Welcome to Basement Bridge

Weekly updates from Kit Jackson offering hints and tips for the modern Bridge player. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Adventure of the Four Kings, continued – 23 September 2010

Holmes was cross. Very cross. He had said nothing in the not very Hansom cab all the way back from the card game in Deptford. When we got up to our rooms he sat me down at the table, took out his loaded service revolver and fired it at the ceiling. While not unnecessarily unusual behaviour there was an extra steel in the way his eyes devoured me across the pink and yellow velvet.

“Rightio - Watson. One last chance. Tell me in detail why you led away from the king of diamonds against their Heart contract.”

I swallowed hard. “Well, er, you see Holmes, well I, er…” I chuntered on for a bit.

“Snap out of it Watson”. Holmes softly caressed the shiny gun metal.

“Aha, well, you see Holmes, I was only following a rule of cards, that like as you said, what that when a bit sort of stuck for a lead one could do no worse than lead 4th best of one's longest and strongest suit.”

I gurgled at him deeply chuffed to finally remember this pearl of wisdom.

“Yes, I said that, Watson. In relation to a defence of No Trump contracts, Watson. This was a SUIT contract, wasn’t it Watson? Watson?”

I nodded, bereft of verbal facility. He leant back and studied the hole in the ceiling.

“Let us assume that when one holds the king of a suit the other most important cards to consider are the ace and queen of that suit. Yes? But where are they? We do not know. How can we know something that is unknown to us? Therefore as we DO NOT KNOW…’ – he paused, spinning the revolver’s carriage – “we should not under any circumstances lead away from that king, as declarer might hold both the ace and the queen, might they not?”

“Thereby giving declarer a trick they did not deserve!”

“I trust Watson you will not make such a mistake again?”

I assured him in all earnestness that I would not until Hades froze. I would have gone on but at that moment Mrs Hudson appeared wearing a quizzical smile and VERY little else…

It is unwise – most of the time – to lead away from a King against a suit contract. Here’s why:

............... xx
Kxxxx ........... J10xx
............... AQ

............... Qx
Kxxxx ........... J10xx
............... Ax

You can do it if partner OPENED that suit, or against a NT trump contract (though I would always struggle not to do it for the reasons above even then.) Remember: Sherlock is right. That’s why he’s Sherlock.


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