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 BAM by Ben Norton


Point-a-board scoring (also known as ‘board-a-match’), where each team is awarded none, one or two points based on whether they’ve outscored their opponents on a particular hand (regardless of the difference), is gaining in popularity. One high profile event is the Reisinger, played at the Fall NABC.

Many consider it a game for the experts, but in reality, the tactics involved are similar to those used in everyday match-points events, just taken to extremes. Take the South seat for these five opening lead problems, taken from the National Point-a-board teams, recently held in London.

Question 1

  Your Hand
 10 4 2
 7 6 5 3
 A J 8 2
 10 6
Q: 1 - What do you reckon?


 Your choice:
A: 6. You should be more inclined to lead a major after the failed Stayman sequence.

The Diamond suit harbors your best chance of taking tricks, but declarer rates to have length there and it would be better if partner, who has more high cards than you, could gain the lead and shift to Diamonds from his side of the table, through declarer’s strength.

Try your second-highest Heart. Who knows, you might even hit partner’s suit. If not, you won’t have done any damage.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 2

  Your Hand
 10 8 7 6 4 2
 J 4 3
 A 3 2
Q: 2 - What do you make of partner’s Double?


 Your choice:
A: 2. You have a lot in the way of high cards, including a trump honor, so it’s unlikely that partner has Doubled on power alone, even after this invitational sequence.

This ‘out of the blue’ Double is probably of the Lightner type, asking for an unusual lead. Looking at your hand, it’s not difficult to work out that partner wants a Spade ruff.

You should kick off with the 2, a suit preference signal showing a Club entry.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 3

  Your Hand
 A 10 9 5 4
 K J 4
 9 4 3 2
Q: 3 - What’s the plan?


 Your choice:
A: 5. Your Diamond holding is a very bad sign, sitting under dummy’s length. An all-out offensive is required and your best chance lies in the Heart suit. After all, partner can’t have much, so it would be futile to establish his long suit, which is presumably Spades.

Yes, East has bid Hearts, but he could have done so on x x x x or the like. It’s certainly possibly for you to cash five Heart tricks on the go if partner has a good three-card holding. If not, you stand to set the suit up. Who knows, you might get in with a slow Diamond trick (say partner holds the 10).

Of course, it would be a mistake to lead the 10, the traditional card from this holding. When an opponent has bid the suit you’re seeking to establish, it’s often best to lead a low one, thus reserving your high cards for later and not blocking the suit or crashing your partner’s honors.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 4

  Your Hand
 K 6 4 2
 A J 9 7 5
 Q 9 4
Q: 4 - Time to extract the maximum penalty.


 Your choice:
A: A. A classic trump lead scenario. Partner’s Double confirms that your side has the balance of power and West has raised with little more than a few Hearts. You should seek to cut down dummy’s ruffing potential by leading the A. Hopefully, you can get partner in at trick two to continue the attack.

Don’t worry about taking a trump guess away from declarer when he has the K J and partner the Queen. The trick will undoubtedly come back. Besides, leading any of the side-suits could be just as damaging.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 5

  Your Hand
 K 10 5 3
 7 4 3 2
 K 7 6 5
Q: 5 - Should you lead partner’s suit?


 Your choice:
A: 4. No, you shouldn't. East is prepared for a Spade lead and if partner has only five of them, you’ll be doing declarer’s work for him, picking up partner’s honors. The name of the game is passivity when leading against 1NT, so as to give nothing away.

Thus, a rounded-suit lead is out, either of which could easily blow a trick. Your best bet is a Diamond, from your collection of small cards. Who knows, you might even establish a trick there, eventually.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Overall Results

Your results:   out of    Average: 

What next? You may enjoy playing our prepared hands series.
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