Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hiding Information from the Opponents

Imps, All Vul 2nd seat after RHO passes you hold

X KQ8xxxxx Kx Kx

Playing with someone that you do not play Namyats with. Although that is an interesting discussion point, does this hand qualify for a 4C Namyats bid? I believe it does, no void, 4 loosers, 8 ½ - 9 winners, at most 1 suit with 2 quick loosers. But anyways, not playing Namyats, I still open these hands 4H and not 1H, I really do not want the opps to find out about any kind of fit since I have almost 0 defence and all offence, and I know I want to play it in hearts. I expect partner with like 3 aces to think about moving. I may occasionally miss a slam, but much more common is to have the opps take a making sack in the other major.

At my table, this went P-P-P, LHO led the A of clubs, and I claimed 5 at trick 2 when nothing got ruffed and partner put down Axx AJT9 Qx xxxx, a very adequate dummy. This story has nothing to do with our table but rather what happened at the other table and how the play went.

At the other table, they also opened 4H, but LHO make what I think is a good double with KJ9x – AJ9xx ATxx. Partner now bid 4N to find out what they can make, and after learning of 1 KC, bid 5H. The other good part about 4N is it does not allow RHO to bid 4S, especially good since it is not possible to beat 5S on this hand by E-W.

But on to the play problem, how to play this hand in 5H after the 9 of spades lead when LHO doubled.

Axx AJT9 Qx xxxx

X KQ8xxxxx Kx Kx

The main point on the hand is the club and diamond suits, and they play the same regardless if LHO doubled or passed. There are 3 cases, 2 of which do not matter. Case 1 involves the A of clubs on your right, which means you always make 5H, case 2 involves the A of clubs on your left and A of diamonds on your right, which means barring some catastrophic blunder by the opps, you are always going down, so the only case that has any relevance is where both Aces are on your left. In this case, you need to strip the hand, have LHO duck the first diamond, then throw that person in to be endplayed in clubs.

At the table, the declarer took a line that I think has to fail 95%+ of the time against any reasonable defender. They won the A of spades, ruffed a spade, heart to the A, and ruffed the last spade, now led a diamond. The endplay is so obvious on this line that the defence should prevail almost all the time, this time happened to be the 1% when LHO fell asleep and let themselves be endplayed anyways, but that is irrelavent to the discussion.

I think the main point to this hand is concealing your intention from LHO as long as possible. You need to get a diamond past their hand prior to their being aware of the danger. And ruffing any spade is tantamount to saying an endplay is coming. I think the only reasonable line is A spades at trick 1, heart to K at trick 2, concealing the spade situation, and now diamond towards Q at trick 3. This makes it much more difficult to win the diamond A since there are so many hands where it is wrong. Now in the likely situation where LHO ducks, it is easy to win the Q, ruff a spade, heart to board, ruff the last spade, and play the K of diamonds out of hand, completing the endplay.

This will likely not matter in a normal game at the local bridge club. But when you are playing in higher stakes games, you have to expect the people you are playing against to count and pay attention. So the object of this is you have to not allow them to have any more information prior to the crucial decision than you have to give out. On this hand, the spade and heart positions are known at trick 1 really only to you (although good defenders can work most of it out based on a count signal in spades at trick 1), your task is to make it as difficult for the defence as possible. So make them make all decisions early and on incomplete information if possible.

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