Monday, May 28, 2007

Safety play?

I haven't had much time lately to post new messages, but I've finally found a moment to write something. It's about a hand I played yesterday:

Dealer:South
Vul:EW
Scoring:imps
8
KQ94
T7
QJ9873
K762
T753
KJ2
T4
QT5
AJ862
A93
K6
AJ943
-
Q8654
A52

Playing with my fantunes-partner against a pair who plays a very similar system, the auction went:
2! - pass - pass - Dbl
pass - 2NT! - pass - 3!
pass - 3 - pass - pass
pass

2 shows 10-13HCP with 5+, unbalanced.
2NT was Lebensohl.

My partner lead Q to dummy's King and my Ace. After some thought I returned to my partner's Jack, who switched to 8. Dummy played low and so did I, LHO taking with his K. Now it was his turn to make the best out of it. There's no way he can make the contract (thanks to the auction he knows that s don't behave), so it's damage control: Q better be onside, and there's a sure loser. Better not make that 2!

It basically comes to this: what is the safest line of play for 1 loser with following holding:
AJ862
T753

You think you know it? Ok, read on then.

At the table, LHO played A, completely ruining his chances for one down. I checked with "suitplay" to figure out if there isn't a better way here, because the J, T, 8, 7 and 6 are all great cards. Suitplay proved me right: it says that you should start with 5 and just cover anything LHO (North here) plays! If it loses, you should finesse again.

This is a remarkable different line from when you have AJxxx and Kxxx, so these middle cards are really worth something.

On the current layout, this line of play would've succeeded. There's a clue however that finessing twice is probably better: with my opening bid of 2, I told everyone I have 10-13HCP. West knew about AJ and A, it's impossible for me to hold KQ. It is possible however that I have a void, in which case you better finesse.

If you want Q to be onside, I can only have Q as well. This implies that if West would lose his finesse to the King, he knows the location of Q as well.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Too late

Here's one I messed up last week:

Dealer:East
Vul:EW
Scoring:imps
K5
Txxxx
K9xx
xx
Jxx
QJx
xxxx
Txx
AQTx
AKxx
QJxx
Q
9732
x
A
AKJ9xxx

The auction went (I was very cautious here):
1 - 2 - pass - pass
Dbl - 3 - pass - pass
pass

LHO started with a small to the J and my Ace. I played a low , LHO played the 4, the K in dummy to RHO's Ace. While she was thinking about what to play next, I realised I missed an extra opportunity here. She switched to Q for my Ace, and I continued to LHO's Jack. He played a as fast as he could, and I went -1.

What went wrong? Double dummy, nothing went wrong, I simply can't make it. However, if I played 5 in trick 2 (and not the K), I can bring RHO on lead later on, who will have a hard time underleading A (probably holding the K or Q as well). This way I improve my chances if RHO has only 1 (which you actually have to hope for). I guess I was just hoping too much on a defensive error or luck in ...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nice one for the defense

Friday we encountered a nice hand, but opponents fell asleep. Put yourself in their shoes.

You hold:
Kxxxx
Kx
Jxx
xxx

Everyone Vulnerable, your partner opens 1, RHO (= me) intervenes 1NT, and everyone passes.

What do you lead?

The player at the table started with a low which worked out the best possible way, but they didn't realise it. In dummy you get:
Txx
Q9xx
Q9xx
Tx

Partner takes A, continues with the Q and a small to your K. Declarer discards T. You continue with 2 more s. Partner asks for a switch (playing Odd/Even signals, he plays 5 and discards T), while declarer throws away a and a from dummy while discarding a and a small from his hand.

Your turn again: what do you play?

At the table, a was played and I claimed 7 tricks.

Here's the full deal:

Dealer:East
Vul:Both
Scoring:MP
Txx
Q9xx
Q9xx
Tx
Kxxxx
Kx
Jxx
xxx
AQx
Jxxx
T
AQxxx
Jx
ATx
AK8xx
KJx

I got triple squeezed on the 5th , so I had to bare my A (baring K would be a disaster, and discarding a is throwing my 7th trick away).

How could West know what to do? Well, it's pretty simple imo. I don't discard any in my hand, so I must have 5 of them. With 4 I would keep them in dummy and discard one from my hand. I showed 2 s, I must have 3-4s and 2-3s. Either I have Ax and ATxx, or Kxx and ATx. Looking at my discarding, I think it's clear that I only have 3 s (the unblocking T at first opportunity), a 5332 is more likely to overcall 1NT rather than a 5422 with a good 5 card suit, so the best chance for defeating the contract should be to play a low from Kx and hope your partner has A. Another clue that might strengthen this idea is that partner would probably act with a good 6 card (AQJ9xx or KQJ9xx is good enough to either double or rebid the suit), so he'll only have 5 of them.