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49 - MAY 2024

49 - MAY 2024

DOUBLES [PART 1]

Conventional uses for “Double” have proliferated enormously in recent times. Some thirty years ago, all doubles were for penalties. Then along came the lead-directing double, closely followed by the negative double and the responsive double. Nowadays, virtually all doubles, particularly…

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ENTRY Management [PART 2]

For setting up and cashing a long suit you always need a certain number of entries in the hand of the long suit. A single missing entry and your hard-earned tricks from length will sit unusable, taunting you for the rest of the deal. To avoid this pitfall, the technique of ducking allows you to save an entry to hand or dummy for later. It consists in delaying cashing the top cards and rather starting by playing small from both hands. If you have to lose a trick to the defense, you might as well do it immediately!

WNES
1♠Pass2NT
Pass3NT

Lead: Q.

With only seven sure winners, setting up the Diamond suit quickly attracts your attention. With eight cards between you and dummy, three rounds of the suit will allow you to set up the suit in case of a friendly 3-2 break but with only the Ace and King you need to accept giving up at least one Diamond trick. The correct timing of when you lose this trick is crucial. If you intuitively play the Ace and King before giving up a Diamond on the third round, you will then no longer be able to cash your established Diamonds because you have no entry back to the South hand. Give up this unavoidable trick immediately and keep your high cards for the second and third round of Diamonds. That way, you can take five consecutive Diamond tricks!

SOME SITUATIONS REQUIRE GREATER MASTERY…

WNES
1NT
Pass2Pass2
Pass2NTPass3NT

Lead: ♠4 (fourth best). West follows with the Spade 10.

What is your plan?

You have six tricks after the Spade lead and you need to set up three Heart tricks: one with the King thanks to the Ace being onside, and two more from length. Once this assumption has been made (West must have the Ace and the suit must break 3-3), turn your attention to communication with the dummy. If you start with a Heart to the King, you can no longer play a third round to set up the suit without using up the only side suit entry to dummy (the Diamond Ace). Save an entry to dummy by ducking the first trick. Only on the second round of the suit will you play small to the King.

WNES
2♣
Pass2Pass2♠
Pass3♠Pass4♣
Pass4Pass4NT
Pass5Pass5NT
Pass6Pass6♠

Lead: J.

What is your plan?


If you plan to play Ace-King of Diamonds and ruff a Diamond, you rely on the suit breaking 3-3 (36%). By ducking a Diamond first, you give yourself the opportunity to establish the suit even if it splits 4-2 (48% + 36% = 84%). But be careful not to play two rounds of trumps beforehand (Ace and Queen), as the defense might play a third when in with a Diamond and ruin your plan. After the Ace of Spades (everyone follows), duck a Diamond, win the Heart return, cash the Queen of Spades, and continue with a Diamond to the Ace and a Diamond ruff, go back to dummy with the Spade King and claim.

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Julien Bernard
Articles: 12

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