Sunday, December 9, 2012

Event 3 - Match 9 - Board 7

Board 7
Both sides vulnerable

♠ Q 6 A K Q 7 3 8 7 4 ♣ Q 5 3

I open 1NT (12-14), and everyone passes. LHO leads the ace of diamonds.


NORTH
Jack
♠ J 10 9 5
10
J 6 3
♣ A J 10 9 6






SOUTH
Phillip
♠ Q 6
A K Q 7 3
8 7 4
♣ Q 5 3



West North East South
Daniel Jack Marcin Phillip
1 NT
(All pass)

There is no way for me to ask about this opening lead, but I guess it's not going to affect my play at trick one. I'll find out soon enough what the lead is from. I just hope diamonds are four-three. Otherwise they can beat me off the top.

I play low from dummy, East plays the five, and I discourage with the four. West continues with the king of diamonds--six--nine--eight, then the queen of diamonds, on which East plays the ten. Good. He followed. The opponents can take four diamonds and two spades. I can't afford any other losers.

West cashes the diamond deuce. If the club finesse wins, I'm making this. Do I have any chance if the club finesse loses? For starters, I need for the opponents to avoid cashing their spades. Let's say West cooperates and switches to a heart at trick five. Now what? I float the club queen. Might East take his king and dutifully continues hearts? That's certainly possible. East might conclude I wouldn't leave two heart winners stranded in an entryless hand. What happens if the club finesse wins? I have no entry back to my hand to cash hearts, but that's OK. I've taken five clubs and one heart. I need only one more trick, so I can drive the ace and king of spades and score a spade for my seventh trick.

The problem with this plan is that I have to find a pitch from dummy on this trick. I can't afford a club if the club king is offside. So I must pitch a spade. Now, if they do find a spade switch, they may score a long spade for down two--or even down three if East has five spades.

If I think I am unlikely to make this contract anyway if the club king is offiside, perhaps I should pitch a club on this trick. Four club tricks are sufficient if the finesse works, and pitching a club ensures I can't go down more than one. No, I can't bring myself to do that. I hate to rely solely on a finesse when I have some chance to make this contract if the finesse is off. I pitch the five of spades from dummy; East pitches the heart deuce.

East's heart pitch probably ensured a spade switch. But it also gives me an extra chance. East might not have appreciated the value of a holding like eight fourth of hearts. So I may now be able to score five hearts, a spade, and a club. To keep that possibility open, I must hold all my hearts. I probably don't need all of my clubs. If West has king fourth of clubs, I don't have the entries to take a third-round finesse against him anyway. Could I need both my spades? Possibly. Say, for example, West shifts to a spade, and East wins and plays a heart. If I have saved both my spades, I have the option of trying to run hearts, pitching down to a stiff club ace in dummy, then leading my last spade. I might be hard pressed to decide to play that way, but I see no reason not to leave the option open. So I pitch the five of clubs.

West shifts to the deuce of clubs. That's unexpected. He surely has the club king. He wouldn't shift from a worthless club holding and risk picking up the queen in his partner's hand. So East must have both spade honors, else West would have doubled one notrump.

Why is West playing clubs? Maybe he is playing passively, letting me break the majors myself. Or perhaps he has king fourth of clubs and wants to get clubs led twice to eliminate any chance of his being squeezed. My gut feel is that the latter is more likely. Defenders don't usually lead dummy's source of tricks except as a communication-killing maneuver. It is a bit strange that East, with a singleton club, nine cards in the major, and ace-king of spades, would have sold to one notrump. But, in general, I have more faith in inferences from the card play than I do in inferences from the bidding.

Do I have any chance if West does have king fourth of clubs? Suppose I win the club queen in my hand and play a spade. East wins. To give me a problem, he must switch to a heart. I take the ace and cash the king, pitching a club from dummy. I am now down to this position, needing four more tricks:


NORTH
Jack
♠ J 10
--
--
♣ A J 10






SOUTH
Phillip
♠ 6
Q 7 3
--
♣ 3


A club to the ten will succeed when West began with king third of clubs. If I judge that he began with king fourth, I can cash the heart queen, pitching a club from dummy. If my hearts are good, I'm home. If not, I take a club finesse, and drive the spade ace, hoping East doesn't have another heart. That requires West to have begun with

♠ x J x x x A K Q x ♣ K x x x,

which I suppose is possible, since the opponents are inexplicably not playing Astro (where you can show this pattern by bidding two clubs, followed by two notrump if partner bids two diamonds).

I'm not sure yet which line I will take. But it costs me nothing to aim for this position and decide later. I play a low club from dummy, East plays the eight, and I win with the queen. I play the six of spades from my hand--seven--nine--king. East doesn't find the heart switch. He makes it easy for me by cashing the spade ace--queen--deuce--ten.

If I had any doubts that West has the club king, they are gone now. East, looking at the ace and king of spades, would not have ducked the setting trick. So I am now cold. East switches to a heart. I cash the ace, king, and queen of hearts, pitching clubs from dummy, play a club to the jack, and claim.


NORTH
Jack
♠ J 10 9 5
10
J 6 3
♣ A J 10 9 6


WEST
Daniel
♠ 7 4 3 2
9 8
A K Q 2
♣ K 7 2


EAST
Marcin
♠ A K 8
J 6 5 4 2
10 9 5
♣ 8 4


SOUTH
Phillip
♠ Q 6
A K Q 7 3
8 7 4
♣ Q 5 3


Our opponents at the other table made an overtrick in one notrump, so we lose an imp. I could have tied that result. When I won the club queen, I could have cashed out for eight tricks, giving up on king fourth of clubs. But it could hardly be right to risk the contract for a one-imp gain..

I do, however, think I made a mistake in pitching a spade from dummy at trick four, since the misdefense I was hoping for, while possible, was unlikely. It would have been the right play if I weren't vulnerable, since the cost of extra undertricks is small. But when I'm not in game and when extra undertricks are 100 points each, I should be more concerned about them. If I had finished minus 300 in this contract, I would have cost myself more than I stood to gain by making it.

Table 1: +90
Table 2: -120

Result on Board 7: -1 imp
Total: +7 imps

1 comment:

  1. Good post, hae so much information about the cards game, this will really help me in improving my game.

    ReplyDelete