Are there choices here? Continued

July 2, 2009 at 12:40 pm 5 comments

The problem presented yesterday, from our last match against Cayne was this:

WEST

sKQ108
h19432
d110972
cJ

SOUTH

sJ6532
h1K6
d1Q5
cKQ62

You are West, sitting over dummy after this auction:

West….North….East….South
Pass…..1D…….Pass…..1S
Pass…..2C…….Pass…..3C
Pass…..3NT

Partner leads the S7 to your ten. What should you do now?

I’m both surprised and relieved that nobody came up with the answer:

NORTH

s4
h1AQ107
d1AJ64
cA973

WEST

sKQ108
h19432
d110972
cJ

EAST

sA97
h1J85
d1K83
c10854

SOUTH

sJ6532
h1K6
d1Q5
cKQ62

I continued a spade on the basis that if declarer had nine minor tricks and partner had the heart ace, we need to cash out now. In fact, what you have to do is shift to a diamond, which was my other thought. Maybe this is just odds: it’s more likely that partner has both minors stopped than the heart ace? Continuing with a spade meant that declarer got to keep playing spades with a view to squeezing partner.

Shifting to a heart is no good. When declarer continues with a spade, if you win it your side has only three spade tricks so declarer can develop diamonds. If partner wins it, then he has nothing effective to do. He exits, declarer plays another spade and that is the end of that.

Is there a useful clue in the opening lead? With four hearts partner might well have led one. Maybe that affords the presumption that declarer is 1444, and now the diamond shift is obvious as declarer can’t be cashing out in the minors.

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Entry filed under: Cayne matches.

Are there choices here? Back soon…

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. khokan  |  July 3, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    The point of the SA lead is that you DO have a likely second entry. I’m sure that if you held the DA instead of the DK, you’d pick the SA – this isn’t all that different. Leading the SA on the layout Bill’s suggested may not spell the end of the defense. Leading a low one when declarer has a singleton honour probably will.

    Reply
  • 2. Bill Jacobs  |  July 3, 2009 at 10:15 am

    I don’t think you can infer much from partner’s failure to lead a heart. A spade is generally a most attractive lead on this auction – spades is often a weak spot for declarer.

    As for Khokan’s suggestion to lead the spade ace … I’m not convinced.

    Consider this spade layout:

    Q10xx
    A97 KJ8xx
    x

    The killing lead here is the spade 9 … the only card that allows you to run 5 spade tricks. Whilst the layout is complicated by your high spots (and the presence of the diamond king), in isolation, the concept of keeping the spade ace in reserve as an entry is sound.

    Reply
  • 3. khokan  |  July 2, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    The SA is a much better choice of opening leading than a low one, as it caters to a singleton honour with north – a likely scenario. Declarer is more likely to be 1354 than 1444.

    Reply
    • 4. phil markey  |  July 3, 2009 at 10:06 am

      i think the ace of spades is better because you have an entry to lead them a third time – ace of spades followed by the 7 of spades makes the defence a doddle

      Reply
    • 5. Chris Mulley  |  July 3, 2009 at 12:09 pm

      The SA seems very committal to me, potentially setting up two or more immediate tricks for declarer in dummy. However, my holdings in all of the other suits make it seem as though spades is our best potential source of tricks. Given that, I agree with Bill that I might need the SA as a quick entry to lead them again. I think I might try S9 at trick one and hope that partner can read it.

      Reply

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