The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Way to start the day

Playing at the sectional with Betsy, you wind up in 3NT instead of the vastly superior 4H:

S: T9875
H: AJT65
D: 98
C: T

S: AJ2
H: Q72
D: AQT52
C: AK

(The auction involved some confusion about Puppet Stayman after I opened 2NT. Partner should, of course, simply transfer in hearts and then bid 3S, or whatever sequence you use to show a 5-5. But that’s water under the bridge…)

LHO leads the C7, RHO covering the ten with the Q and you win (perforce) with the King. Barring something amazing in diamonds, you need to hook the heart (although I was tempted to play for the stiff HK offside, but that’s too much of a position). So I play a small heart to the T, which wins. Things are looking up, so I lead a spade to the Jack, losing to the Queen. A club comes back (the CJ).

If I play a small heart and LHO plays the King, I have to let it win (or block hearts), so I lead the Queen. Hopefully LHO will play the King, which means I’ll get three entries to dummy. LHO does play the king so I win the ace, but RHO shows out, pitching the club 2.

I run the T of spades, which wins, then play a spade to the ace (LHO pitching the club 5), then lead my last heart, the seven. LHO (correctly) plays small, and I have to take the Jack, setting up LHO’s 9 or strand my winners. I cash two spades and LHO pitches two more clubs (the 8, then 9). Hm. 2 spades, 4 hearts, 5 clubs leaves two diamonds. Perhaps I should play for LHO to have Jx, but in that case I’ll still have to lose a diamond to the RHO’s King on the last trick (since RHO has only pitched one diamond, which means he still has three). So, I play a small heart from dummy, pitching my ten of diamonds. LHO looks unhappy deciding what to lead, so I flash my AQ of diamonds and she shows me the KJ and surrenders.

                    S: T9875
                    H: AJT65
                    D: 98
                    C: T

S: Q4                           S: K63
H: K943                         H: 8
D: KJ                           D: 7643
C: J9875                        C: Q6432

                    S: AJ2
                    H: Q72
                    D: AQT52
                    C: AK

In other words, I just pulled of a strip-squeeze. (Knowingly).

Sadly, with the KJ of diamonds tight, 4H makes six (by pitching a diamond on the club, then ruffing to set them up). Oh well. I beat those who held themselves to 5. (That was my thought at the table after the hand, although it turns out that everyone in 4H only made 5, although two players in 3N managed to make 6! Oh well).

I also found a Merrimac coup (at the right time), so even though I made some mistakes and exhibited poor judgement, I’m calling today a victory.

Actually, I left before the scores were posted for the afternoon … so let’s see how I did. Schnieke! 6th overall (out of 48 pairs) is respectable for a flight C partnership, especially since we had three bidding disasters. (Doubling a making contract, and two phantom sacs). Against that we did run off the first nine tricks against a freely bid 3N. So some luck helped. (Of course, we were below average in the morning session, but above average total for the day. I’ll take it).

My mistake of the day … seeing a 5th club in dummy (which only had four) which gave me  a complete (incorrect) count on the suit and later basing a defense around the fact that I “knew” that declarer had a stiff ace. Oops.

Update: In looking at the hand again, I’m still not sure if it’s best to start with a small heart to the Ten, or lead the Queen of hearts. I hadn’t anticipated that I’d have a potential finessing position if RHO drops the 8 or 9 on the first round … So even if my way was correct, I just stumbled into that…

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Written by taogaming

June 5, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Posted in Bridge

3 Responses

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  1. Best play in the heart suit is to lead the seven to the ten. Now you pick up singleton king onside and singleton 8/9 offside — in the last two cases because you can hook the 6 on the third round and be in the right hand to cash the hearts. That’s how one makes 6NT, set up spades for 4 tricks, and run hearts for 5. My thinking is that the two who made 6NT wrongly played the queen first; the seven is a subtle play.

    The queen is inferior to the seven because while leading the queen may pick up stiff 9 or 8 offside, it instantly loses to stiff K onside. The seven is superior given plenty of entries to hand and no entries to dummy.

    Eugene

    June 8, 2010 at 5:00 am

  2. To make 6NT without a defensive error, you have to do one of: really guess spades (play a non-ace from your hand early), or really guess diamonds (cash the ace or duck entirely in both hands). Even if you play the H7 first, if West fails to cover the HQ, you are short an entry to pick up spades unless you start them from hand. The lucky diamond position allows you to make, of course, but if you are going to play diamonds, playing for KJ tight off is not the percentage play.

    jeffg

    June 8, 2010 at 12:26 pm

  3. Eugene — I see, thanks. I never even thought of that, but I’ll magnanimously forgive myself.

    Jeff — True. If LHO ducks the HQ (second time), then I need to play SA and clear spades, but I’ll be able to make only five. I was surprised that two people made 6N, but considering that I could have done it if I’d found Eugene’s heart play there’s at least one forgivable (for flight B/C) way to let declarer make six. No doubt the other declarers ran into slightly less forgivable sins.

    taogaming

    June 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm


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