Chuck Arthur

Defence 1

I do not know how best to present this hand. I want you to follow along as a few cards are played; then I want to ask you a question. That would seem to indicate that I present the hand as a BBO movie. The trouble is, I don’t seem to be able to create a BBO movie with a partial deal. If I use one of the non-BBO formats, I won’t be able to have you play specific cards during the first part of the play. Use of the Next button is a nice feature of the BBO movie. Another problem: I am not sure whether I want to give you the North or South hand as a defensive problem. Enough with my ramblings: I’ll just give the whole hand and you may comment on it if you choose.

 Some of you may recognize the hand. The game is IMPs; you are playing in a team league against some pretty stiff competition.


NS were playing standard leads, UDCA, and no Smith. Press the Next button above to follow the play to the first few tricks.

At the table, North continued a heart at trick 6 and declarer wrapped up 10 tricks. Clearly we have 5 tricks to take an defense. How best can we take them?

It looks like NS are cold for 10 tricks in hearts. Can North ever reasonably intorduce this suit?

One thought that I had on defense was perhaps South, knowing that clubs are going nowhere, should discard a club to discourage that suit. Which club should he discard? Perhaps a very low spot should encourage hearts; a very high club should say “spades”, and a middle club spot would be neutral.

Any thoughts?


john cunninghamNovember 15th, 2010 at 1:49 am

What is the danger of bidding on the North hand? That you may get too high, partner expecting more. Of passing? A (big) minus into their minus: a blind partner on lead. If you don’t bid on this hand, partner will soon be overbidding to compensate.

I dont have board 11 handy, but bidding is much more excusable than passing, I feel. Even at IMPS

There is a case for leading the club eight, originally.

WHAT is this discard of the heart deuce? You really shouldnt play partner to have passed such a good hand. Since your object is to set the hand, you need to keep that card.

IF you are playing standard carding, a high clubwould be the obvious choice. You might want to keep the jack, for fear of the ten being an entry to those diamonds. I dont think you have to fear that partner has ducked a doubleton queen of clubs.

Playing Roman discards, I would probably torture partner with (my highest) odd (attitudinal) club. I dont have a marked preference for either major, but I do want a switch from him.

Upside down carding? Probably the same high club.

That deuce of hearts was the card to keep and lead . Once you have dissuaded partner from clubs, there is a chance.

Debbie BennettNovember 15th, 2010 at 8:18 am

I don’t think +50 was going to matter if your side makes 4H. I think N should bid over 3D. The comfort of the 7th H should be enough. It’s a tall order to expect pard to balance when I’m looking at all of these Hs. You can’t be perfect over pre-empts, and didn’t the auction start the same way at the other table?

Chuck ArthurNovember 15th, 2010 at 8:35 am

At the other table, same auction, same defense, same result… push

Steve UngerNovember 15th, 2010 at 10:17 am

I agree that there is no excuse for not bidding 3 hearts. As for the defense, I agree that pitching a heart instead of the 8 of clubs was a major error.

Chuck GallowayNovember 15th, 2010 at 10:52 am

I don’ know whether I would bid 3H or not. (Do people sit up all night waiting to comment on your blog?)

David LindopNovember 15th, 2010 at 12:42 pm

North certainly could have overcalled 3H. The seventh heart is a big card – making up for the lack of high cards.

I think South should discard a middle club (the C8), showing no further interest in clubs and no particular preference for either hearts or spades (you choose partner – I have help for either/neither suit).

A club discard would make North’s defense a lot clearer. When the H10 is returned and East plays the HJ, either South or East might hold the H9. If South holds it, however, the contract is unlikely to be defeated unless South also holds the SA. (The CA is unlikely to be good enough – and South won’t hold the CA-Q and have discarded a club.) I suppose it’s possible South holds the SQ and CA, so that a heart back followed by a spade switch will defeat the contract, but I’d go with the simpler scenario of partner holding the SA.

Steve GoldinNovember 15th, 2010 at 11:29 pm

I am not a proponent of “light” overcalls of a preempt. If partner can’t back in, then we do the best we can on defense.

Given the carding methods, South chose the clear Heart 2 as his first pitch. I, too, might prefer a Club discard, but a low one might not get my message across as clearly as the Heart 2 did. However, my Heart holding has been compromised as result. So..when in with the Heart K, I’d lay down the Spade A before leading back the Heart 10.

Double dummy ? Maybe, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Roy HughesNovember 16th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I prefer a 3H overcall and don’t consider it light.

South can’t afford to pitch a heart; for one thing, if partner has some number of hearts to the AJ, our 5 tricks may be a diamond, a spade and 3 hearts. Similarly, he can’t throw a spade, where we could have 4 tricks. Fortunately, the clubs are trash, and I would throw one. I would like to give a neutral suit preference message; I think the 5 is best, since the 8 is the highest other than the jack, which you might want to retain in case declarer started with AKQx.

Chuck ArthurNovember 16th, 2010 at 6:08 pm


It is unlikely that declarer started with AKQx in clubs since he played the 10 from dummy at trick 1, and overtook with the King.

Andrrew Pe'trickNovember 18th, 2010 at 12:35 pm

The whole world changes when a preempt is made. High card points matter only if the overcalling side are both flat and 3nt is the contract. Otherwise it is tricks, tricks, & tricks … Shape and length and fit (double fit) is everything! (And yes, controls are the other key counters when it comes to extreme shapes.)

A 3H call is mandatory with a 7 card suit and 3 control cards. If it doesn’t work out, its only because the enemy got the first blow in.

We need new bridge theory whenever there is 7 cards in one suit or 10 cards in two. An in between theory is also necessary when holding a 6 card suit or a 9 card 2 suiter: cover card concepts help with ‘tweener stuff. The written material on extreme shape is way too scanty.

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