Sunday, December 16, 2012

Event 3 - Match 9 - Board 8

Board 8
Neither vulnerable

♠ A Q 10 7 6 A J 7 5 4 10 3 ♣ 6

LHO opens one diamond. Partner, of course, bids three clubs, passed to me.

There is something to be said for bidding three spades and driving to game in one major or the other. Since I expect to go down in three clubs, I might as well get to a contract that scores better if it happens to make. I would do that if the opponents promised they wouldn't double. In the absence of such an assurance, however, it seems wiser to accept a small loss in three clubs. I pass, as does LHO. RHO leads the queen of diamonds.


NORTH
Phillip
♠ A Q 10 7 6
A J 7 5 4
10 3
♣ 6






SOUTH
Jack
♠ 8 4
10 9 3
8 6
♣ A K Q 7 4 3



West North East South
Marcin Phillip Daniel Jack
1 3 ♣
(All pass)

That's quite a hand for a pre-empt opposite an unpassed partner! I would be afraid of missing three notrump. At least our prospects of making three clubs are better than I expected.

East and I both encourage on the diamond queen (East with the nine). West continues with the five of diamonds to East's king. East continues with the diamond deuce.

I don't believe East sold out with seven diamonds. He must think West has a doubleton diamond instead of me. Could West have found some clever reason to lead a low diamond at trick two from queen-jack third? I pitch the spade four and ruff in dummy. West follows with the diamond seven. I guess West had queen jack fourth. (East would surely not expect him to have a doubleton if he had queen-jack fifth.) West should have played the jack, of course. His partner knows what he has at this point, so there is no reason to bring me into the loop.

I play the spade ace--five--eight--deuce, then ruff a spade to my hand. East plays the nine; West, the three. If the carding is honest, spades are three-three. Everyone follows to three rounds of trumps (East playing five, nine, jack), and I am down to this position:


NORTH
Phillip
♠ Q 10
A J 7
♦ --
♣  --






SOUTH
Jack
♠ --
10 9 3
♦ --
♣ 7 3


I've taken six tricks. The heart ace and two more trumps tricks will bring me up to nine. If I can take a second heart trick, I'll make an overtrick. I'll start by taking a heart finesse. Then I can decide whether to repeat the finesse or play East for king-queen doubleton.

Which heart should I lead? There is a slim chance West has both heart honors, If I head low, he might duck, hoping I have nine-eight third and intend to finesse the seven. If that happens, dummy's jack will hold. I can then ruff out a spade and take all the remaining tricks. Leading the nine might create a more effective illusion. But it wouldn't help, since I can't afford to overtake the nine with the jack.

I play the heart three--deuce--jack. East wins with the king and taps me with the diamond ace. I pitch a spade from dummy.

It appears East is 3-2-5-3. He has eight high-card points in the minors. Assuming he has 12 to 14 high-card points in total, that leaves him with four to six in the majors, so he can have the following combinations of high cards:

♠ J, K
♠ J, K Q
♠ K, K

By restricted choice, the heart finesse is a four-to-one favorite--and that's before considering that East could have a singleton heart if I made a wrong assumption somewhere. I repeat the heart finesse. It works. Making four.


NORTH
Phillip
♠ A Q 10 7 6
A J 7 5 4
10 3
♣ 6


WEST
Marcin
♠ J 3 2
Q 6 2
Q J 7 5
♣ 10 8 2


EAST
Daniel
♠ K 9 5
K 8
A K 9 4 2
♣ J 9 5


SOUTH
Jack
♠ 8 4
10 9 3
8 6
♣ A K Q 7 4 3


The ruff-sluff didn't matter. As the cards lie, there is no way the opponents can take more than one major-suit trick. Here I was thinking three clubs would have no play, and the opponents can't stop four.

How should East card at trick one? A discouraging diamond would suggest a heart shift, since that is dummy's weaker suit. East can stand a heart shift, but if West's hearts are good enough for a shift to accomplish anything, he might find it on his own. I think to discourage in diamonds East needs either better hearts or worse spades, although I'd hate to have to pinpoint exactly where the dividing line is.

Does four hearts have a chance? If our opponents bid and make it at the other table, they will tie the match. But it should be easy to beat. West will signal with the diamond queen at trick one, and East will underlead for a spade switch. Actually, I don't think that's even necessary. Say West starts by cashing two diamonds then switches to a club. Declarer leads a low heart to the jack (keeping the ten-nine in dummy so he can remain in dummy after repeating the heart finesse). East can now defeat the contract by giving declarer a ruff-sluff. Underleading the diamond at trick two is certainly easier.

Our opponents don't put our teammates to the test, however. They reach the improbable contract of three spades and go down two, so we pick up six imps to win the match by 13. We win the event with 165 victory points, 17 points ahead of second place.

Time for a break while I ponder whether there will be a Match 4 and, if so, what format it will take.

Table 1:  +130
Table 2: +100

Score on Board 8: +6 imps
Result on Match 9: +13 imps (19 VP)

Final Total: 165 VP (out of 270)

5 comments:

  1. I certainly hope there is another match. I have enjoyed these greatly. Look forward to them each
    Sunday. However I do realize that this takes a lot of work on your side. If you do not have another match I just want to make sure I let you know how much I have enjoyed these.

    Thanks a lot

    Paul D East

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm new to this site and decided to try to play the hands ... but could you zip up the pbn files from your matches to make them easier to download?

    Thanks for a very instructive blog. I'm an intermediate player and these are exactly at my level. I'm learning a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Please do keep blogging! You write a very informative, interesting and well-written blog and I look forward to it every week!
    Cheers
    Pieter

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'd like to see the series continue. One possibility would be to have two or more people bid (and play) against the computer in separate matches with the same cards, one playing 2/1 and you could play your Acol-like system. My guess is that the differences would be more due to "noise" from different play decisions with almost the same information available.

    If you need me, I'll be glad to participate.

    ReplyDelete