Maritha Pottenger

North: J83 AJ832 543 K5

South: K1098 K954 K8 A84

Hand #10 at Adventures on August 28, 2018 was an excellent example of the mantra: “Do NOT cover an honor with an honor when you have nothing to promote.” South opened 1. North bid 1. South raised to 2 and that was the end of the auction. East led the Q against heart contracts. My partner, Kathy Moyer, correctly ducked as declarer. West played her singleton the A! Now West, who started with Q742 107 A QJ10976, had to decide whether to hope partner has the A, and try for a diamond ruff, or hope partner was void in clubs. Our West led back the Q which was not a success. Kathy took the K in the North, pulled two rounds of trumps, and led a spade toward Dummy. She lost two spades (Ace and Queen) and one diamond (Ace).

Double dummy it still makes 4 even if West gets her diamond ruff, but it is a very complicated sequence. It involves EITHER squeezing West in clubs and spades OR end playing East, if he ducks first spade, so that East has to give a ruff-and-sluff after clubs and diamonds are eliminated from North/South hands. Going through all the permutations would be difficult and probably bore many of you.

East: 62 A72 KQ105 J742

North: KJ Q86543 8742 3

Hand #1 at Adventures today was a lesson in: “Trust your partner, not the opponents.” You are North. West on your right opened 1NT. Warning: West is a “wild man” in terms of bidding. You pass. East bids 3NT and you lead the 5. Declarer calls for the A and partner drops the J, (You are playing upside-down count and attitude), while Declarer drops the 10. You are wondering if partner dropped the J from J9 doubleton or if Declarer is messing with your mind holding K109 while partner had singleton J. Except Declarer could guarantee THREE heart tricks if he started with K109 simply by playing low at trick one and playing for split honors. So, you are assuming that Declarer started with K10 and partner with J9.

Declarer now plays a diamond to his A, the J, and a diamond to Dummy. On the third round of diamonds, partner discards the K!!! What is going on?! Why would partner discard the J and then the K? Why would she not unblock the K first and keep the J to get to you? You are assuming that Declarer started with 109 doubleton and partner thought perhaps J before K was more encouraging in upside-down carding

Partner's next discard is a LOW spade—promising an honor in spades (upside-down). You follow to four diamonds while Declarer discards a low spades on the fourth good diamond. Partner discards the a low spade on the fourth round—probably showing the Q—A is unlikely. Now Declarer plays a top club and you are feeling the pinch on the second top club. Even if your partner has the Q, you feel like you need your K for an entry, so you are tempted to give up a heart on second high club. However, TRUST your partner. Would your partner really discard her LAST card in your suit in notrump? Wouldn't partner have discarded the K under the A at trick one, keeping the J to get to you, if she had only KJ doubleton? But how does she know I (North) have the Q you ask? Elementary my dear Watson. If Declarer had the Q, he can automatically guarantee an extra heart trick by DUCKING at trick one. Therefore, your partner, looking at the J and the K, KNOWS that you have the Queen when Declarer flies with the Ace. (Presumbly the Rule of 11 helps out a bit as well.)

So, if you believe your partner would have unblocked with the K, if holding KJ doubleton originally, you are forced to conclude that partner started with KJ9 of hearts and Mr. “wild man” Declarer has opened an ILLEGAL 1NT with the singleton the 10. Partner dropped the K to start unblocking, and then got rid of the K to forcefully tell you: “Keep ALL your hearts, partner! They are ready to roll.” Your partner knew at trick one (from Rule of 11) that Declarer had only ONE heart higher than your 5—and we saw it at trick one. So, your partner knew that you had Q8xxxx of hearts, and she is desperately trying to get you to keep them all. You can let go of ONE spade—remember partner has the Q—on the second high club. When Declarer plays a third club, since partner gave you count, you know she is winning the Q, so NOW you can ditch your K. She will lead the 9 to you and Declarer will go down two as he deserves for his illegal bid. [It is legal to open 1NT with a singleton ONLY if that singleton is an Ace, King, or Queen.—and even this was only recently permitted starting in 2016.] Or, Declarer can take the A before playing third round of clubs and be down only one.