I donŐt know why it is but I often find the first hand of an eveningŐs bridge to be amongst the most difficult. I suppose itŐs because what passes for my brain takes some time to warm up these days but I suspect most of us hope not to get the grand slam hand on the first board!
Anyway this was the first board that we played at Wells last Tuesday.
S 6 S T987
H J9742 H
D AQJ6 D T9875
C AJ4 C 7652
Dealer North Love all
North East South West
1S Pass 2H(!) Pass
4D Pass 4H End
Partner had a diamond mixed in with the hearts and thought she had a 5 card suit.! 4D agreed hearts, showed a diamond shortage and slam interest. This interest was not shared by South who perceived rather a deficiency in the Ace department.
All looked rosy. The opening lead of the S6 (an obvious singleton given the bidding) travelled round to the Jack and the heart ace revealed the grisly trump situation. Give some thought now to how you would play the hand. Partner played three rounds of trumps leaving the King on the table. She then switched her attention to spades and West ruffed the first one leaving herself with only the Jack trumps. West could cash her two Aces but that was that as declarer won the next trick crossed to the King of hearts and enjoyed the rest of the spade suit.
It didnŐt actually happen like that - we went two down! – but the hand is a good example of the importance of not panicking when a violent trump break emerges.
With correct bidding 4H would have been played by North and then the contract cannot be made against keen defence following the lead of the ten of diamonds because declarer is now forced to use his trumps to control diamonds and now cannot avoid losing two aces and two trumps,
At the end of the evening the traveller showed three pairs in 4H scoring 8,9 and 10 tricks, 2 pairs in 4S making 11 and 12 tricks and one pair making 11 in 3NT.
The hand was played 6 times -3 different contracts, and 6 different scores !
I suppose to play in spades North must have chosen to rebid her spades rather than introduce the second major suit but itŐs a good effort to make 12 tricks in either suit missing two aces especially as 4S played by North should go at least one off ,the defence scoring two aces and two heart ruffs. The ten of diamonds looks a pretty standard lead to me.
And as for the pair in 3NT which is a far inferior contract to 4H and 4S – naturally they got a top! ThatŐs pairs for you.