Teams game – Swedish Championship
You are sitting South in Swedish champion Simon Hult‘s seat. After West’s 1♠ overcall, you easily reach a 3NT contract.
West leads the 5 of Spades and East follows with the 7, which you take with the Jack.
You should count your tricks…
One trick in Spades, two in Hearts, one in Diamonds and four in Clubs: eight tricks in the bag. There is only one missing.
What seems to be the main suit you should make use of?
Diamonds are attractive. You are only missing the King and Queen in that suit and you hold eight cards.
How will you handle them?
It seems correct to try a double finesse in that suit from your hand to dummy’s tenace twice. If both diamond honours are split between the two opponents, it will work.
Isn’t there sand in the gears?
Yes, there is! If East gains the lead even once, he will play a spade and your King will be drawn. In fact, East is the danger hand and you will make your contract only if you never give up the lead to him. In other words, using Diamonds requires West to have the King and Queen of Diamonds. This significantly reduces your chances of success in Diamonds.
Isn’t there another way of finding a ninth trick?
You have nice intermediate cards in Hearts: 10, 8 and 7. If East holds the 9 of Hearts with the Queen or Jack, you may win a third trick in that suit.
You must play a heart from the dummy. So, cross to the dummy with the Jack of Clubs. Then play the 8 of Hearts to follow with the 7 if East plays a small card. West takes your 8 with an honour (either the Jack or the Queen).
Is it dangerous?
No because West is perfectly harmless:
If he returns a spade, you win because you will take your King.
If he returns a diamond, it is imperative to rise with the Ace of Diamonds! Then play the 2 of Hearts to the 10.
This line of play increases your chances of success.
And what if by misfortune West takes the first round of Hearts with the 9 and switches to Diamonds?
Then fall back on the slim chance initially mentioned: the King and Queen of Diamonds with West.
Simon Hult proceeded as indicated and won the game. Here are the four hands:
What do you bid in West?
2♠: A jump two-suiter is recommended with this 21 HCP hand. This descriptive bid makes the sequence game-forcing.
3NT: Wanting to play in 3NT opposite Partner’s major pre-empt is not frequent. But here you have the means to do so. With a double-stop in each suit and a source of club tricks, you will probably be able to win this game without your partner’s hearts. Note, by the way, that you clearly prefer to receive the lead with your three tenaces.
Double: You have a myriad of “double” cards in your bidding box. Use them without moderation! More seriously, with this very strong hand, another take-out double is recommended and your partner will then be able to show what he holds.
3♥: A cue bid matching the strength of this hand. You will learn a bit more on Partner’s ambitions on the next round. Yours is to play in slam with Spades as trumps.
Redouble: Bidding 1♠ is possible. But with such a strong hand, start with a redouble instead, before bidding your spades. It will show a hand with a plethora of HCP.
3♦: Your hand is too strong for a 4♥ Splinter! The 3♦ conventional bid comes to the rescue. This is a Super Forcing showing a very strong spade fit (at least 23 points) with a remainder in Diamonds (by inference, a singleton or a heart void).
6♦: A very reasonable bet. Your partner jumped and you have far more points than promised. In all likelihood, Diamonds are the right trumps, your partner has at least five cards, often six.
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