Michael Ware on the 2010 Last Train part 2

April 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm 13 comments

Richard Jedrychowski found a great lead against us in the next match, but it was just too awesome and the contract made anyway!:

Board 19 rotated
Dealer East
NS Vul

NORTH

s752
h143
d1K5
cKQJ975

WEST

sA43
h1AQ5
d19642
c1032

EAST

sK986
h1KJ1086
d1J7
c64

SOUTH

sQJ10
h1972
d1AQ1083
cA8

West…..North…..East…..South
Jed’i……Cathy….P’cott….Michael
……………………Pass…..1NT
Pass….3NT……All Pass

I was South, Cathy North with Richard Jedrychowski West and Michael Prescott East.

Richard led the Ace of Hearts!

What a lead – Ace from AQx and your partner has KJ10 to five! But… Prescott played the 6 – standard count – and I played the 2.

Richard thought Prescott’s low heart was standard attitude (correctly in my opinion) and so switched to a diamond!

+660 and 12 imps vs. the datum.

CC: I find Richard’s lead slightly curious. Isn’t the queen standard from this holding to make it hard for declarer to hold up when he can and should? The last time I led the ace, rather than the queen, from this holding, it was because I was playing with a relatively weak player in the world pairs and, on top of that, I knew she had the entries for our side, so the ace seemed obvious. I suppose the ace has the positive aspect that you can still choose not to send your queen into the Valley of Death.

See you Monday for the next deal in Michael’s saga.

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Entry filed under: defence.

Michael Ware on the 2010 Last Train part 1 This is something you don’t see every day.

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peter Gill  |  April 26, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    All serious Prescott partnerships – even Prescott and Gill – play that the lead of an ace asks for count and the lead of a king asks for attitude. Ditto most Bilski partnerships. Under those conditions, sticking to the agreed system must have at least some merit at Trick 1.

    I like HA lead if our prior agreement is to give attitude on ace leads. If our agreement is to give count on ace leads but not on queen leads, I prefer HQ lead. If our agrement is to give count on both ace and queen leads, I think I’d lead a low spade, which might beat 3NT.

    I think West should switch to a spade, not a diamond, once he decides to switch. Then 3NT would probably go one off (SK, HK, no unblock in case partner has 3 hearts)

    I once played in a partnership which gave suit preference on ace leads, at my partner’s suggestion. That too would defeat 3NT as it happens, via the spade switch.

    It’s amazing how often your lead to 3NT has struck gold but it’s so hard to tell.

    Reply
  • 2. phil markey  |  April 24, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    i think the ace of hearts is a decent lead – when the contract can be beaten it will often be best

    i think the time for commitment to the plan has passed (without knowing what carding they agreed i figure east did the right thing – i would do the right thing with those hearts on that lead) so west should follow through and continue a heart

    but in the bigger picture i blame east – surely east has squandered a ton of equity being the dealer with nice boss suits at these colours

    Reply
    • 3. cathychua  |  April 24, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      Phil, I’m smiling. And I’m using a supercomputer to find a hand that you don’t think has been lost in the bidding. It’s only been going a week, so far. I’ll let you know when it comes up with something!!

      Reply
      • 4. khokan  |  April 24, 2010 at 4:24 pm

        Leads like this one only seem to get written up when they’re right. I’d guess that for each one that worked, there’d be a lot more that didn’t. The telling point, I reckon, is that EW didn’t beat the hand, even on the double dummy lead – add this to the times when the HA loses a tempo and you’d be way behind, overall, with leads like the HA. This applies especially against pairs like Meckwell and Lauria/Versace, i.e., pairs that regularly bid 3NT on 23-24 points and balanced hands.

        Reply
        • 5. cathychua  |  April 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm

          I don’t know that it would have been my choice. I’d rather have the hearts without the outside ace. And if it doesn’t work when it does, some times, then all round it is obviously a seriously speculative manouevre.

          Reply
    • 6. phil markey  |  April 25, 2010 at 12:29 am

      well to do the argument more justice;

      on this auction dummy is going to either have 12-17 balanced probably witjhout a major or a fat minor suit and lmaybe ess values

      when its the former its very commonly cold particularly when the suits break which they do this hand

      when its the latter and the contract can be beaten the ace of hearts is a standout

      definately this lead doesnt work in a spectacular way some of the time – but – looking stupid on opening lead has to be right a lot of the time.

      Reply
  • 7. khokan  |  April 23, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I think a heart lead on a blind auction like this is crazy – there’s no reason to suspect a long suit. The next time west leads a heart, it will be declarer’s ninth trick. I prefer defences where my choice doesn’t make/break the contract at trick one, when I’m leading blind.

    East should play the HJ, whatever signals EW play.

    Reply
    • 8. cathychua  |  April 23, 2010 at 10:59 pm

      But what if the ace is from ace another and you give declarer two stoppers?

      Reply
      • 9. khokan  |  April 24, 2010 at 8:25 am

        Firstly, ace from ace another is a pretty bizarre lead on this auction. Secondly, giving declarer three heart tricks, instead of two (assuming declarer holds KQ9x of hearts) won’t give away the contract, looking at that dummy.

        Reply
        • 10. cathychua  |  April 24, 2010 at 9:30 am

          Is ace from Axx less weird than ace from Ax? I meant re the extra trick, if partner puts the jack on the ace, this has given declarer’s Q9xx extra weight.

          Reply
      • 11. khokan  |  April 24, 2010 at 11:58 am

        A agree that leading the ace from Axx is a weird lead, too. If declarer has Q9xx of hearts, then partner has AK tight and you don’t have the entries to set up the suit, even if partner has the SA.

        The only layout where playing the HJ is wrong is when declarer holds Q9x and partner has the SA, in which case you can take two spades and three hearts.

        Reply
        • 12. cathychua  |  April 24, 2010 at 1:26 pm

          Khokan, how can the opening leader have the king of hearts when partner has it?

          Reply
  • 13. Chris Mulley  |  April 23, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    Regarding the lead, I think that it really depends on what you think/hope is going on on the hand. If it is simply a case of trying to find partner’s tricks, there might be a case for AS because THAT might be partner’s suit and if it isn’t, you can still switch to hearts to try that. That plan also works when you need the two quick heart tricks to go with your other tricks. Of course, the major downside is that it makes it more likely that declarer will have 9 tricks to go before you get to set up partner’s heart suit, if that is where the tricks need to come from.

    I agree with Cathy that if my plan was to hope that hearts was partner’s suit, I like the HQ more than the HA as a lead. At the table, I think I would lead HQ against this auction without too much thought … and probably spend most of the rest of the hand wishing I had thought more about my opening lead. 🙂

    Reply

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