Monday, October 12, 2009

Board 20

Board 20
Both sides vulnerable

♠ 5 Q J 9 5 Q J 6 5 4 3 ♣ 5 2

LHO opens one heart, partner bids two spades, pass to me. I pass, and LHO bids three notrump. This doesn't make sense.  I shouldn't be looking at queen-jack fourth of hearts on this auction. Three notrump should be based on solid hearts.  With a balanced hand good enough to drive to game, LHO should double first.  RHO bids four notrump, which the footnote says is Blackwood for hearts.  LHO bids five clubs, showing zero or three keycards, and RHO bids five diamonds to ask about the queen of trumps. LHO bids five spades to show the queen of trumps and no kings. I know he's lying about that queen of trumps part. Maybe he's just embarrassed to admit he bid three notrump without it. RHO, discouraged by these developments, passes five spades. If we had any kibitzers, this is where they would all lean forward in their seats and look at each other. I don't think they're going to make this, but they might make five notrump, which is where RHO will probably run if I double. I pass, and partner leads the eight of hearts:


NORTH
♠ Q J 10 9 2
6 3
K 2
♣ A K 10 9




EAST
♠ 5
Q J 9 5
Q J 6 5 4 3
♣ 5 2



West
North
East
South
1
2 ♠1
Pass
Pass
3 NT
Pass
4 NT2
Pass
5 ♣3
Pass
5 4
Pass
5 ♠5
(All pass)
1Weak jump overcall
2Ace asking for hearts
30 or 3 aces
4Asking for queen of trumps
5Queen of trumps and 0 kings


That was some three notrump bid South produced! Ace-king-ten sixth of hearts, singleton ace of spades, and queen-jack of clubs? I play the jack of hearts; declarer wins with the ace.  Declarer plays the seven of spades, which partner covers with the eight, and dummy covers with the nine.

Not only did he not have solid hearts, he didn't even have a spade stopper. Jack's bidding, while not perfect, has been at least reasonable up to this point.  This is the first completely bizarre bid I've seen him take. It looks as if partner should be able to take four trump tricks.  But it's possible he can be held to three. If partner has four clubs and two diamonds, declarer can strip him down to trumps, then play a heart, which partner ruffs. Dummy is now down to queen-jack-ten-deuce of trumps and partner is on play. There is no way for him to take more than his ace-king of trumps.

Declarer cashes the king of clubs--five--four--seven. Incidentally, it may seem dangerous to give count when partner might have jack fourth. But it's OK as long as both you and partner routinely give false count when holding the jack. What's important is that declarer see the same carding when jack fourth is in front of the dummy as he sees when jack third is behind the dummy. If the hand without the jack cards honestly and the hand with the jack falsecards, you accomplish this. The hand behind the dummy will echo and the hand in front of the dummy will play up the line in both of those layouts. This particular partner probably doesn't know that. But if he did, you could conclude he doesn't have the jack by the fact that he is apparently giving correct count. Declarer cashes the king of diamonds--six--seven--nine. He plays a low diamond--jack--ace--eight.

Now jack of clubs--three--ace??--deuce. What was that? If declarer has queen-jack-third, he just blocked the suit. But if partner has the queen, why didn't he finesse?

Declarer plays another club to partner's queen. So declarer had an even worse hand than I thought. Partner is still endplayed as described above when he eventually ruffs the heart. He can't take a fourth trump trick. But we have the queen of clubs as an unexpected trick, so declarer is down two:


NORTH
♠ Q J 10 9 2
6 3
K 2
♣ A K 10 9


WEST
♠ A K 8 6 4 3
8
9 8
♣ Q 7 6 3


EAST
♠ 5
Q J 9 5
Q J 6 5 4 3
♣ 5 2


SOUTH
♠ 7
A K 10 7 4 2
A 10 7
♣ J 8 4



I'm not sure why declarer played me for queen doubleton of clubs. Perhaps he thought partner's hand was too good for two spades? If so, I'm inclined to agree. Although it means partner would have played seven--three of clubs from seven-six-three-deuce. That shouldn't matter. He should play his cards randomly when he's not signaling, but most defenders don't. If I were declarer and were thinking about trying to drop the doubleton queen of clubs, seeing West's three of clubs might convince me not to.

The other table reproduced our weird auction, but the play was different. West began with a diamond lead, then hopped with the spade king when declarer led a spade toward dummy. Perhaps he saw the endplay coming and just wanted to speed up the play. Since the defense did not score the queen of clubs at this table, declarer went down only one.

I didn't have much to do on this deal, and that's just as well.  The decision I should have been faced with was whether to run from two spades doubled.  And I must confess:  Had I been presented with that problem, I probably would have gotten it wrong.

This deal convinces me to upgrade to Jack 4.01.  I've been playing version 3.02 up to this point.  After I install the new version, I reload this deal and rebid it.  My new and improved opponent now opens one heart, then passes when two spades is passed around to him.  I would have doubled myself, but pass it at least a more understandable choice than three notrump.

Me: +200
Jack: +100

Score on Board 20: +3 IMPs
Total: +57 IMPs

1 comment:

  1. The play to 5NT is quite interesting. Assuming a Diamond lead what do you do? Seems clear to win in dummy and play a heart to the 10 cause I think in all variations you are going to need a 3rd heart trick so you might as well start here. Once the heart wins you can play a Spade up attempting to disconnect the 2 hands or threatening a 3rd spade trick . If he ducks giving you an immediate trick you can pound hearts ( Cash one high Club first) and then you will need to guess the ending. At some point West will be forced to pitch a club and that might lead to the winning guess. So perhaps West should rise on the spade lead and play a second Diamond. That forces declarer to try for 3-2 hearts ( then guess between the club finesse or 6-2 Diamonds) and when that doesnt succeed a club finesse and 6-2 Diamonds . hand plays itself !

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