BOLS BRIDGE TIP– Give Declarer Enough Rope By Tim Seres. (Thomas Peter Seres) “When you can see that declarer is bound to succeed by normal play, look for a chance to give him a losing option.”
Robert ELLIS, Charles HICKMAN & Tim SERES -
Robert ELLIS, Charles HICKMAN & Tim SERES –
One of the things which I remember about my earlier bridge days was a contest sponsored by the alcohol company Bols. The objective was to gather a collection of tips from famous players the purpose of which to impart some of their wisdom to improving players. I thought it would be interesting this year to revisit some of these tips. Tim Seres “owned” the Gold Coast Congress, winning the teams and pairs countless times over the life of the tournament. While sadly Tim passed away in 2007 his bridge legacy lives on in articles like this one. In the long haul you win at bridge by avoiding error rather than by being brilliant. The expert may display an occasional glimpse of genius or elegance, but he owes his preeminence to the fact that he makes fewer mistakes than his fellow players. Because bridge is a game of errors, you should try to develop the knack of giving an opponent the chance to go wrong. One way of doing this is by providing the declarer with a choice of plays in a situation where he would otherwise be bound to make a winning play. aaxx This is the trump suit and declarer starts by laying down dummy’s ace. If West follows small, declarer will play low to the king on the next round, exposing the finesse against the jack. (Declarer has no way to succeed if East has J-9-x-x.) West, however, should drop the nine on the first round. Now declarer may continue with dummy’s queen, playing East for J-x-x-x. The next example is also well known: aaxx
from left to right, John Lester, Jim Borin, Tim Seres, Ron Klinger, Gaby Lorentz and Bill Haughie
from left to right, John Lester, Jim Borin, Tim Seres, Ron Klinger, Gaby Lorentz and Bill Haughie
South plays low to the ten. If East wins with the jack, declarer has no choice but to enter dummy and finesse against the king on the next round. East therefore should win the first trick with the king. This affords declarer a losing option, as he may finesse the nine on the next round, playing West for J-x-x-x. Opportunities for such plays come along much more frequently than many players realise. The following hand occurred in a top-class pairs event: Dealer: South. Both Vunerable
  Spade SuitA K Q 4 Heart SuitQ 10 7 Diamond Suit7 6 5 club suit8 4 2  
Spade Suit8 7 3     Heart Suit8 6 4 3 Diamond Suit10 9 club suitJ 9 7 5   Spade SuitJ 10 5 Heart SuitA J 9 Diamond SuitQ J 8 3 2 club suitQ 10
  Spade Suit9 6 2 Heart SuitK 5 2 Diamond SuitA K 4 club suitA K 6 3
The Auction:
West North East South
1club suit
Pass 1Spade Suit Pass 2NT
Pass 3NT End
Contract: 3NT At this table South won the diamond lead and tested spades. On the ace and king of this suit East dropped the jack and ten! Not surprisingly, declarer assumed that the spades were 4-2 and he continued by playing low to the nine, hoping to re-enter dummy with a heart. But East of course ducked the king of hearts when it was led. The contract could now have been made only on double-dummy lines and in actual play South finished one down. The hapless declarer had fallen victim to a defender who followed the very profitable adage, ‘Give declarer enough rope… My BOLS Bridge Tip is just this: When you can see that declarer is bound to succeed by normal play, look for a chance to give him a losing option. It stands to reason that if you consistently give your opponent a chance to go wrong, he will sometimes take it! An interesting gloss can be added to Seres first example. Imagine that you are playing a slam contract with one of these trumpl combinations: (1)   K 8 4 2                    (2)   K Q 7 3         A Q 10 3                          A 10 8 2 With (1) you are naturally going to play first one of the honours from your own hand, and it may not seem to matter whether you lay down the ace or lead from dummy toward the ace. But by leading the ace first you are laying a small trap for yourself. East, with J-9-x-x will see that his hand is deal if he plays low, so he will contribute the 9. (Tournament players know this position quite well.)
Tim Seres and Mary McMahon
Tim Seres and Mary McMahon
Them you will have to guess the continuation. But if you lead from dummy on the first round it will be dangerous for EAst to play the 9 from J-9-x-x, because partner might hold the singleton 10, giving the defence a certain trick. Similarly, with the cards as in (2), it is best to lead first from North. If you lead low to the king, East, holding J-9-x-x, may give your a guess by dropping the 9. The play of the 9 from J-9-x-x belongs to the extensive tribe of obligatory false cards. These are well known examples. (3)                   J 5 4          10 9 3                                K 7                        A Q 8 6 2 (4)                   7           J 10 6                               A 4                         K Q 9 8 5 3 2  In (3), when declarer finesses the queen, West must drop the 9 or 10, so that declarer will have the option of leading the jack on the next round. In (4) the 7 is led to the queen, West must drop the jack or the 10, leaving declarer with alternative plays. The second example given by Seres (where East plays the king from K-J-x) has some attactive variations:     A Q 10 9 3     8 6 4 2                                    K J                         7 5 Suppose the declarer has reason to place East with the king. He may well begin by finessing the 9. To win with the king now is essential. If you win with the jack South will fo up with the ace on the next round, but if you head the 9 with the king he will finesse the 10 on the next round and you will make two tricks.