Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Defeating an unbeatable contract

This is a story I got from a friend of mine, Alon Amsel.

You hold the following hand:
AQ9
98532
Q6
K85

LHO starts the auction:
1 - pass - 1 - pass
1NT* - pass - 2 - pass
pass - pass
(1NT shows exactly 4s)

What's your lead?

Alon thought as follows:
Declarer and I have 11s combined, which suggests dummy is short and probably has 3s. Also declarer's HCPs are all in which doesn't leave much room for HCPs in other suits. Moreover partner passed throughout, so he won't have lots of s, which means declarer doesn't have singleton . I expect to see the K in dummy (which will make it difficult for declarer to make the right decision) or with partner (take 3 quick tricks).

As a result of this reasoning, he lead the Q. This is the full hand:

Dealer:West
Vul:None
Scoring:imps
J872
J
KT92
Q764
K64
4
AJ853
AJ93
T53
AKQT76
74
T2
AQ9
98532
Q6
K85

As expected, the K was in dummy. Declarer played small (asuming South lead from QJ9 or something similar), and Alon continued with 9. Again declarer played small (still asuming South had QJ9) so North took the trick with J. This was followed by a high asking for a return. After taking his Ace, South continued with Q as requested. This made 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 6 tricks for 1 down.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Non simultanious double squeeze

Here's a hand from a while back, on a club evening.

The auction went:
2NT - 3!
3! - 3NT
(3 asks about 4 or 5 card M, 3 denies)

LHO leads 6 and you get the following dummy:
J863
752
AQ43
A6

KQ7
AKT
K8
KQ872

RHO produces the Jack which you take with the King. First step is to develop the s, so I lead K which held the trick. I continued with Q which LHO took with the Ace while RHO played the T. After some thought LHO continued with a .

Now what? Do you finesse or do you play for the drop? This is a pure psychological problem imo. After the T from RHO chances are big that I'll go for a finesse. So playing a now could be a desperate attempt to change my mind. On the other hand, RHO is a known false carder, with T9 he'd always play the T. So LHO may anticipate this, think that I'll go for the drop anyway, and try to change my mind by playing . Against these opponents it was around 50-50, so I just played the Jack and dropped RHO's 9.

Ok so far so good. At this moment you have 11 tricks, opps have 1 trick, and you may have some chances of making a 12th on the s or by means of a double squeeze. It's clear that LHO has s so it's very well possible that RHO has , in which case I can use the s as a double menace. If s are 3-3 then I'll still have my 12 tricks anyway.

For a simulanious squeeze, I can use the 13th to squeeze both opponents at once (after playing the top tricks of both minor suits, ending in dummy). For some reason I cashed the immediately, so that was no longer possible. However, a non simultanious double squeeze was still in the picture. Squeezing LHO would require a , and squeezing RHO would require a . Since I have K squeezing RHO is the last step.

So after cashing the 13th (discarding a ) I played A and AK. Now I lead Q in the following diagram:

Dealer:South
Vul:None
Scoring:MP
-
75
AQ4
-
-
Q9
T97
-
-
J84
-
J9
-
KT
8
Q8

On the play of Q, LHO is squeezed in and . He bares Q and dummy lets go a . Now I continued with AQ and RHO is squeezed in and . He decided to bare the J so I dropped both Q and J with my King.

The entire deal:

Dealer:South
Vul:None
Scoring:MP
J863
752
AQ43
A6
A52
Q963
T9762
4
T94
J84
J5
JT953
KQ7
AKT
K8
KQ872