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.

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