Is This A Good Hand or a Bad Hand 

When I picked up this hand in a recent club game, I quickly and confidently contracted to take 10 tricks by bidding to a spade game. After my partner supported spades, I thought there would be a good chance to make the contract because I had a second five card suit in diamonds that could be a good source of tricks. I had only a single club loser, and my heart king was protected for now because the lead was coming up to my hand. Even after dummy came down, I was optimistic about my chances, hoping to set up the diamonds by ruffing my losers. How quickly this outlook was turned around by both the defense and the position of the adversely held cards! The lead of the diamond jack fetched the king, but my queen was trumped by north on the second lead of the suit and he put his partner in with a club to lead another diamond and score yet another spade trick.

At this point, I had lost three tricks without even setting up any diamond winners, so I had little choice but to lose another spade and two more heart tricks for a total of down three. And this was a hand that looked very strong before play started. What lesson can we learn from this sad story?

First, the story is not all that sad because I played the same cards in the same contract as many others and arrived at the same end, down three. Second, there were some declarers who ended up even higher and down more than myself. Finally, almost all bridge hands are strong or weak when considered with partner's holding and the location of the cards held by the opponents. We have some degree of control in our bidding with partner but not much warning of where silent opponents' cards sit until play starts. If the other cards sit favorably, we have a good hand.

Last weekend we played in the tournament at Ontario, and we will have some interesting hands from the events there.

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