Source: Australian Bridge Federation Newsletter

Australian Under 26 Team by IAN THOMSON
White House Juniors Amsterdam and APBF Juniors Bangkok Tournaments

Australia Team

Australia was represented at the White House International Junior event by Matthew Smith – Jamie Thompson and Nico Ranson – John McMahon. In a strong field of 24 teams they
qualified for the quarter finals, where they were beaten by Poland.

For the APBF under 26, the above was supplemented with a third pair Andrew Spooner – Tomer Libman. Australia finished 5th, 8 VP short of making the final.

The following hand from the APBF required considerable thought.

You arrive in 6Heart Suitand receive the lead of thediamond Suit2, noting this discussion would not be occurring if you’d received a spade lead.

At favourable vulnerability, partner dealt and opened 1club suit, and
the next hand bid 1diamond Suit. You show 4+ hearts by doubling 1diamond Suit
(transfers in competition), partner splinters, and you drive to 6Heart Suit.

After the diamond Suit2 lead, the hand can make if you can manage to lose only one heart and are able to ruff a diamond. You make a spade, three hearts, a diamond, six clubs and a ruff for 12 tricks. How should you play hearts if they break 4-1, without compromising any of the 3-2 breaks? There are ten combinations of the 4-1 split: five singletons on your left, and five singletons on your right.

Summary of the success rate of logical plays:

Logical Plays RHO singleton LHO singleton Total
Small to theHeart SuitA: 1 from 5 * 1 from 5 * 2 from 10
Heart SuitQ from hand: 2 from 5 2 from 5 4 from 10
Small to the Heart SuitJ: 2 from 5 4 from 5 6 from 10

Summary of comparative success rates of the logical plays (eliminating the two combinations that always fail, and the one combination that always succeeds):

Logical Plays RHO singleton LHO singleton Total
Small to theHeart SuitA: 1 from 3 0 from 4 1 from 7
Heart SuitQ from hand: 2 from 3 1 from 4 3 from 7
Small to the Heart SuitJ: 1 from 3 4 from 4 5 from 7

* If you take the recommended expert play for three winners in the suit (in isolation), which is small to the ace, followed by the jack, you go down when either opponent holds Kxxx in trumps. They duck the second trump; if you play a third trump, they win and play a fourth trump, and that leaves you with only 11 tricks. Instead, if after the jack of trumps holds, you cross to a club and ruff a diamond, they will win the third trump and force the other hand with another diamond, and make their long trump and at least two more tricks for down three or more.

What do we know about the hand?

1. RHO has overcalled 1diamond Suit, and LHO did not bid to 2diamond Suitor higher, or mention spades. Therefore left hand opponent is unlikely to have extreme shape, such as four diamonds and
a club void.
2. RHO did not make a takeout double of 1club suit, but is likely to be short in clubs.
3. RHO did not make a Lightner double, therefore probably has one or two of three missing clubs. LHO did not lead a club.
4. We have 25 HCP and they have 15 HCP.
5. LHO has led a small diamond, not a spade.
6. Opponents are vulnerable, we are not vulnerable.
7. It is unlikely that this slam has been bid at the other table. Therefore, you are playing for a 22-imp swing (plus or minus 11).

Constructing the opponents shape and high cards:
1. Probable club distribution: LHO two, RHO one.
2. We are missing ten diamonds, and they were not raised by LHO. Likely distribution is 4-6 or 3-7 (with a hand not good enough to preempt at adverse vulnerability).
3. Spades are 5-3 or 4-4, possibly 6-2, but LHO did not bid 1Spade Suit.
4. Hearts are unknown, except RHO probably has 3+ spades, 6+ diamonds and one club, making it unlikely that he holds four hearts.
5. Honour card distribution is more difficult to assess, but when you play a small diamond from dummy the ten is played on your right, which could be from diamond SuitQJ10 or diamond SuitKJ10
(attempting to find the location of the queen). Spade honours are probably split, as LHO may have led Spade SuitKQ.

Conclusion from the above:
• Likely, only your LHO can hold four trumps.
• The location of Heart SuitK is unknown.
• If trumps break 3-2, the play in trumps is unlikely to matter.

This reduces the choices to playing queen from hand, making when RHO has the stiff Heart Suit10 or Heart Suit8, or playing small to the ace and making when RHO has the stiff Heart SuitK.

OK, we have completed our thinking, noting we have about 8.5 minutes per board. Your play!

Ian Thomson

For the record, the winning play was Heart SuitQ, with RHO holding the singleton Heart Suit8. – Ed.

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