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 Lockdown League IV by Ben Norton

Lockdown League IV

The English Bridge Union are still running the Lockdown League, an online round-robin event consisting of nine divisions of approximately 14 teams each.

See if you can best some of England’s finest in the South position.

Question 1

  Your Hand
 J 9
 Q 8 6 5 3
 10 4
 10 9 6 5
Q: 1 - What do you make of this?

All pass

 Your choice:
A: J. Declarer probably has 18-19 points facing his partner’s two-level response. He surely has extra strength at his disposal and will likely get home if left to his own devices. You should go on the attack.

With your holding such a weak hand, you ought to try to establish tricks in partner’s hand. You should opt for one of the unbid suits, and Spades offers the best chance. You require slightly less from partner to succeed, and West is slightly more likely to hold four Diamonds than four Spades, for with the likes of shape, he would have responded 1, but 2 would be his call with distribution.

The J lead found partner at home on the actual deal, managing to set up his K Q x x x.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 2

  Your Hand
 J 7 5 4
 Q 5
 8 6 3
 K 8 6 5
Q: 2 - Choices, choices.

All pass

 Your choice:
A: 6. There doesn’t seem to be any pressing need to establish tricks on the go, so you should aim to put the ball in play with a safe lead.

It’s not attractive to underlead a side-suit King, even when partner has implied length in the suit with his take-out double. You’re not going to lead a trump either, so it’s between the pointed suits. A Spade could well give away a trick, but a Diamond won’t, being from small cards.

On the full deal, partner had the A Q J sitting over dummy’s King. A Diamond lead and Spade return would establish an entry to your hand for a further Diamond lead, taking the first four tricks. On a Spade lead, you wouldn’t be able to lead Diamonds enough times from your side.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 3

  Your Hand
 10 7 2
 8 5 2
 A 9 6 4
 A K 7
Q: 3 - A mundane Stayman sequence this time.

Pass3NTAll pass

 Your choice:
A: A. Dummy is unlimited, so you should err on the active side. A lead of either major wouldn’t appeal anyway, with both suits having been bid by an opponent.

You should lay down the A, getting a look at dummy and a signal from partner. If a Diamond attack is necessary, it can wait. Meanwhile, leading from A x x x is rarely a good idea, with it being more liable to give away a trick than do anything positive.

On the actual deal, North had five Clubs and the A as an entry, so leading Ace, King and another Club would defeat the contract. Any other lead would blow a critical tempo.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 4

  Your Hand
 Q 10 8 4 3
 J 9 4
 J 9 7 3
Q: 4 - You might have doubled 4, but don’t let that distract you from beating it.

Pass4All pass

 Your choice:
A: 3. When you hold extraordinary length in trumps and a tenuous holding you’d prefer not to lead away from, it’s often best to try to shorten your trumps by taking ruffs. This way, you’re less likely to be trump-bound in the endgame, forced to lead from your Spades into declarer’s tenace, perhaps multiple times.

Lead a Club, in the hope that partner will be able to provide a ruff or two, using his outside strength. You might then score the expected three trump tricks. Partner’s Heart tricks aren’t going anywhere, and there aren’t likely to be too many of them, given your side has at least eight cards there.

The usual advice is not to look for ruffs when you hold natural trump tricks. While that is the case when you have a strong, solid holding such as Q J 10 x, when you are confident of scoring the tricks you’re owed come what may, it often pays to take ruffs when your holding is longer and weaker.

A Club lead was the only one to set the game, preventing a trump endplay. On any other lead, South wouldn’t be able to take enough ruffs to reduce his trumps.

Your result so far:
Open Question

Question 5

  Your Hand
 8 3
 K Q 8 7 3 2
 Q 7 5 3
Q: 5 - Your weak jump overcall didn’t do much to impede the opponents.

All pass

 Your choice:
A: 8. Your overcall has given you some useful information for the defense. Partner didn’t raise to 3, so he probably doesn’t have three Hearts, certainly not a tripleton honor. In that case, your chances of establishing the Hearts are thin, especially if you attack them from your side of the table. Such a lead would likely blow a trick.

You had better go passive, and a Spade is your best bet. West has all but denied length in Spades by eschewing a negative double, so this is less likely to set up tricks for declarer than a Club. In general, there is safety in numbers.

A Heart or Diamond lead would let the contract through, a Heart by presenting declarer with a second trick in the suit, a Diamond by conceding a tempo and allowing you to be thrown in with the Q later on. A black-suit lead would give nothing away.

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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