Maritha Pottenger

Hands are from Adventures in Bridge, October 20, 2018.

Hand #15

East: 8 J8762 KQ106 AK4

West: Q973 5 AJ542 Q98

North opens 1 and East doubles for takeout. It is MUCH better to double with the East hand than overcall 2. You have excellent diamonds and perfectly respectable clubs if partner bids either suit, and you certainly would prefer a minor suit lead to a heart lead. Overcalling 2 with that awful suit is just asking for trouble.

South passes and West bids 2. North rebids 2. With a diamond fit and a singleton spade, the East hand is now a 6-loser hand, and so you has a perfectly reasonable raise to 3 opposite a partner who showed 0-8 HCP and four diamonds. South competes raises to 3.

West should be very happy to bid 4 for several reasons: (1) partner is marked for a singleton or a void in spades on this auction [visualization!]; (2) you have a singleton heart, so the two of you have NO MORE than two losers in the major suits; (3) you have a fifth diamond. Partner must have four diamonds for her raise of your earlier bid, so you can see a lovely cross ruff developing between your two hands.

If the opponents push on to 4, you will double for penalty. You know they are (probably) in a 6-2 fit and your Q973 will be of great nuisance value, particularly as you expect diamonds to be a “tap suit.” When you force Declarer to ruff enough times in the long-trump hand, the “tap”, you eventually end up with more trumps than she has, and she loses control of the hand.

Though 4 can only be set one, the opponents are vulnerable, and +200 would be an 75% board. If you don’t double, +100 will be only a 32% board, losing to diamond partscores your way and the diamond game, which was bid by 2 out of 15 E-W pairs, and works on your 21 HCP combined because you have the “magic fit” hands.

Hand #12

South (Dummy): KJ43 J1064 1086 93

East: 98 97532 KJ92 64

Partner (West) opened 1 and North overcalled 1. As East, you passed. South raised to 2 and West rebid 3. North’s 4 end the auction.

You led the 6. Partner took the A (denying the K which is obviously in Declarer's hand). Partner then cashed the K (lead the King from AK in the middle of the hand even if you lead Ace from AK on the opening lead). Declarer’s Q fell, and you played a discouraging heart. Partner switched back to the Q.

Declarer took the K and played one top spade, and then a second round of spades, winning in Dummy. You followed, but partner showed out on the second round of spades. Declarer then played the J from Dummy. Your partner covered with the A, and Declarer ruffed. After a third round of spades to Dummy, Declarer discarded a diamond on the good 10. Declarer then ruffed Dummy's last heart.

Declarer played the A and another diamond. On the second round of diamonds, you can play the K or the J to win (with the 10 showing in Dummy). If you are not paying attention, or if you lost the count of the hand, as did I, you play the J and endplay your partner. She will be stuck winning the trick with the doubleton the Q and have nothing but clubs left to lead—providing a ruff-and-sluff for Declarer to discard another losing diamond.

You must rise with the K—a Crocodile Coup—to “swallow up” your partner's doubleton Queen and be able to cash your J. My apologies to Kathy Moyer for missing my chance to be a heroine.

The full hand, rotated to make declarer South, was: