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3rd/5th lead and… Brains (or how I met Ana)

 

                                                                   Bernard Marcoux, Sainte-Adèle

 

 

 

 

I have this lady friend with whom we often discuss bridge and, to certain questions from her, I answer sometimes : Brains.

 

One day, she asked me : What is this convention, Brains?

 

On BBO, playing with and against strangers, you have :

 

Q982

AQ103

63

A73

 

RHO   You     LHO   Part.

1NT     p          p          p

 

You are on lead and, really lacking imagination, you lead spade.  Which one ?  I usually lead 3/5 (lead the 8) but, playing with a stranger, I led 4th best, the 2.

 

Dummy

754

962

K92

Q842

You

Q982

AQ103

63

A73

 

Declarer calls small from dummy, partner plays the K and declarer follows with the 10.

 

Your partner then continues with the A on which declarer plays the J.  What do you play? 

 

 Look at your hand.  Which suit would you like your partner to play now ?  Hearts, obviously.  How can you tell him ? 

 

 You could say Partner, please play heart, but opponents would not like that.  Look at your cards again, those already played and those left.  Your partner has played AK and declarer J10.  How many spades had declarer?  Only 2, obviously.

 

What spades do you have left? 

 

When your partner cashes the  A, 2nd trick, you have left Q 9 8, all winners, but you don’t want to cash them now. 

 

 Saint-Augustine, it seems, used to pray like this : God, please give me purity, but not now.  I have aligned all my life along Saint-Augustine (J).  At bridge also, Saint Augustine applies.

 

Take a good look.  If you drop the Queen under partner’s ace, that play should wake him up.  You certainly didn’t lead the from Q 2.  You are not that smart.  When partner sees the spade Queen drop under his King, he has to stop and ask himself: what is my partner doing ? 

 

This Queen, sacrificing herself (I hope feminists won’t protest), is certainly sending a message.  Looking at dummy, with those 3 little hearts, partner has to understand you want a heart switch. 

 

 After a few seconds, he duly plays a heart.  Declarer plays small and you win the 10.  You immediately see the problem: 9 8 block the suit, you can’t go back to partner’s hand for another heart play.  Look at the hands after the first 3 cards.

 

Dummy

7

96

K92

Q842

You                                        Part.

98                                       63

AQ3                                   J7

63                                       J84

A73                                               1096

Declarer

K8

AQ1075

KJ5

 

 

After your spade queen play, your partner, knowing your 9 8  are blocking the suit (I hear you groaning How can I know that?), in hand for the last time, has to assume you have A Q10x.

 

So he has to play the J first in order to make 4 heart tricks.

 

Now let’s see what happens with 3/5 leads.  You lead the spade 8.   After the first 2 tricks, here are the hands:

 

Dummy

7

96

K92

Q842

You                                        Part.

92                                       63

AQ103                                J7x

63                                       J84

A73                                    1096

Declarer

K8x

AQ1075

KJ5

 

Your partner can now play small heart towards your 10.  You will be able to play the 9, then the 2 towards partner’s 6.  Partner will come back his second heart : defence will make 9 tricks with leads 3/5 and… Brains.

 

Good methods will never replace thinking.  On BBO, after my spade Queen, my expert (!) partner came back… spade. 

 

Declarer was the only one to congratulate me for the spade Queen.  Declarer saw right away the spade Queen meant that the heart King was dead.

 

I thanked her by saying that she, at least, had seen the play.  Declarer was Ana Roth.  And that is why you can now read my articles on the Argentinian Bridge Site.

 

Thank you again, Ana and Fernando.