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Looking for a golden fit
Last week’s column introduced bridge to the newcomer. You should know what the following terms are: suit, trump and trick. You should also know that an ace is four high card points, a king three points, a queen two points and a jack one point.
From the example in last week’s column, also shown here, North had 11 points, East had 7, South had 13 and West had 9. It always totals 40. In my version of whist, South has the most points and becomes the declarer. He plays his hand and North’s hand which is called the dummy.
Golden Fit – If North and South have a combined suit of eight cards or more, this is called a golden fit and declarer will name that suit the trump suit. In my version of Whist, North tells the table that his distribution is 4-3-4-2. The first number is the length of spades, the three is the length of hearts, the second four is diamonds and the last number, the two, is for clubs.
South asks North how is his diamond suit since South does not have any stopper in diamonds. A stopper is a high card which stops the opponents from running a long suit. When there is a trump suit, the trump becomes a stopper when dummy or declarer has no more of the suit.
North says three honours. Ace to the ten are considered to be honours. Since they only have a total of seven cards in any suit and no suit without strength, South picks notrump. West makes the opening lead and North, the dummy, puts his hand face up on the table.
Because there is no trump, each trick is won by the highest card of the suit led.
Natural Leads – A natural lead, which is usually an effective defense, is a lead from the top of touching honours. West leads the queen of clubs.
The Plan – When dummy comes down, declarer makes a plan. He has five sure tricks with three more possible in both hearts and diamonds and maybe one more in spades. He will leave spades alone and attack diamonds first. He has a two-way finesse in hearts, and he will finesse hearts into East when East likely has no more clubs to return. If East still has a club then West only has four clubs and is not a problem as his having five. A finesse is a basic form of card play which stops an opponent (East or West) from winning a high card. Declarer plays a small card towards the hearts in dummy. If the queen is not played, he puts in the ten thus capturing the queen because it will fall under the ace or king.
The Play – Declarer ducks the opening lead which means he lets the queen of clubs win. West continues with the nine of clubs telling partner he has touching cards from the queen to the nine. Declarer wins the ace and plays the 10 of diamonds and lets it go through to East, another finesse. East wins the king.
East returns a club, and declarer wins the king. Declarer plays a small heart to
the ten finessing for the queen into East. West is the danger hand with likely two clubs ready to cash. It holds, and declarer cashes his high hearts and high diamonds for a grand total of nine tricks.
We subtract book which is defined to be the number six from the number of tricks won and we get three. Declarer has just made three notrump.