Those eights and nines concluded.

April 7, 2009 at 10:16 am 17 comments

On the first of the two hands I asked about – and that was last Friday – the eight was from 98x….I played for LHO to have the queen and went down down when there were no resources left after that.

On this one:

NORTH

s7652
h1J9
d1Q9732
c74

WEST

sAJ109
h1K1062
d1K
c10862

EAST

s
h1Q543
d1AJ10864
cKQJ

SOUTH

sKQ843
h1A87
d15
cA953

1D—-1S—-Dble—-3S
4H—-All Pass

The opening lead was a diamond, a heart off board goes to the nine, queen and ace. Next a low club to your hand. Like Phil I played a heart to the ten next and went down. In the other room the play started the same way, but when in with the HA, the shift was to a heart. Declarer rose on that and made easily.

I’m not convinced that it is right to put in the ten, but I will take silence as approbation!!

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Entry filed under: declarer play.

Those pesky eights and nines Why do we do what we do? On preempts. Continued.

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. phil markey  |  April 8, 2009 at 10:17 am

    i have a view about question 1 thomo

    i think given that its a strong inference that the lead is a singleton and that south has the heart length its best to ruff a spade at trick 2 and play on clubs – i also think its best to play on clubs as played after winning the low club return from south

    i should say that i certainly didnt question cathys line of playing a trump at trick 2 or continuing with a trump to the 10 as played so i suffer from hindsight bias

    whenever clubs are 3/3 the contract is surely cold – if clubs arent 3/3 then the battle is to not lose 3 trump tricks – helping declarer not lose 3 trump tricks is the fact that the defence cant allow declarer to win 7 trump tricks and if they lead trumps to stop that declarer can fall back on only requiring 5-6 trump tricks

    put another way – if and when the defence ruff the third round of clubs they are effectively endplayed to either play trumps concede a diamond trick or assist declarers tempo ruffing spades

    Reply
  • 2. Neil Ewart  |  April 8, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Call me naive but wouldn’t leftie have to grab the ace with AJx but could easily duck smoothly with Axx so restricted choice principles say it must be right to play to the 10 next. Our oppo didn’t and wrapped up the game. I’m not so sure about Bill’s claim that they wouldn’t lead singleton D with AJ8 hearts. If they could see the heart suit they might have to in order to get two trump tricks.

    Reply
    • 3. Ben Thompson  |  April 8, 2009 at 10:02 am

      The problem with ducking HA is that you have to duck the next round as well. If declarer has H QJxx instead of Qxxx, you’re about a microsecond away from endplaying yourself. There’s no reason for South to expect that playing clubs is safe.

      Reply
      • 4. Bill Jacobs  |  April 8, 2009 at 10:23 am

        I thought that the concept behind Thommo’s question about the heart duck was not to duck the second time, but to win the ace on the second round and play a third one.

        Perhaps he can enlighten us to what he had in mind.

        Reply
      • 5. Ian Thomson  |  April 8, 2009 at 2:41 pm

        I raised my points because I thought the hand had other options besides what occured at the table.

        1) I would of lead a high spade
        2) If a Diamond was lead, I would of ruffed a spade at trick 2 and played a big club at trick 3
        3) on the actual play I would of ducked the QH

        Must be the mountain air in Canberra!

        And Bill yes I would of ducked the second Heart and there is no reason for Declarer to play you for 13 count so partner would win the J and play a club.

        If Partner does not have the J, I am still likely to get in with a AC to cash AH and I would have a safe exit of high spade.

        The way the play and bidding went you would of thought declarer had solid D and I guess you should base you defence around that premise, although not correct on this occassion.

        Reply
    • 6. Ian Thomson  |  April 8, 2009 at 2:51 pm

      Ok neil, you are naive – does that make you feel better. I certainly enjoyed typing it.

      The heart suit could be Ax opposite Jxx.

      Does require a smooth duck!!

      Reply
  • 7. Ian Thomson  |  April 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    In general you should make when hearts are 3-2 by playing the K.

    My questions are
    1) did declarer err by playing a trump at trick 2; and
    2) did south err in playing the Ace of Hearts on the Q.

    Any views?
    Thommo

    Reply
    • 8. Bill Jacobs  |  April 7, 2009 at 8:05 pm

      I don’t see that at all. If South started with HAJx, then playing the king puts you down. South will win a club, draw the third trump, and by my calculations you only have 9 tricks.

      The bidding and play is pretty indicative. It truly seems that South has 5 spades a singleton diamond, and therefore 3 hearts and 4 clubs. So it does rather boil down to deciding whether South has AJx or Axx in hearts.

      Reply
      • 9. Ian Thomson  |  April 8, 2009 at 12:05 am

        Bill

        any views on my 2 questions?

        Reply
      • 10. Bill Jacobs  |  April 8, 2009 at 10:20 am

        As to the questions, as a practical matter, I wouldn’t call them clear errors.

        1) Instead of playing a heart at trick 2, I would have ruffed a spade and played a club, developing my club trick, and then aiming for a huge cross-ruff. Not sure if it stands up to analysis, but with spades clearly 5-4 and diamonds short on my left, the cross-ruff could be expected to take a lot of tricks. My aim is to take 1 diamond, 1 spade, 1 club and seven trumps.

        On the actual layout, the play could get very complex!

        2) Doubt I’m good enough to find the heart queen duck at the table. But it is probably the right play, after long analysis.

        Reply
    • 11. Ben Thompson  |  April 8, 2009 at 10:33 am

      Playing trumps immediately looks attractive because you have the side suits all under control, and it looks like IF you can pick up the trumps, the contract is cold. Certainly this is the simplest path to making (if it works).

      If you’re confident South has the long hearts (preferably 3 of them), you can embark on some version of:
      * get a club trick in; and
      * lay down the DA early to either (a) get ruffed, but eliminate the heart guess or (b) score the DA and then do some cross-ruffing (you’ll aim to get to an ending where dummy has HK10 and a club winner, and they can avoid giving you 2 of the last 3 tricks for contract)

      You can sequence it in a variety of ways. Probably the direct C at trick 2 is best, preserving maximum trump flexibility. The alternative of ruffing a spade trick 2 and THEN laying down a big club should work also (useful to prep the cross-ruff by getting a ruff in hand before South starts ditching spades).

      So to answer Thommo’s 1st question, yes I think declarer probably erred in playing a heart at trick 2.

      I’ve partly answered his 2nd question elsewhere, but I think on balance South didn’t err. Ducking the HA could easily be wrong.

      Reply
    • 12. Ian Thomson  |  April 13, 2009 at 1:18 pm

      Bill

      If you win KH, ruff a spade, play AD – if south ruffs or pitches club it is an easy make, so assume a spade is pitched, play anothed D and ruff and south pitches, the ace spade and ruff and another D and you are home.
      so I will stick with my view that the hand will make with 3-2 Hearts

      Reply
  • 13. phil markey  |  April 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    i considered bills poiint when i was looking at the hand but i largely dismissed it when giving my answer

    south has exactly 5 spades – the diamond 5 makes most sense as a singleton as he didnt lead a spade and its your suit – south has the club ace but he doesnt have 5 clubs – south probably has heart length

    if one of souths rank challenegd hearts was the jack then he would probably still lead a diamond – i dont think that would be a terrible lead and in any event its dangerous to think that your opponent would take an expert view when everybody knows that leading a singleton means you often get a ruff

    as bill observes and any lawyer knows its easy to find evidence if you know what evidence your looking for

    Reply
    • 14. Peter Gill  |  April 9, 2009 at 1:08 am

      I tend to think that the declarer who played the hand best went down.

      My tendency as declarer would be to play a club to the jack at
      Trick 2, trying to get South to take his likely ace. I want that CA taken as early as possible. I might even get a heart switch. 🙂
      CJ because I might have QJx, harder to duck CJ then CK I think. CQ instead? Well maybe.

      What seemed to happen to Cathy was that Hayden Blakeman,
      not knowing that Cathy’s diamonds weren’t solid (she was drawing trumps, which suggested they were fairly solid),
      felt that clubs needed to be attacked, and played partner
      for Kx or xx in clubs. This threatened the club ruff which
      made it very dangerous for Cathy to finesse H10, lest there
      be a club ruff – but a club ruff would give South ten black
      cards. Cathy seemed to play with the odds by playing
      South for HJ.

      On BBO at the other table (Bill Jacobs was there too and can confirm if I’m right), South won HA in tempo and exited a heart almost straight away, with declarer rising with HK so fast that
      I didn’t have a written comment ready, i.e. little thought
      appeared to take place. Declarer probably thought (perhaps
      not correctly overall) that the quick heart exit was not the play
      of someone with HAJx or HAJxx, buit fitted with Axx or Ax
      (then South has 5-1-2-5 shape, not consistent with South’s
      low club exit which happened only at Cathy’s (the other) table.

      So, to answer Thommo’s questions:
      (1) maybe a club is better, maybe not
      (2) ducking HA – I wouldn’t do that – surely Cathy would then have played CK next. Do I duck that? Bot obvious. I suppose I should. Alas our club count will tell her North’s shape – with
      xxxx, Ax, Qxxxx, xx North might have bid something else
      (NS system of raises is not revealed, if it’s at all Robson and Segalish, HA is marked) , so Cathy might well play a heart
      to the king next, having sniffed that Thommo and maybe me
      are just the sort of people who duck with HAxx. I’ve seen
      Cathy get these sorts of things right in the past.

      All very iffy.

      Reply
  • 15. Bill Jacobs  |  April 7, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    The analysis from the Department of 20-20 Hindsight goes like this:

    1. The lead up into your first bid suit must be a singleton.

    2. Leader wouldn’t be making such a lead with AJ8 in trumps.

    3. So you drop the heart jack.

    Reply
  • 16. Ben Thompson  |  April 7, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Depends on how much North and South know about these situations.

    I think the argument you’re suggesting is that when North plays the 9, he has stiff 9 or J9 doubleton. Stiff 9 is bloody awkward (although you might still get home) whereas dropping J9 doubleton makes it all pretty easy.

    This is a situation where both North and South should randomise their pip play when they can. When they do that, all the restricted choice stuff washes out.

    Let’s say South plays the 7 on the 2nd round. The possible layouts are:
    A7 : J98 – the 7 is forced, but we see the 9 half the time
    AJ7 : 98 – the 7 is forced but we see the 9 half the time
    A87 : J9 – we see the 7 half the time but the 9 is forced
    AJ87 : 9 – we see the 7 half the time but the 9 is forced

    Each case is as likely to have been seen as another (except specific 3-2 cases are about 20% more likely than specific 4-1 cases).

    You can’t do anything about A7:J98. In the other 3 cases, AJ7 washes with A87 odds-wise, so the tie-breaker is AJ87. Against good players, one should finesse.

    The opponents at the other table managed to make their game and insult your team mates at the same time 🙂

    Reply
    • 17. Chris Mulley  |  April 8, 2009 at 5:11 pm

      Is that the quinella, or the daily double???

      Reply

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