Monday, August 24, 2009

Different Problem

Playing IMPS on BBO with a partner you have had no discussion with, you hold the following hand All Vul, 8 A9853 AKJT974 -- and hear it go 1D on your right.

You decide to overcall 1H, not much else seems right, and it goes Pass on your left, 2C by pard, Pass on your right. You rebid 2H and it goes Pass on your left, 4H by pard, Pass on your right. Now what?

Not sure what is right or makes sense on this hand, freaks make it tough to decide what, if anything, is right. Plusses on this hand are you have a fit, you have a real source of tricks outside of your Heart suit, and you have the potential for a good opening lead for your side if LHO leads his partners suit. Minuses are the void in partners suit, the loser in Spades to potentially go with a secondary loser somewhere and the fact partner did not show primary support for Hearts (by a cuebid or something), only secondary support, even if did jump to 4H. I do not honestly know if I would bid again on this hand or go for the Vul game, I think it is close either way.

Anyways, at the table, this hand decided to jump to 6H, which went double on his left, Pass all around. The opening lead was a Diamond, and this dummy hit.

QT3 QT4 6 AQJ875

RHO played low on the diamond and declarer won the 9. There are 3 problems on the hand, how to play the Hearts, how to finish setting up the Diamonds (assuming opener has the Qxx remaining), and how to get to dummy to pitch the Spade on the A of Clubs. Points 2 and 3 can probably be covered together by ruffing a Diamond, then playing the A of Clubs, but that then leaves the Hearts.

If you ruff a Diamond, how are you going to play the Hearts. LHO almost has to have the KJx for the double, and if he has KJxx, not sure I see too many ways to make this. So if you ruff a Diamond, then ruff a black card back to your hand to lead a Heart, it does not take much work to figure out that winning the K of Hearts and tapping your hand with another black card means you are short 1 trump to do everything. (Try it, cant get back from dummy after playing a Heart to the Q)

Next, if you lead a Heart, with that Heart holding in dummy, it looks like you will force LHO to win the K and lead a Spade, which will set you right away.

The only option that might work is a bit of misdirection. If you lead out the A of Diamonds at trick 2, it will be very hard for LHO not to ruff it. And if he does ruff with anything other than the K, you have him. You can now overruff, play the A of Clubs for a Spade pitch, play a Heart back to your hand, and ruff the necessary last Diamond now. Now when you ruff a black card back to hand, if LHO started with the hopefull KJx of Hearts, you can exit a Heart, win the return and run the Diamonds to make the slam. LHO can always defeat this, if paying attention, by either refusing to ruff, or by ruffing with the K of Hearts again and playing a Spade, but there is nothing that can be done if he decides on that course anyways. At least this puts out a psychological ploy that LHO will assume that you assume that the A of Diamonds will not get ruffed. It looks like you are trying to get a couple of fast Spade pitches off dummy. Of course all of this is based on a supposition of what LHO doubled 6H on. But it turns out that was the exact hand LHO had.

Of course all of this works better than the way the declarer at the table played the hand. Won the 9 of Diamonds at trick 1, ruffed a Diamond at trick 2, took the Spade pitch, and ran the Q of Hearts at trick 4. LHO took his 2 Heart tricks and went home with +200. The result at the other table, they played in 2H making lots. 4H would have won 10 IMPS, 6H only got it up to about 15, instead of losing 9 IMPS as happened in real life. Looking at gain/loss on this hand, 6H gambled 19 IMPS to gain an additional 5, 4-1 against.

Still not sure what the best bid or line for this is, but sure makes up an interesting and fun hand.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tough Play Problem

Watching another Cayne match on BBO and saw this really interesting play problem come up. You are in 4S, all Vul, after you opened 1D (Precision) and JEC on your left overcalled 1H.

KQ74 KJ A87 J984

J985 A864 KT K52

The opening lead is the 2 of Spades, which RHO will duck whatever you play. The obvious problem is how to avoid 3 Club losers to go with the Spade loser. But you have real interesting spot cards in the suit to offer a few ways to play it. You also have a lot of entries to each hand to do almost anything you desire in terms of leading them. You also know that the opps are never going to break that suit for you, and you have no real way of throwing them in for it other than a Spade, and with the first round being ducked, you are almost sure any Spade played by you will go A and out a Spade.

Will let you decide on line of play, then say what the declarer here did and what I kind of think is right.

At the table, declarer led a second Spade, that went A on your left and another Spade. The Heart hook to the J worked, and he now led a Club to the K, loosing to the A and going down 1 when QT were in the other hand.

I think the spot cards in Clubs are the key. If RHO has either of the T or Q, are you not guaranteed a Club trick if you run the 8 off of dummy, covering whatever RHO plays? This only loses when the hands are reversed, and RHO ducks the A twice. But it is at least a 2-1 favourite to win on this hand.

Any comments?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Canadian Slams

This post is not even about my slams, even though they are often as bad. A comment I heard a while ago comes to mind on this post. Know why Canadians play the hand well, have you ever seen the contracts they get to :)

Watching a couple of Cayne matches on BBO, against 2 sets of Canadian International Experts, I saw the following 2 hands.

The first, Not Vul vs Vul, you pick up this hand A754 Q8 AK7 A532 and open 1C Precision. Partner makes a positive response of 1S and I guess they are not playing any kind of control or asking bids, just stone age precision, so this hand made a mild overbid of 3S. Partner now bid 4D, cue bid in your AK, making your hand worth less, so this hand Cue Bid 5C. Partner raised this to 6C, so this hand made a grand slam try with 6D, but partner signed off in 6S, passed out. Partners hand was KJT83 A97 J T876. Obviously this hand had very little play.

On this hand, I have to give most of the blame to East after the 1C opener. The 3S bid was a mild overbid, but quite survivable. But I really think you must have a LOT better hand to bypass 4S and cuebid 5C. On this hand, I really think that after 1C and 4S, with partner showing that at least some of your hand is wasted, you should be content with 4S. If partner can not bid over that after the previous bidding, are you missing anything?

The second hand was KQ2 JT73 AKQ87 9, vul vs not, and the auction proceeded 3S on your left, 4H by partner, pass on your right, 4S Key card in Hearts by you, 5H by partner showing 2 with the Q, 6H (???) by you. A Spade was led, LHO took the A, returned a Club, and RHO took that A, down 1.

Excuse me, is'nt Blackwood designed to keep you out of these things, not get you into them? Anyways, enough on that for now, just have to hope some of these people remember to start doing these kind of things against me when I get to play them :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009



I am annoyed about this hand. Playing BBO last night with a pick up partner in a team game, I picked up A 9873 AK52 7532 in 2nd seat, no one vul. After pass on my right, I decided to open 1D with the AAK, even with bad suits and spot cards.

Opps passed throughout, pard bid 1S, I bid 2C, pard bid 2H, and I raised to 3H, I thought patterning out. Pard bid 3S and I thought about bidding 4S, but finally decided to bid 3N, ending the auction. Then partner put down this truly amazing dummy on this auction. QJ7643 AK42 7 K9. That is right, he had an unbalanced hand with 4 Hearts???

3N was not a success on the Q of Diamonds lead and I eventually went down 4, double dummy guess I can hold it to 2 down, but I did not read the hand best. 4H was cold for at least 1 overtrick with everything favourable in it.

I asked partner why he did not bid 4H or ever show Hearts. His answer was that I could not hold 4 Hearts, even for the 3H bid, since I had shown 5-4 in the minors and then bid 3N. I had to be 1354. And it was somehow my fault for not getting to 4H.

I did not have any method of answering that, so I finished the next, thankfully last, hand and just left. I still do not know how his reasoning went on that hand. Hopefully I never will.