Friday, October 23, 2009

Board 29

Board 29
Both sides vulnerable
♠ 4 3 J 9 7 6 4 Q J 7 6 ♣ 5 4

Partner passes, and RHO opens one club. I pass, LHO passes, and partner balances with a double. RHO bids one spade. If partner weren't a passed hand, I would bid two hearts. But, since the opponents have at least 25 high-card points between them, I'd just as soon not prod them. If I bid two hearts, LHO will probably compete with two spades or three clubs, and RHO will go on to game. If I pass, perhaps LHO will pass also or give a preference to two clubs, which doesn't promise any values.

Wishful thinking. I pass, and LHO bids three spades. RHO, of course, bids four.

I suppose partner is either 3-4-4-2 or 3-4-5-1. (He might have balanced with one heart with 3-5-4-1.) Tapping declarer seems like our best chance to beat this, and diamonds is a more likely tap suit than hearts. It's hard to imagine a three-spade bid that includes an uncertain value like the king of diamonds, so I see no point in leading the queen. If dummy has, say, ten-fourth of diamonds, it may work out better to hold on to my honors. When you go for a tap, it's often a good idea to lead as if you were leading against notrump. (After all, tapping out declarer amounts to converting the contract to notrump.) This means leading low from two-honor sequences as well as underleading aces to preserve communication. Accordingly, I lead a third-best seven of diamonds.


NORTH
♠ 8 7 5 2
A 8
8 4 3 2
♣ J 10 2


WEST
♠ 4 3
J 9 7 6 4
Q J 7 6
♣ 5 4




WestNorthEastSouth
Pass1 ♣
PassPassDouble1 ♠
Pass3 ♠Pass4 ♠
(All pass)

Declarer plays the deuce from dummy; partner plays the king; declarer, the ace. 3-4-5-1 is out. Partner is apparently 3-4-4-2. Declarer plays the club king. I suspect declarer is more interested in the club count than partner, so I play the four. Declarer plays the deuce from dummy, and partner plays the seven. Declarer  plays the deuce of hearts--four--ace--five, then leads dummy's jack of clubs. Partner plays the queen; declarer, the ace.

Partner has shown up with five high-card points, so he has at most six left, at least two of which are in hearts. It's going to be hard to find four tricks. Declarer leads the nine of spades--five--deuce--queen. This doesn't add up. Declarer wouldn't be playing trumps this way unless he were missing another spade honor. So partner must have the king of spades as well, giving him a 12-count:

♠ K Q x Q 10 x x K 10 9 x ♣ Q x

It's a rather soft 12-count, so there's nothing wrong with choosing not to open.  Still, it might have made it a little harder for the opponents to reach four spades if he did.

Partner plays the ten of diamonds, which declarer ruffs with the ten of spades. I'm defending double-dummy at this point, and we are down to the following position:


NORTH
♠ 8 7 5
8
8 4
♣ J


WEST
♠ 4
J 9 7 6
Q J
♣ --


EAST
♠ K 6
Q 10 3
9 5
♣ --


SOUTH
♠ A J
K
--
♣ 9 8 6 3


Declarer could cash the ace of spades and claim five, but he needs to worry about 4-1 trumps. He plays a club, which I ruff. I tap him again with the queen of diamonds. He cashes the trump ace, then plays another club, pitching dummy's last diamond as partner ruffs. Declarer now has the rest. Making four.


NORTH
♠ 8 7 5 2
A 8
8 4 3 2
♣ J 10 2


WEST
♠ 4 3
J 9 7 6 4
Q J 7 6
♣ 5 4


EAST
♠ K Q 6
Q 10 5 3
K 10 9 5
♣ Q 7


SOUTH
♠ A J 10 9
K 2
A
♣ A K 9 8 6 3


At the other table, the auction begins the same way, but my hand bids two hearts over one spade. I've already explained why I think that's wrong. North raises to two spades (why he bids only two over two hearts but three over a pass I can't say), East bids three hearts, and South bids four spades.

West leads the four of hearts. This doesn't give declarer quite as much trouble as a diamond lead. Declarer wins in his hand, then cashes the club king, unblocking dummy's ten. He cashes the spade ace, then the club ace, unblocking the jack. Once clubs split, he switches back to spades and makes five. I suppose this is the best line. Assuming, from the double, that East has at least three spades and at most two clubs, it works anytime clubs come home, even against 4-1 trumps, and it works any time trumps are 3-2. It's hard to see how to improve on that. While it seems natural to cross to dummy and play the second club toward your hand, it doesn't actually accomplish anything. If East has a singleton club and four trumps, you're still going down. [It get's complicated, but it turns out this isn't true.  See poohbear's comment below.]

Note, by the way, that I was right yesterday.  Jack sees nothing wrong with passing his partner's opening bid with an ace.  Although, as Willenken would be happy to point out, he almost missed a game by doing so.

Me: -620
Jack: -650

Score on Board 29: +1 IMP
Total: +77 IMPs

1 comment:

  1. seems strange that Jack would unblock clubs at one table but not at the other. Jack did misplay by not crossing to the Heart and playing a club ( assuming KQ of spades onside ). Clearly it cant help to ruff if clubs are 3-1 as you would only lose 3 trump tricks so he pitches a diamond . Now concede a club. What does West return? A heart allows you to ruff in dummy and play a spade . East must split otherwise you can claim. Now you ruff a club in dummy with the 7 and draw trump whether East over ruffs or not . So West exits a Diamond . You win and ruff a club with the 7 of spades . If East over ruffs and taps you ruff a club with the 8 of spades and claim by drawing trumps whether East over ruffs or not. So East must pitch on the first Club ruff. Play a trump and East must split and then ruff your next to last club with the 8 of spades and East surrenders . You score 2H 2C 1D and 5 trump tricks or 3C and 4 trumps.

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