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A First Look

J 2
A K 9 7
A Q J 4
J 9 6
6 4
10 6 5 3
K 10 9 7 5
A Q
 
A 9 3
Q J 4 2
8 2
8 7 5 3
K Q 10 8 7 5
8
6 3
K 10 4 2
In this example of double asymmetry, North/South might consider game in either spades or notrump.

Spades

If South declares the 4 contract, all is well - the opponents will get their three black winners and no more.
If North declares 4 , though, the club lead sets it, because the defense gets two clubs, the trump ace, and a club ruff.

Notrump

South cannot make 3 NT on a heart lead from West. Twist and turn as he might, he cannot avoid losing two hearts, two clubs, and a spade before he can run his nine apparent tricks.
On the other hand, if North declares in 3 NT, he cannot be set by a heart or any other lead.
On a low heart lead, North wins West's 10 with the ace, and leads the J. East has to duck this, to keep declarer from running five spades when he gets in next. North continues with a spade and East can safely win this trick, leading to this position:
K 9 7
A Q J 4
J 9 6
6 5 3
K 10 9 7 5
A Q
 
9
Q J 4
8 2
8 7 5 3
K Q 10 8
6 3
K 10 4 2
East cannot attack hearts himself here, because that would give declarer a third stopper. So he has to lead a club to West's queen.
West continues with a heart, ducked to East, and East again cannot lead hearts, holding Q-4 and North holding K-7. West gets in one more time to lead hearts, but North still has the K, and the defense fails to collect its five tricks before declarer makes his nine.
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Thomas Andrews (bridge@thomasoandrews.com), © 2000-2009.
A One-sided Blockage >>
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