Stayman – Strong 1NT
February 18, 2017
A Bad Auction Often Means A Bad Contract
February 25, 2017

Preventing Partner’s Mistakes

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Ah, this is such a great hand on so many levels. Sure, East should make his 3NT. 12 tricks looks easy enough but perhaps only because spades break. Without knowing you’re going to get that lucky break it’s not such a good slam.

But this hand is most interesting for me because it reminds me a of a very similar situation that I struck in a tournament many years ago. My partner gave me the lead even though he had a winning card in his hand because by doing so it would guarantee we would defeat the contract. If he had taken his last trick before playing over to my hand I might have made a mistake with my discards. I shouldn’t have made that mistake but he removed all opportunity for me to do so. It was possibly the greatest bit of defence I’ve ever seen.

And now, many years later, here we go again but this time it’s our chance. Are we going to get annoyed with North for making a bonehead discard or are we going to help North to not make that mistake.

I’m genuinely excited about this hand and I hope someone else out there gets some pleasure from it. Check out the video or you can follow what happened at my table by clicking here.

57 Comments

  1. Profile photo of radiog radiog says:

    Bid 3NTX….made 100pts.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N X
    P P P

    • Profile photo of ekimite ekimite says:

      this is a joke, when i played the hand, my p threw the spade ace on my club 9, but if my p had wondered why declarer hadn’t led another spade to set their best suit up, then he must also deduce that declarer had a singleton spade, he should then be able to determine that at least one of my 2 remaining cards is a spade, by the way, only I would have thrown the spade ace on my partners club 9 at trick 12

  2. Profile photo of cahalf cahalf says:

    There is no way to stop 12 tricks on this deal. 5S 2H 2D 3C. E/W should lose only the Ace of Spades.While instruction is usually good the play is often horrific.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  3. Profile photo of bluecycler bluecycler says:

    Agree with cahalf 12 tricks are there for the taking. E/W refused to play their spades which is their longest and strongest suit.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  4. Profile photo of ceepee ceepee says:

    Took them down 1 so very pleased.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  5. Profile photo of hujar hujar says:

    Took them down 2
    1 /259 happy with that
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  6. Profile photo of suztay suztay says:

    Why on earth did my partner discard the AS?
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  7. Profile photo of overtonmark overtonmark says:

    Thought I would play north just to see if the hypothesis that 12 tricks is there for the taking. Unbelievably the computer only got 7 tricks. Some tweaking needed there then
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  8. EW 3 nt downed 1. Partner did well in not covering west 2 of spades with ace first time with the result we could take them 1 light.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  9. Profile photo of katec001 katec001 says:

    Don’t understand why W bid 2H and didn’t rebid the spades. You make 12 trick as EW in Spades.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3 P
    3 P P P

  10. Profile photo of peralph peralph says:

    I’m with @cahalf. I don’t see how proper play stops 12 tricks (if EW plays correctly).

    Is this correct, @graeme? If so, a more interesting question: can/should EW have bid the slam (and how)?
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  11. Profile photo of graeme graeme says:

    Ah, this is such a great hand on so many levels. Sure, East should make his 3NT. 12 tricks looks easy enough but perhaps only because spades break, @peralph. Without knowing you’re going to get that lucky break it’s not such a good slam.

    But this hand is most interesting for me because it reminds me a of a very similar situation that I struck in a tournament many years ago. My partner gave me the lead even though he had a winning card in his hand because by doing so it would guarantee we would defeat the contract. If he had taken his last trick before playing over to my hand I might have made a mistake with my discards. I shouldn’t have made that mistake but he removed all opportunity for me to do so. It was possibly the greatest bit of defence I’ve ever seen.

    And now, many years later, here we go again but this time it’s our chance. Are we going to get annoyed with North for making a bonehead discard or are we going to help North to not make that mistake.

    I’m genuinely excited about this hand and I hope someone else out there gets some pleasure from it. Check out the video or you can follow what happened at my table by clicking here.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  12. Profile photo of superman superman says:

    I REALLY enjoy Graeme & Ians’ videos – so easy to watch and learn from !
    My challenge is to put this info into action ……………
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  13. Profile photo of lorraineb lorraineb says:

    Graeme you have an amazing memory. Not only can you execute brilliant play but you remember what happened 16years ago. I cant remember what happened in the hand I played 5 minutes ago! Thank you Graeme and Bajir for your excellent bridge lessons. Will keep trying!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

    • Profile photo of graeme graeme says:

      Haha, thanks @lorraineb. My memory isn’t that great, I just remember a few of the the best and worst, although I do remember a hand from 33 years ago, 1984. It was my first night out from beginner classes and into junior night club bridge. My partner opened the bidding 1D and I had 11 points with a four card heart suit. I knew I had to change suit but I got flustered and thought I had to jump to 3H to show 10-12 points. Of course that doesn’t apply when you’re changing suit. I should have bid 1H, not 3H, but first night out of classes is pretty scary!

      I really don’t know why that stuck in my mind all these years because I’ve done far worse than that since then. Weird how the mind works.

      Who can remember their first game of bridge? Would love to hear some stories!

  14. Profile photo of normie616 normie616 says:

    2nd time around took E/W down to 7 tricks an improvement by 2 on first attempt cheers normie sa
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  15. Profile photo of terrypause terrypause says:

    ok i admit,it, i watched the video first, i try not to do that, but its clever play, i wish i could remember, all the cards played and left, thats probably the next step up.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  16. Couldn’t believe it was possible to take EW down keeping them to only 8 tricks. I let them get 12 tricks first time. So I tried it again, paying more attention this time, and sure enough! They only made 8. I often find that if I pay attention……
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  17. Profile photo of catspaw15 catspaw15 says:

    First time, I lead a club and they got 12 tricks, 2nd time led a spade and they got 11 tricks, third attempt lead a heart and took them down by 2. Now if only I could work out why….
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  18. Profile photo of debdaniels debdaniels says:

    Cats paw— similar story here, but when I lead a diamond, I think down 1—–
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  19. Profile photo of valjef valjef says:

    Got them down 1 in a 3NT contract. I am always over the moon when I reach the same result as Graeme as I think he is an absolute wiz. Admire you Graeme!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  20. Profile photo of debdaniels debdaniels says:

    I think return leads and later leads are important, too.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  21. Profile photo of sadiesue sadiesue says:

    North should have never played his A of spades on an off trick. This was another trickfor NS
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  22. Profile photo of nelle nelle says:

    I really played this poorly. E/W made 11. Now I will watch the video.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  23. Profile photo of monty27dog monty27dog says:

    Kept them to 8
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  24. Profile photo of annelise1945 annelise1945 says:

    I was happy to get 5 tricks
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  25. Profile photo of squarepeg61 squarepeg61 says:

    Took E-W down one in 3NT. I’ll take it!


    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  26. Profile photo of verona verona says:

    Verona 1 March 17
    Well Well Well, I remember watching the video last week Graeme. I didn’t watch it today but partner and I defeated their contract by 2 tricks today. Not sure how it happened. I didn’t play the hand previously.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  27. Profile photo of normie616 normie616 says:

    EW 3NT down 1 trick
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  28. Profile photo of tagebutik tagebutik says:

    Hmm, don’t you think N knows that his heart is the last one, and it would NOT be played in the last trix?
    🙂

  29. I was a member of a bridge school which used to travel from Dover to London on the 06:03 train, and back on one fron London at 17:05, and a brilliant three hours or so of bridge could be enjoyed almost every day. One particular morning, my partner and I had managed to end in a 7 SX contract, missing the Kxxx of spades. We had all the other honours which mattered, and when it came to drawing trumps, I led from dummy to my AQJTx. E played low, and I realised the only possible chance to make the contract was to pick up the singleton K with west, so I wnt up with the A – and he duly obliged! I have a feeling W was the doubler, and I must have placed the KS with him, he anticipating a finesse for the K against E. Well, just for once, it didn’t work! Was that luck, Graeme?

    I guess everyone who has played a fair amount of bridge must have one hand which s´ticks in the memory banks… That must have been back in about 1980, but that memory doesn’t fade!

    • Profile photo of graeme graeme says:

      That’s a nice story, @steamboatbill. Good to do something fun on those ling commutes! A very good player once told me that good results come from a little bit of luck and a little bit of skill. You need them both, so well done with that singleton King.

  30. Profile photo of joanbrookes joanbrookes says:

    @tina. Please will you send me information about the Law of Total Tricks. Can’t get my partner to understand it so would like some help. Thanks

  31. @Graeme:
    Can you please explain just WHY the computer doesn’t establish the spades? That’s the natural play here, surely! After all, the are two solid gold entries, and E has one honour, so it’s no sweat to clear the A, then make the remaining spades. I’ve tried this twice so far, and each time E has ignored the spades – going one light each time.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  32. @Graeme: I just repeated the action with the same result. However, the scores are showing incorrectly – it keeps giving me “!/!” for taking the contract down one. I know that cannot be right from the comments above!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  33. Profile photo of monty27dog monty27dog says:

    Took them down 1
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, weak notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  34. Profile photo of jazzper22 jazzper22 says:

    south has to lead the Q of hears
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  35. Profile photo of chini chini says:

    Down 1, EW, 3NT
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  36. Profile photo of davstevens davstevens says:

    I guess S has to lead the QH to set 3N, but W has bid hearts and it looks like a poor lead to me, especially when there is a club sequence. Was the heart bid 4th suit forcing? If so does not the 3N bid promise hearts? For the life of me I cannot see leading a heart. In any case with two entries to dummy East can lead the JS then when North ducks cross to one of the entries and continue spades, making six on the lie of the cards. I guess I just miss the point of the deal. As it turns out my lead of the JC holds East to 9 tricks because East misplays.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  37. Profile photo of stephstone stephstone says:

    I took them down but play wasn’t as described! I led J C then when next in with D played QH which they took , they led another spade from table and partner took A, but despite that we made 5 tricks!
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  38. Profile photo of hdwredes hdwredes says:

    led a heart … third suit bid … set them.

    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  39. Profile photo of michelleo michelleo says:

    They went down with 8 tricks………….
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  40. Profile photo of tmac tmac says:

    led QH down 3. they must drive out the AS.
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  41. Profile photo of mayroses mayroses says:

    took 3NT down 1.
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  42. Profile photo of sbc10809774 sbc10809774 says:

    Tina I am unable to follow you please help
    Bidding System: 4 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  43. Profile photo of pdiomartich pdiomartich says:

    contract in 3nt, i lead small diamond and they went down 1
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  44. Profile photo of pdiomartich pdiomartich says:

    There is only one card to lead which is the two of diamonds…
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  45. Profile photo of katerina katerina says:

    Managed to get them one off in 3 no trumps
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  46. Profile photo of nevillet nevillet says:

    They made five (5)….
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  47. Profile photo of cacho cacho says:

    i lead with J C (J,10, 9 Cl), at the end i keep the 9 of Cl,and take 5 tricks, one trick down


    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, strong twos.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

  48. Profile photo of nevillet nevillet says:

    Matheus went down pne(1)….
    Bidding System: 5 card majors, strong notrump, weak twos, transfers.
    Auction
    W N E S
    – P 1 P
    1 P 2 P
    2 P 3N P
    P P

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