We are in the middle of an eight-week lesson series on bidding, in which we also teach principles of the play of the hand. We often repeat the lesson on planning your play before playing to the first trick, which involves counting your losers and forming a plan to make the number of tricks required to make your contract. Today's hand, randomly dealt in a club game, illustrates these lessons well and was played for a clear top board. For non-duplicate players, this means that no one else who played the hand made as many tricks.
When you look at the hand and evaluate your winners and losers, the spade suit appears to be the only problem because you have lost your diamond loser on the first play, and with expected distribution you do not expect to have a heart loser. Another of the principles of play is that missing honors, as in the king and queen of spades, will be split more frequently than they will be together. On this hand, the declarer used her two entries to the dummy, one requiring her to overtake the singleton king of clubs with the ace, to take spade finesses, and after the first one lost to the king, the second one captured the queen and the spade suit came in with only one loser.
No one else played this hand for only two losers, apparently being distracted by the singleton king of clubs. If you cash this card and take a discard on the club ace, you have not solved the spade problem. The play problem would be clearer if the king of clubs were a small card.
We have some interesting special events coming up including a charity game on October 23. Call 327-0166 if you are interested in playing.