Lesson nine | Bridge with Angel Blue

Lesson nine

Instructions: Click on the link (the number of a deal) and after the movie appears, click on “Next” to have the opening lead. You can then click on “Play” and play the hand for yourself or by following my notes.

Deal one

East wins with the King of spades and clears the suit.

With so many spade winners out, you cannot afford to play on clubs.

You will need to score eight tricks from the red suits without surrendering the lead.

Take one

Let’s suppose you lead a low diamond from dummy, finessing the Queen.

All will be well if East has a doubleton (or singleton) King. Your Ace will drop the King and you can return to dummy with the Jack to finesse in hearts.

When the cards lie as in this hand, you will go down, even though both the red Kings are onside.

Take two

A better idea is to lead the Jack from dummy.

You should plan to unblock the 8 if East follows with a spot card.

You will eventually return to dummy by leading the 5 to the 6 and run the Jack of hearts.

The benefit comes when the diamond suit lies as in this hand.

Deal two

You have a sure club loser, a sure spade loser, and a finesse of both the Queen of spades and the Queen of hearts.

You also have to worry about losing a spade ruff to North.

Take     one

If you take the heart finesse, North will win and get to South Ace of clubs.

South will take his King of spades and give North a spade ruff.

Take two

If you reject the trump finesse by taking your Ace and conceding a trick to the King, you lose one trump rather than two.

You must be careful, however. If you play a second trump immediately, you will suffer the same fate if North has started with

K-x-x of trumps

So as a preventing measure, you should play three rounds of diamonds, intending to discard your spade loser from dummy.

For this to succeed, you must hope to find North with more than one diamonds.

If South has a second trump and he ruffs the third round, you can overruff and concede a trick to the King.

You will lose this way only when South holds two trumps and a singleton diamond.

Deal three

Your plan should be to throw off dummy’s losing diamond on your King of hearts and then ruff a diamond.

Take one

So, you must win the Ace immediately.

In order to execute your plan, you must draw only one round of trumps with the Ace.

If you play a second round of trumps with the King, you will go down against keen defenders.

When you play the third round of hearts, South will refuse to take his Queen of trumps and play a diamond or a small spade.

And then, after you ruff a diamond, you will find yourself stuck in dummy.

If you try to lead the Ace of spades and a small spade, South will take his King and lead his Queen of clubs, stripping dummy’s clubs.

You will now be unable to ruff your fourth heart, going down one.

Take two

The solution is to take out only one trump.

You can then run the top hearts, throwing off dummy’s losing diamond.

You will do the same if South ruffs with his Queen.

Take three

If South ruff with the 10, you overruff, return to your hand with the King of trumps and ruff your last heart.

Due to this careful play, you will then have an entry to your hand with a high trump after you ruff a heart (or a diamond) in dummy.

You will go down only when South has no more than one heart.

Deal four

There are two possible losers in spades and you would like to force East to lead this suit.

You can achieve this when East has five or more clubs.

Win the club lead, draw trumps with the Ace.

Cross to the Queen of diamonds and ruff another club.

Play the King of diamonds to the Ace and ruff another club.

Finally reach dummy again with the King of trumps, lead dummy’s last club and West discards.

Success is now guaranteed. Instead of ruffing the club, discard a 2 of spades.

East wins the trick and has no safe return.

East is now forced to make a lead into your Ace-Queen or play any other card, giving you a ruff-and-discard.

Deal five

I will use this deal to explain one additional vital element of squeeze plays.

Please listen carefully and stop me whenever there is anything unclear.

Assumption is one of the key elements of squeeze play.

In some deals you may need to assume distributions, in others you will need to assume also the location of honors.

There is no need here to assume the distribution since South’s bid showed minors already.

So the only assumption required here is that the defender with the long minors also holds the King of diamond.

If the King of diamonds is in North, there will be no way to execute the squeeze since North will have enough idle cards to discard.

Since West’s bid revealed a five card club suit, ducking the opening lead will promote the club 8 as a threat card.

The second threat card is the Queen of diamond.

An important element of squeeze play is that you must be one trick short.

This way you make sure that the cards held by the defenders in the suits that you intend to squeeze, will be busy in the end position.

Remember: if a defender has an idle (unnecessary) card which he can discard without loss when the squeeze card is played, then the squeeze disappears.

You must aim to lose the tricks that you can afford to lose, at as early as possible stage of the play.

Take one

If you postpone losing the trick, an alert defender may win and kill one of your threat cards or the entry to one of them.

In bridge terms, this maneuver of purposely losing tricks is called “Rectifying the count”.

As the contract of this hand is at the six-level, it will involve eleven top tricks and the squeeze will produce the twelfth trick.

Thus, it would be necessary to lose one trick prior to the play of the squeeze card.

Note also that it is best to lose tricks while the defense is still clueless about the line of play you will be using.

In the actual deal, ducking trick one is not only rectifies the count but also is an avoidance play.

It keeps North from having the lead (with the Jack of clubs) and playing a diamond through your Queen, forcing the Ace of diamonds, which, after drawing trumps, becomes the only entry to your threat card in dummy.

All in all, in this deal, the 8 of clubs will be promoted as a threat card ONLY after you lose a club.

Having precisely eleven fast tricks, the stage is ready.

Take two

In brief, after winning the second club trick, you pull trumps, cash the four heart winners and the two remaining spade winners.

The last spade will squeeze South on the eleventh trick.

During the proccess, you should avoid the mistake of discarding from dummy either the 7 of diamonds and the 8 of club.

When you cash all nine major suit winners, you should watch South’s discards to know whether the 8 of club is a winner.

If South discards his last club, you should discard the 7 of diamonds.

If the club 8 does not become a winner (i.e., South discards a diamond), you should discard it and anticipate the King of diamond dropping when the Ace is played.

The remaining low diamond in dummy will allow the Queen to be cashed.

Take three

If, instead, South discards a club, you should discard a diamond and let the 10 of trumps do the work.

The club suit lacks an entry to the threat card so you must preserve the diamond Ace to have any hope of cashing the 8 of clubs.

This is also an important element of a squeeze play: you MUST have entries to the threat cards.

Deal six

Only one action at trick two will be good enough.

You must lead the King of diamonds and discard the blocking Ace of spades.

Then run the Queen of spades, throwing a club loser from your hand.

If East chooses to duck a round or two of spades, you continue to run spades to him, discarding more clubs.

When you regain the lead, you will draw trumps in three rounds, ending in dummy.

You can then enjoy the rest of the spades suit.

 

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