Sunday, March 20, 2011

Match 2 - Board 46

Board 46
Neither vulnerable

♠ 9 7 6 5 4 A K 9 5 4 -- ♣ Q 7 2

I open one spade. It's a little light, but I like to get into the auction early with both majors. It is a six-loser hand after all. Don't tell anyone, but there was I time when I would have opened the same hand without the ace of hearts.

Partner bids two notrump, showing a forcing raise. I could bid either three diamonds to show my shortness or four hearts to show my second suit. The problem with four hearts is that it gives partner no opportunity to make a slam try below game. With five small spades, I'd just as soon partner didn't bid to the five level with a marginal hand. So I bid three diamonds, leaving partner room to get the slam try off his chest. But he doesn't. He bids four spades.

In standard practice, four spades is responder's weakest rebid, and, for once, I agree. In general, I don't believe in fast arrival. But I make an exception when the strain has already been agreed. I pass, and LHO leads the five of diamonds (fourth best).


NORTH
♠ A K J 10 3
J
10 7 2
♣ K 8 6 3






SOUTH
♠ 9 7 6 5 4
A K 9 5 4
--
♣ Q 7 2



West North East South
Pass 1 ♠
Pass 2 NT1 Pass 3 2
Pass 4 ♠ (All pass)
1At least fourcard support, gameforcing
2Singleton or void

Four spades was rather pessimistic. With five good trumps and no diamond wastage, partner should not have given up so easily. Just add the jack of clubs to my hand and slam is excellent. It's not terrible even opposite this hand. Although I suppose it would be hard to reach slam whatever partner did--even if I did have the jack of clubs.

East plays the diamond ace, and I ruff with the five of spades. If both majors break, I'm making six. Ace-king of spades. Heart to the ace. Ruff a heart. Diamond ruff. Heart ruff. Diamond ruff. I can now pitch two clubs from dummy on my hearts.

What if hearts are five-two? In that case, I will need to find a doubleton ace of clubs to make six. Or I can hope someone makes a mistake and hops with the club ace for fear he will lose it. My best chance to make that happen is to lead a club from my hand at trick two. Playing a club at trick two is suspicious-looking. West may well think I have something like ace-king-queen-ten of hearts and dummy's clubs are about to disappear.

What if I play a club to the king and ace and East taps me with another diamond? Will I have lost the communication to set up hearts if they break? No. The diamond tap does deprive me of a hand entry, but I have a brand new hand entry with the queen of clubs to make up for it.

The downside to trying for this swindle is that I may miss out on the legitimate chance of finding East with ace doubleton of clubs. If I ruff hearts early and find East with five hearts, I will know to play him for club shortness. A priori, the chance of finding East with ace doubleton of clubs is about 8%. This reduces to about 3% if you assume he can't have ace-nine, ace-five, or ace-four (giving West a club sequence he might have led from). Against that,West is more than 50% to have the club ace (since he didn't lead a club). So West doesn't have to hop all that often to make the swindle the percentage play.

I suppose there is a chance West will hop with the ace and give his partner a club ruff. But that's unlikely. And, if clubs are five-one, there's a fair chance hearts weren't coming home anyway.

I play the club seven. West plays the ace--three--five, then shifts to the diamond king--seven--four--spade six. Everyone follows to the first trump, so I claim. Making six. It turns out hearts were five-two, so I needed the swindle.


NORTH
♠ A K J 10 3
J
10 7 2
♣ K 8 6 3


WEST
♠ Q 8
Q 6
K 9 8 5 3
♣ A J 9 4


EAST
♠ 2
10 8 7 3 2
A Q J 6 4
♣ 10 5


SOUTH
♠ 9 7 6 5 4
A K 9 5 4
--
♣ Q 7 2


I sympathize with West. All you have to do is add the ten of hearts to my hand and he did the right thing. Making six gives us a complete top. I suspect most pairs carelessly played this contract from the North side, in which case it would be harder for the defense to make a mistake.

Score on Board 46: +480 (12 MP)
Total: 362 MP (65.6 %)

Current rank: 1st

3 comments:

  1. I am not a fan of using the J2NT with a singleton, although this hand may well be an exception. North's hand grew with your response, and Jack discouraged with it. Frightening.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Isn't this a 7 loser hand?

    ReplyDelete
  3. 3 losers in spades, 1 in hearts, 2 in clubs. I know some people make adjustments like adding a half a loser for shaky holdings like Qxx. But we Animal Acolites were eternal optimists.

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