, and after double you hold:
S   3
H   AJ 74
D   KQ 98
C   QJ97
 
You redouble to indicate a) You have 10 + points (in this case 13)
                                         b) You imply that you do not have support for partner's suit
 
The hand is now like an open book. Partner has 12+ points, RHO has 12+ points and you have 13. By elimination LHO has a beautiful collection of rags. There is no contract that the opponents can make and there is no guarantee that you can make game so the best strategy in this position is to double anything and everything that the opponents bid. This will usually bring a healthy 500, 800 or even 1100. It is important to note that any bid other than redouble shows less than 10 points and is of course non-forcing.
 
2.        You open 1NT and LHO doubles and this is passed around to you.
You hold  
S   AJ3
H   AJ 74
D   KQ 8
C   J98
Your LHO has 15+ points and your RHO has decided to leave in the double in the belief that he has enough points to defeat you and taking into account that the cards are sitting well for the defense with the strong hand after declarer. How can you escape? You can't bid a suit – your longest suit is hearts and you only have 4 of them. The solution: redouble (SOS -Save Our Souls) asking partner to bid his longest suit. Maybe you can escape into a 2 level suit contract and avoid the double.
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
   
                                           
COUNT YOUR PARTNER'S POINTS
 
In the first few lessons any beginner learns the Milton Work point count for hand evaluation (Ace=4 points, King = 3, Queen 2 and Jack =1)
Ask any more advanced player if they count their partner's points and you will probably meet a vacant blank stare. What are you talking about? On the one hand, they will eventually reply, I don't cheat and on the other hand I do not have x-ray vision.
But counting your partner's points is an invaluable defensive tool.
Here is how to do it.
 
Let's say we hear 1 NT – 2NT – 3NT where the 1NT shows 15-17, the 2NT 8-9 and the 3NT now pinpoints to 16-17.
You hold :
S 32
H 84
D AKJT87
C KQ3
You did not interfere because we are vulnerable and the opponents are not.
You count 13 points, the opponents have about 25 points so partner has 2 points (you should be so lucky, he may have zero). Isn't it nice to know that he has very few points, not by the yawning and the bored expression on his face, but by your own deduction? Sherlock Holmes would be proud of you.
Since you have now concluded that partner cannot help us at all, you have to defeat the contract on our own. You lead the top diamonds hoping the queen falls and if it does not you continue with the Jack. You hope to have an entry in clubs to be able to defeat the contract.
 
Let's change our hand a bit to:
S 32
H 84
D AKJT87 
C 543
 
We have 8 points and the opponents have 25 so partner has about 7 points. He isn't smiling yet but at least he has stopped yawning.
We can hope that partner has an entry somewhere – after all he has about 7 points. So we lead the Jack or Ten of diamonds probably giving up a trick but hopefully partner will get in some time and be able to lead a diamond which we will win and run our long suit to defeat the contract.
 
 Here is another example.
The bidding goes
      N                       S
  1 Club                1 Diamond
 1 Spade              2 Spades
 3 Spades            4 Spades
 
On lead as East you hold:
S   -----
H A32
D A6543
C T9876
The opener has about 15-17 points  and his partner (dummy) has 8-9 which adds up to about 24 and you have 9 – Total 33 points. So we count partner's points and find out he has 7 points AND most probably a 5 card spade suit. You have 2 sure tricks with your aces, so it seems certain that the contact will fail.
Did you double that 4 spade bid?  
Won't you enjoy seeing declarer face when he finesses spades against you, only to discover that you don't have any, and it is in fact your partner with the long spades? You are expecting to hear words of congratulation on your fine double, now that declarer goes down 2 doubled, rather than 1 undoubled, but most probably, though, you will hear partner say that he was afraid to double with "only" 7 points even though he held 5 spades. He had not read this article so partner didn't know that you had 8 points and that the contract was doomed to failure.

 

Brilliancy in Defense
 
 
Have you ever had a lousy session and thought "Things are going so badly, maybe I can make the play of the year and have an article written about me". This almost happened to me. It happened in the finals of the Israel Championships played in Ra'anana in April.
 
Here is my hand:
 
S 854
H 1092
D AKQJ54
C 9
 
My left hand opponent opened 1 No Trump and my partner bid 2 diamonds.
We play a reverted Cappelletti (I was told that this is called Multi Landy in Europe) which means that 2 club shows both majors and 2 diamonds shows a 6 card suit. The advantage of this system is that after 2 clubs if partner an equal number of hearts and spades, then he bids 2 diamonds and then if you were naughty and have only 5-4 in the majors then you can bid your 5 card major. This avoids playing in a 4-2 fit.
Anyway after 1 No Trump, 2 diamonds and the appropriate alert my right hand opponent asked if the 2 diamonds is forcing. Since it shows any 6 card suit, I replied "In principle, yes". So he passed and I looked at my hand again and thought, "Well, partner's 6 card suit is probably clubs so I am going to stay on the 2 level and I passed!"
The 1 No Trump opener bid 2 spades and my partner now bid 3 diamonds! Could this be her 6 card suit? No, of course not, this is because the 1 No Trump opener has to have at least 2 diamonds and I have six so there are only 5 left. She just understood that I had to have loads of diamonds to have passed her 2 diamonds.
  
 
The opponents eventually got to 4 Spades and partner led the ace of clubs and this dummy went down:
 
S JT32
H J8543
D 9
C KT3
 
Great! I could follow with an encouraging 9 of clubs (instead of the 2 or 4 which I usually get when I have a singleton).
 
Partner now led the 2 of clubs for me to ruff and I was desperate to ruff again to defeat the contract.
 
Now for the spectacular play! I noticed the 2 of clubs indicating a preference for a lower ranking suit (in this case diamonds rather than hearts) and I could see that with a singleton diamond on the table, we would only win one trick in diamonds. I had a further indication in that partner bid 3 diamonds and she could well have the Ten. I realized that my chance had come to have an article written about me. I underled the Ace, King, Queen and Jack of diamonds playing the Three of diamonds! Nobody was more surprised than my partner to win the trick with her Ten.
 
This was the full hand:
 
                            S K
                            H Q7
                            D T62
                            C AJ87652
 
S AQ976                                   S JT32  
H AK6                                      H J8543
D 873                                        D 9        
C Q4                                         C KT3                                     
 
                             S 854
                             H 1092
                             D AKQJ54
                             C 9
 
 
 
 
She led another club which I ruffed but unfortunately this was overruffed as my partner had a Seven card club suit rather than a Six card suit.
The contract went down anyway as declarer played a finesse losing to the singleton king of spades, (there were so many singleton Kings that day, he should have gone with the flow) but my moment of glory was lost and nobody is going to write an article about my brilliancy (except me, of course J).
 

 

Take me to your leader
 
Ask any tournament director what is the reason he is most often called to a table, and you will inevitably get the reply "opening lead out of turn". The reason is quite clear. You are busy thinking about what lousy cards you have been receiving all session, thinking about how can you do well when you have such lousy cards, and are disturbed by the noise coming from an adjacent table and you hear the auction 1 diamond, 1 heart, 2hearts, 3 hearts 4 hearts. You lead your obvious singleton 9 spades and the roof crashes in. TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR !!! Oops ! The first heart bid came from your left not your right and you have made an opening lead out of turn. 
The correct procedure should have been that you lead your card faced down to give your partner the chance to ask questions regarding the meaning of the opponent's bids. Had you done this, someone should be telling you that you can put the card back as it is not your lead.
Anyway, the tournament director arrives and really doesn't have to receive any explanations. He has seen this situation so many times that he wishes he had NIS 1 for each time it has happened – he would be pretty rich by now.
Now let's go back to the player who was originally supposed to be declarer. The 9 spades will be on your right and the director will now explain your choices. There are 5 choices:
  1. Accept the lead and be dummy.
  2. Accept the lead, see the dummy and then you play the hand.
  3. Do not accept the lead and insist on a spade lead from your left. (The 9 spades returns to the hand of the defender who led out of turn).
  4. Do not accept the lead and insist that a spade is not lead from your left. (Again, the 9 spades returns to the hand of the defender who led out of turn).
  5. Allow your left hand opponent to lead whatever he wants, but then the 9 spades remains on the table as a penalty card.
 (Aside recommendation to my fellow directors – In my experience if I tell a player that he has 5 choices by the time I get to number 4 , number one is ancient history, number two is medieval history and number 3 is fading fast – I find it is more effective and easier to understand by telling a player that he has two choices – to accept the lead or not accept the lead – and then to break it down to choices between these two alternatives.)
 
Since it is difficult to make a good choice on the spur of the moment, I strongly recommend that you acquaint yourself with these 5 choices, so that when the situation arises, you will be in a much better position to make the best decision.
What should you be taking into account? Here are some points for consideration:
If you are playing with a weaker partner maybe you will feel more confident if you play the hand (the Hideous Hog) or if you feel that your partner is better than you, then it maybe better if he plays the hand (not too many of these around).
Which hand is going down on the table? Usually it is better that the weak hand is on the table.
Is the lead a singleton? Maybe you do not want that suit played as you may run into the opponents ruffing your high cards early on.
If you have AQ in the suit led maybe you are getting a free finesse and it would be advantageous to not accept the lead yet insist on a spade lead from your left. If you have a singleton in the suit lead, maybe your partner should play the hand as the lead will be coming round (hopefully) to his AQ.
Also take into account that if you insist that a spade not be led from your left, that opponent cannot switch to spades as long as he retains the lead. This could be to your advantage.
It is perfectly legitimate to take full advantage of the opponent's mistaken lead, and I strongly recommend that you consider your choices now rather than having to make a hasty decision, on the spur of the moment, with the tournament director breathing down your back.
Hey, that's my wife you're squeezing
 
My wife and I recently played in a 30 hand National tournament in the Wizo Petach Tikva Bridge club amiably hosted by Yehudit Friedlander and Motty Paz. They supply lots of free food and hot drinks in very pleasant surroundings.
Hand 23 was traumatic for us as we played against Inon Liran who pulled off a very elegant squeeze against my wife Maggy on Board Number 23.
 
Here is the full hand:
                                 North (Me)
                                 S J8752
                                 H 87
                                 D 9762
                                 C Q6
 
West (Sigla Meliana)                             East (Inon Liran)
S 43                                                            S AQ96
H KQ2                                                        H AJT543
D KQT5                                                      D A3
C 9852                                                        C 7
 
 
                                    South (Maggy Zietman)
                                     S KT
                                     H 96
                                     D J84
                                     C AKJT43
 
Dealer South All vulnerable
The bidding:
South              West                  North             East
1 Club               Pass                  Pass                1Heart
2 Clubs             3 Hearts           Pass                 4 Hearts
All pass
 
After Maggy led the King and Ace of clubs, Inon Liron saw my Queen drop so he knew that all the rest of the points were with South including of course the King of Spades. So the finesse was hopeless and it looks like 4 hearts plus one. Inon though had other ideas and was out to make plus 2 – critical in top-bottom. He ruffed the second club and drew trumps in 2 rounds and ruffed another club. Instead of relying on the Jack diamonds dropping in three rounds or finessing (which both work) Inon now ran off all his hearts discarding a spade and a diamond from dummy followed by ace of diamonds and diamond to the King. Inon pointed out that if Maggy would have held the Jack of diamonds four times she could have been endplayed into leading Spades anyway.
  
Winning in dummy with the King of Diamonds this was the 3 card ending:
 
                              North (Me)
                                 S J8
                                 H
                                 D 9
                                 C
 
West (dummy)                                       East (Inon)
S 4                                                            S AQ9
H                                                               H
D Q                                                           D
C 9                                                           C
 
 
                                    South (Maggy)
                                     S KT
                                     H
                                     D
                                     C J
 
 
 
On the Queen of Diamonds he discarded the 9 of Spades and Maggy was inexorably squeezed in Clubs and Spades. She could not discard the Jack of Clubs because the 9 would then be high so she discarded the Ten of Spades. Reading the situation perfectly, Inon now led the 4 of Spades to the Ace felling the now singleton King.
 
Four hearts plus 2 scored 84%. It was not a top score because other players managed to capture the Jack of Diamonds but the majority finessed in spades to make just plus one for just 51%.
 
I posted a message on Inon's wall in Facebook congratulating him on a well executed squeeze but mentioned that it was not nice to squeeze my wife in front of me. Inon answered that next time he will be more polite  :)
 

 

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