From the desk of Bob Jones:

Important Intermediates

February 17, 2013

Hi All,

Intermediate cards can be extremely important in bridge, but it is up to the player to get the maximum mileage from them. We don’t count any points for 10’s and 9’s, so a player must use his judgment to evaluate them properly in the auction. He also must use them to good effect in the play.

Consider board #3 from Saturday at Jourdan’s:

As the cards lie
bridge hand

I got to play with Marv Talish, an old friend from my Long Island days. I opened 1NT as North on this hand and Marv raised me to 3NT. This is a slight overbid, but Marv was promoting his excellent intermediate cards. In fact, his 10 of diamonds and 9 of clubs, combined with my 10 of clubs, were crucial in the play.

East led a spade and I had a lot of work to do. I started with a small diamond towards the dummy. East would have done well to duck this, but he was worried that I had the Ace and he would lose his king if he ducked. He rose with the king and played a second spade. I led the jack of diamonds, which was ducked, and, taking advantage of dummy’s 10 of diamonds, I continued the suit forcing a second trick there.

West played a heart to East’s Ace and he cleared the spades. I had to take stock. I had 3 spades, 2 hearts and 2 diamonds. The Ace of clubs got me up to 8 tricks and the 9th could only come from clubs. A club towards the Queen was pointless. If East had that card he would win and beat me with his spades. I had to play West for it. The great club spots gave me several choices. I chose to play a club to dummy’s 9. When this forced the King, I could claim 9 tricks. What if the 9 had lost to the Jack? I would win the red suit return in dummy, finish cashing my tricks there, and play a club to the 10! Nine tricks anytime West had the King of clubs. Nice bid Marv!