Source:MAGAZINE Autumn 2010
There is much more to discarding than sending a message to partner. You must make sure you keep the right number of cards in each suit to avoid giving declarer unnecessary extra tricks.
I am afraid there is no substitute for counting (sorry!), but here a some general pointers to help you to retain the right cards:
(a) Keep equal length with dummy – provided your highest card is higher than dummy’s lowest card.
(b) Do not throw from four-card suits. The most likely suit-pattern around the table (like hand-pattern) is 4432 – by far. Keep your four to match the opponent’s four.
(c) Throw from long, weak suits. Players are wont to keep hold of long suits in notrumps even when they have no vestige of an entry. Don’t bother – it’s pointless.
(d) Do not void yourself in a suit (when you have no trumps). When you show out, the suit will become an open book for declarer.
Dealer South Neither Vul
|K Q 7 3
8 6 2
K J 10 2
|J 10 6
Q J 10 6
9 8 4 3
|8 5 4 2
K 9 4
J 10 6
8 5 3
A 7 5
K Q 7 2
A Q 9 6
(1) Balanced 19 points, or possibly a tad less based on good diamonds.
(2) Quantitative notrump slam invite (not aceasking following notrumps). North knows that the partnership are one shy of the 33 point 6NT guideline, but likes the honour structure in his two four-card suits.
(3) Why not bid 6
– in case partner has four cards? Here the 4-4 fit 6
would make 12 tricks – the extra ruffing trick making the difference.
On our deal, West led the queen of hearts v 6NT and declarer correctly ducked, winning the ten of hearts continuation with the ace. He counted 11 tricks and had to hope for a bad discard or a squeeze for his twelfth.
Declarer cashed four rounds of clubs. It would have been all-too easy for West to let go one of those four grotty diamonds. However discarding from a four-card suit is not a good idea [point (b) above], all the more so when declarer bid the suit. West let go a spade and a heart. It would have been all-too easy for East to let go a spade but that, too, would have been fatal. However East could see that his eight of spades would beat dummy’s seven on the fourth round [point
(a) above] and let go a diamond. There was nothing declarer could do but cash his ace-king-queens in spades and diamonds. Down one.
Footnote: If either defender voids hearts, then their partner will be subject to a squeeze between hearts and their four card suit.