Friday, December 18, 2009

Board 66

Board 66
Our side vulnerable

♠ 10 10 K Q 10 9 8 7 6 ♣ J 9 7 6

RHO opens four spades in first seat. 

This is just the kind of deal you want to see when you're behind. You don't need to do anything to generate IMP inflation. There is already ample opportunity for a swing. Your goal is simply to do the right thing and to hope your counterpart at the other table doesn't. If being down in the match has any effect on your tactics with such a hand, it would be to make you less inclined to take a sacrifice. Since you are hoping for a large gain, your goal is to be plus at both tables. Trading a minus for a smaller minus isn't the way to pick up a lot of IMPs. So, if I had any inclination to bid five diamonds (which I don't), the state of the match makes that choice even less attractive. I pass, as does everyone else.

My singleton heart looks like the best chance to beat this, so I lead it.


NORTH
♠ 5 3
A J 9 8 6 5 2
4
♣ K 5 3


WEST
♠ 10
10
K Q 10 9 8 7 6
♣ J 9 7 6



West
North
East
South
4 ♠
(All pass)

My lead doesn't look so good any more. I wish I'd led my other singleton. Dummy wins with the ace; partner plays the seven; declarer, the queen. Declarer plays the deuce of hearts from dummy and ruffs with the jack of spades. I'm not sure why he did that. But surely he has eight solid spades. With only seven spades, he would risk manufacturing a trump loser with this play. I discard the six of diamonds.

Declarer plays the three of diamonds. A diamond ruff in dummy will be his tenth trick, and it's too late to stop it. Perhaps, however, I can make some use of my ten of spades. If declarer is 8-1-2-2, I can win this trick and play a club. If partner cashes two clubs and plays another heart, declarer will need to decide whether to ruff with the nine, risking an overruff, or to ruff high, risking a three-zero trump break. He'll probably make the right decision, so we aren't all that likely to beat it. But I see nothing else to try.  At least we'll make declarer feel foolish for his play at trick two. Maybe he'll lose concentration on the next board.

I rise with the diamond queen, since a low diamond might suggest I'm willing for partner to win this trick. Partner plays the deuce. I shift to the nine of clubs. When leading a count card in the middle of the hand, you should lead the highest spot you an afford from an even number--not third best. Partner often needs count right away and can't wait for your clarifying card on the second round of the suit.

Declarer plays the king--ace--four. Partner doesn't get the idea. He shifts to a spade. Declarer wins with the king, dropping my ten, and has no further problems. Making four.


NORTH
♠ 5 3
A J 9 8 6 5 2
4
♣ K 5 3


WEST
♠ 10
10
K Q 10 9 8 7 6
♣ J 9 7 6


EAST
♠ 8 4
K 7 4 3
A 5 2
♣ A Q 8 2


SOUTH
♠ A K Q J 9 7 6 2
Q
J 3
♣ 10 4



Partner's defense would be correct if declarer were 7-1-3-2 and I had no promotable trump spot. One might ask why I would adopt this defense if that were the case. There is no hurry for me to play clubs. If I had no chance of a trump promotion, wouldn't I play a trump myself on winning the diamond?  Or, more likely, wouldn't I play low on the diamond, allowing partner to overtake and play a trump from his side?  Still, it's hard to argue with partner's defense.  It does offer a legitimate chance to beat this unlike the line I was trying to direct.  Since I'm looking at the spade ten, I know declarer can't have seven spades, but partner doesn't.

At the other table, the auction and lead are the same. Declarer again ruffs a heart to his hand with the trump jack and plays a diamond. West plays the nine, which holds the trick. He switches to the ten of spades. Making four for a push.

As it happens, overcalling five diamonds might have worked out. In fact, it might have worked out spectacularly well if partner were to let me play it.  In practice,  he would surely raise, and the opponents would double. I would either gain 6 imps or lose 2 depending on how I play clubs.

But defending four spades was where the real opportunity lay. If I had found a black-suit lead, I would have picked up 10 imps. I have a friend who thinks a trump lead should be virtually routine against this auction. I wish he had been filling in for me on this deal.

Should I intentionally lead something other than a heart in an attempt to produce a swing? Not if I genuinely think a heart lead is right. That's exactly the kind of action Edgar was denigrating in our discussion. For one thing, I don't know my counterpart will be faced with the same decision. My teammate may open one spade at the other table, leading to an entirely different auction. For another, even if he is faced with the same decision, I don't know what my opponent thinks is the right lead. If we don't agree on what the right lead is and I intentionally do something I think is wrong, I've given up my edge. (Assuming I have one.)

Me: -420
Jack: -420

Score on Board 66: 0 IMPs
Total: -154 IMPs

4 comments:

  1. You might mention that the opening bid is 4S in the prelim. I had to go to the diagram to figure it out.

    As for the lead. If your motive was to get a ruff then you broke Lowenthal's basic rule on opening lead : If you want a ruff then lead a trump . How'd I do ?

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  2. You can't imagine how many times I proofread this and still didn't notice that I'd left out RHO's opening bid.

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  3. Also, I did think about Lowenthal's Laws before I led. But I'm not sure leading a trump to get a ruff works when you're leading your only trump. John probably would have beat it another way, though. He would have led a club to show an honor sequence in diamonds.

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  4. I assume you mean he would lead the J of Clubs to show an honor sequence in another suit

    ReplyDelete