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  #551  
Old 04-12-2018, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
I play systems off after any interference - including doubles. And you can bid on zero points after a double.
You might want to reconsider that when double is conventional (e.g. if playing DONT). Why let them destroy your constructive bidding sequences by throwing in a random conventional double?
  #552  
Old 04-13-2018, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by amarone View Post
You might want to reconsider that when double is conventional (e.g. if playing DONT).
A conventioal double of 1N is for penalties around here, so escaping into a suit with - hopefully - an 8 card fit is going to be a better contract.
  #553  
Old 04-13-2018, 07:26 AM
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A conventioal double of 1N is for penalties around here, so escaping into a suit with - hopefully - an 8 card fit is going to be a better contract.
Over a penalty double I play systems on, plus redouble with a 5+ card minor - opener bids 2C and responder corrects to 2D with diamonds. This allows us to right-side all the 5-card suit escapes except 2D.

With one partner I also play that a pass by responder demands a redouble from opener. Responder will then either pass or start to bid 4-card suits up the line to try escape.

Note that I play a 15-17 NT, whereas I imagine you play 12-14. I don't need to escape from being doubled as often as you will.

This reminds me of a hand Andrew Robson held on vugraph. He had a balanced 22-count, I think, and RHO opened 1NT (15-17). What did he bid?
  #554  
Old 04-13-2018, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by amarone View Post
This reminds me of a hand Andrew Robson held on vugraph. He had a balanced 22-count, I think, and RHO opened 1NT (15-17). What did he bid?
Heh. That happened to me holding 20 HCP against 12-14. I doubled, and when it came back round, I doubled again. They made their contract. Next time I'll pass the second time around.
  #555  
Old 04-13-2018, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by amarone View Post
I have played Kokish, but none of my current partners are familiar with it. It works well when the situations come up, but that is not very often for casual partners.

Indeed, in which case there is no need to play a transfer followed by 4C as KCGerber. I prefer it to be a splinter, which I believe to be more in line with expert practice than its being KCGerber.
I would like that, TBH, but for some reason all my partners have insisted on 4C being KCB

I'll bring it up again
  #556  
Old 04-13-2018, 02:28 PM
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Heh. That happened to me holding 20 HCP against 12-14. I doubled, and when it came back round, I doubled again. They made their contract. Next time I'll pass the second time around.
It was key to Robson's decision that opponents opened a strong NT. He passed. His reasoning was a) they probably do not have a game on their way, and b) if he doubled, his partner was bound to pull it as he would have a maximum of 3 points.
  #557  
Old 04-13-2018, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by amarone View Post
You may say that you like pass/4C (robardin and Old Guy's favorites, if I remember correctly), but based on what actually happened, my double is certainly looking better than 4C. We end up in 4H (or possibly defending 3SX, dependng on partner's spades - the 4NT bid over 4C suggests that partner has a decent spade holding, in which case 3SX could be in trouble) and nobody is doubling 4H and it even has prospects.
My line about liking OldGuy's approach referred to sneaking off to the men's room rather than bidding 4C.
I agree that as the cards lay, doubling could work out well - 3S* goes one down, assuming partner leaves the double in with his S J9xx and doesn't pull to 4D on KTxx, but I still think that on balance it's too risky - another day you'll find yourself in 4 of a red suit on a 4-3 fit and opener's partner can just as easily have 5 diamonds or hearts as 5 clubs.
  #558  
Old 04-13-2018, 03:08 PM
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On the subject of doubling twice, try this one (from the same session as the pre-empt)

First in hand, all vul, you open 1S on:

S KQJ9x
H x
D AKJx
C A9x

The bidding proceeds:
1S - 2H - P - P
Dbl - 3H - P - P

What now? (opponents are play weak jump overcalls, if that helps)

Last edited by merrick; 04-13-2018 at 03:10 PM.
  #559  
Old 04-13-2018, 03:33 PM
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Originally Posted by merrick View Post
On the subject of doubling twice, try this one (from the same session as the pre-empt)

First in hand, all vul, you open 1S on:

S KQJ9x
H x
D AKJx
C A9x

The bidding proceeds:
1S - 2H - P - P
Dbl - 3H - P - P

What now? (opponents are play weak jump overcalls, if that helps)
First of all, had partner passed 2H hoping to pass a reopening double for penalty of 2H, he would have doubled 3H - so he doesn't have That Hand (the one with a heart stack).

I could have made a reopening double with much less than that monster, so I have to double a second time.

My spade suit is quite good, so at worst, he'd put me in 3S with a doubleton spade. If he has a singleton or void in spades and can't stand defending 3H, he must have a 5 card minor for us to land in on the 4 level.

On the more optimistic side, he might well have a hand that can't really double 3H opposite a possible minimum reopening double from me, but will pass when I show a second double.

Finally, he might have a hand where he wasn't willing to bid 4 of a minor over 3H if I had a minimum reopening double, but after a second one, can bid 3NT - as little as:

xx
Qxx
Qxx
KQJxx

Where Qxx of hearts must surely be a stopper on this auction, and I have to have the Ace of clubs and Pointy Suit Stuff on the order of an 18+ HCP hand.

Last edited by robardin; 04-13-2018 at 03:34 PM.
  #560  
Old 04-13-2018, 03:46 PM
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Speaking of "weak jump overcalls", here was one I made yesterday I'm a little proud of (maybe you'll find reason to knock me down for it, though?) -

My partnership style is to make sound, constructive opening preempts opposite an unpassed partner - slightly less so if RHO dealt and opened the bidding - but liberty to get creative once partner is a passed hand.

And so, the other day, none vul in third seat, I held:

x
xx
xxx
AJ9xxxx

That's a hand I would not open 3C in first seat, though many might. Without a better suit or an outside control (A or K), it cannot reasonably play in 3NT opposite a small doubleton - that's one of the "have respect for an unpassed partner" measures we use. (Make the club suit headed by AQJ or even AJT9 and I would do it, though with the latter, I really ought to have at least an outside Queen.)

In second seat, over a RHO dealer who opened, it'd be different - I would be bid 3C over 1 of a major and hope to get away with it, unless vul against non-vul, just to make their game-going auctions less clear. (Depending on their methods, 1S-(3C)-3S may ambiguity or have double duty as "competing to the 3 level" and "invitational raise of spades")

But I wasn't in first or second seat: partner had dealt and passed, and RHO opened not one of a major, but 1D.

Where are all the points? Well, if partner passed as dealer, it seems likely opponents have game values - I have only 5 HCPs.

Where are all the majors? It's possible partner has some junky 9-10 count with 5-5 majors, but it seems pretty likely the opponents have at least one 8-card major suit fit. And look, they haven't bid their majors yet! So this is most definitely the time to preempt with my clubs.

So why stop at 3C, which lets them have the 3 level to explore which major suit they fit best in? Let them guess at the game level. I bid 4C. Partner can't hang me, he's a passed hand, what's he going to do other than maybe raise to 5C over 4 of a major?

LHO thought for some time over 4C, and then doubled. RHO then thought for a while, and bid 4S.

After all the long pauses, it was ethically hard for LHO to do much more with his hand, which was a 5431 shaped hand with 13 HCPs: with both majors he could only make a negative double, and for all he knew, partner had a minimum opener with 4 spades, and was simply choosing a game.

Meanwhile, the 1D opener had 4342 shape and an 18 count that had been intending to rebid 2NT. He wasn't sure if his partner's double of 4C was based primarily on shape or on HCP, much less being able to picture a 9 card spade fit, so he settled for a "heavy-ish" 4S bid.

It's an interesting argument about which hand was too conservative in their action, but 4S made six, score it up, next board.

At the other table my hand bid the "normal" 3C, and LHO bid 3S instead of doubling, since it was forcing and he could show his 5 card spade suit while reserving his heart suit to bid at the 4 level (or opener might bid 4H). The hand with the 18 count and 4 spades now drove to slam.
  #561  
Old 04-13-2018, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by merrick View Post
On the subject of doubling twice, try this one (from the same session as the pre-empt)
Pass. Assuming you're playing 5 card majors, partner does not have 3+ spades, else she would have raised you. RHO does not have 4+ hearts or would have raised LHO's overcall to the level of the fit. To repeat hearts, LHO must have at least 6 hearts. So opponents can be expected to have an 8 or 9 card fit. This means partner can be expected to have 3 or 4 hearts. LHO's overcall is technically unlimed, but with higher point counts you would expect her to double then bid. Neither partner nor RHO have bid so you cannot expect points there and thus points are probably around 20-20 on each side. So pass.

I would, however, take issue with the initial double. To me, that looks like a penalty double rather than a take-out double because you've already bid a suit.
  #562  
Old 04-15-2018, 06:59 AM
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Quartz - I should have been clearer - we were playing Acol, so my 1S shows only 4. And I don't think that even with a fit partner is obliged to bid over the intervention if he has a very weak hand - say xxxx xxx Qx xxxx

"Bid to the level of the fit" isn't a big thing round here. I think it's too simplistic myself - in my experience on of the best ways to go for a big penalty is to overbid on a big fit in an otherwise weak/balanced hand. Say 1S - 2H - 3D - 3H ("I've got 4 hearts for you, partner") - 3S - 4H ("I've got a 6th Heart") - P - P -Dble and when the hands go down you see that there are no ruffs in dummy, the 9th and 10th trumps are waste paper and even at favourable vulnerability, 4 down isn't worth it. Or you get doubled after 1S -2H - P - 3H and five minutes later opponents are scoring up their +300 and agreeing there's no way they'd have bid game on two semi-balanced hands and a combined 23 count.
Now if the overcaller's partner has ruffing values, then it's a very different story - if you can make 5 or 6 trumps in hand plus 2 or 3 ruffs in dummy, either you're making game or saving cheaply.

The re-opening double would be for penalties in the old days, but nowadays pretty much everyone would play it a take-out - there just aren't very many hands with a legitimate penalty double after 1S -2H - P - P, so use the double to show strength and 2S to show a weaker hand with longer spades. Partner can convert the double if he has a strong heart holding (and he's more likely to hold a heart stack than opener).
In fact, these days it's hard to find a genuine penalty double of a 2-level bid - an escape after a double of 1NT is the only one I can think of - which might explain why modern bidding is so aggressive.
  #563  
Old 04-15-2018, 07:17 AM
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robardin - Nice story, and for my money you picked the right time for your 4C.
One of the risks of pre-empting is that you can end up bouncing opponents into a making game they wouldn't have found by themselves, but with only 5HCP and one defensive trick opposite a passing partner it looks likely they'll find something.
Likewise, it looks unlikely that you'll go for a pile if they decide to double 4C - you might, but if partner's hand is completely empty then they're making slam, and 4-5 off is a bargain. And 4C is so much more pre-emptive than 3C.

Mind you, I've met some players who would overcall 1S on that hand...
  #564  
Old 04-15-2018, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by robardin View Post
Where are all the majors? It's possible partner has some junky 9-10 count with 5-5 majors, but it seems pretty likely the opponents have at least one 8-card major suit fit.
Just to pick up on this, if you had a terrible 6-card suit - say 10-high - would you open it as a weak 2 even with 8 other HCP?

And, to stretch the example, if you were a 6-6-1 Yarborough, would you open the bidding?

I recently played a Goulash hand which was 7-6 and 7 or 8 HCP and a total misfit with partner.
  #565  
Old 04-15-2018, 04:08 PM
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Bridge: 7 No Trumps baby!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Just to pick up on this, if you had a terrible 6-card suit - say 10-high - would you open it as a weak 2 even with 8 other HCP?



And, to stretch the example, if you were a 6-6-1 Yarborough, would you open the bidding?



I recently played a Goulash hand which was 7-6 and 7 or 8 HCP and a total misfit with partner.

Opening style is quite wide among bridge players... I can only tell you my preference, which is to be constructive opposite an unpassed partner.

I would never open a "terrible suit" with a weak 2 in first or second seat.

OTOH I might well open even a weak 2 on a mediocre five card suit and a hand with shortness in third seat, like 2H with 1552 shape, to make opponents' constructive auctions less clear: 2H-(2S), if partner raises to 3H as he will find every excuse to do, they've likely lost an invitational spade raise.

A 6610 shaped zero count should never open opposite an unpassed partner, that's how you'll get to awful slams and lose all trust from partner... But pass, pass? Yeah, I'd open something, probably 2S.

Last edited by robardin; 04-15-2018 at 04:09 PM.
  #566  
Old 04-15-2018, 05:00 PM
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Pass. Assuming you're playing 5 card majors, partner does not have 3+ spades, else she would have raised you. RHO does not have 4+ hearts or would have raised LHO's overcall to the level of the fit. To repeat hearts, LHO must have at least 6 hearts. So opponents can be expected to have an 8 or 9 card fit. This means partner can be expected to have 3 or 4 hearts. LHO's overcall is technically unlimed, but with higher point counts you would expect her to double then bid. Neither partner nor RHO have bid so you cannot expect points there and thus points are probably around 20-20 on each side. So pass.

I would, however, take issue with the initial double. To me, that looks like a penalty double rather than a take-out double because you've already bid a suit.
You can't pass there in any decent game, Quartz. 18pts with shape and the boss suit? Granted pass prob gets a good score on a normal club night, but that is not the standard we aspire to.

Good to read posts on weak jump overcall quality, Robardin. I think that is something that is less-defined than it should be for a lot of partnerships I play against (and a couple I play in). I think most of us prob have a good dialog with partner on what a weak 2 looks like, but I've had some wildly divergent expectations of wjo quality with some partners. Pard needs to know whether to take the sac against a slam, a game, or if they can bid constructively themselves, which is impossible if the overcaller is just wading in with any 6 weak.
  #567  
Old 04-15-2018, 05:32 PM
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You can't pass there in any decent game, Quartz. 18pts with shape and the boss suit? Granted pass prob gets a good score on a normal club night, but that is not the standard we aspire to.
I agree. We aspire to be better. But one of the lessons from my masterclasses is that in Duplicate you should not aim for the 100% score but for the 60% score. Getting tops is nice, but they'll be more than balanced in the long run by 0% scores and getting a consistent 60% will win through. Teams is different, of course.
  #568  
Old 04-15-2018, 09:34 PM
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I agree. We aspire to be better. But one of the lessons from my masterclasses is that in Duplicate you should not aim for the 100% score but for the 60% score. Getting tops is nice, but they'll be more than balanced in the long run by 0% scores and getting a consistent 60% will win through. Teams is different, of course.
Are you talking about opening 1S and then reopening with a double not once, but twice, on

KQJ9x
x
AKJx
A9x

This is not a swing move at all - completely unlike what I considered the 4C bid on hand balancing an opening 3S with stiff spade Ace, AQx of hearts, Jxx of diamonds, and QJ-sixth of clubs.

You should be thinking about partner's expected values, and what you have already shown partner. The reason is not only because you have 20 HCPs, but a much better spade suit. It's not about points, it's about where they are.

So, what are partner's "expected values", in terms of HCP? What is LHO showing by bidding 2H, and then 3H? Don't kid yourself that 3H shows any extra HCP - it could, sure, but what it really shows is longer hearts (6+ card suit, maybe 7) that was too good to preempt over 1S. Yet his partner didn't go to 4H, either.

So I'd say LHO rates to have, say, 12-14 HCPs (with distribution and length in hearts), while partner has 2 or fewer spades (he really should bid 2S over 2H on even a 6 count with three card spade support), and up to 8 HCPs, possibly long hearts.

Since I would have reopened after 1S-(2H)-Pass-(Pass) with a double on:

KQxxx
x
AJxx
A9x

and this hand is CONSIDERABLY better than that, with no wasted cards in hearts, I have to double again, in case partner has "the right" 5 HCPs, we should be in game (3NT); or, with "the right" heart holding, penalizing 3H.

This isn't a case of partner saying "I heard you the first time". You have NOT shown this hand, in my opinion, and you should be.

Most importantly, the quality of my spade suit says I have a relatively safe landing spot in 3S if partner has a small doubleton.

I would not try to double a second time with a 20 HCP hand like this:

KJxxx
A
KJxx
AKJ

If we had a game, partner would have said something. But not true with the actual hand I hold, which could make 3NT opposite even something like:

x
KTxx
xx
KJxxx

Now this is definitely from the POV of playing IMPs, which is my preferred scoring. At matchpoints, though, you want to double even more so to make defeating 3H by one a good score versus the possible game that you're no longer focused on bidding. Because even at matchpoints, you haven't shown your hand with the first double. And showing your hand is still a good thing.
  #569  
Old 04-16-2018, 04:35 AM
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Are you talking about opening 1S and then reopening with a double not once, but twice, on

KQJ9x
x
AKJx
A9x

Yes. The first time around, rather than doubling, I would cue-bid their suit or bid diamonds. 1S - 2H - P - P - 3D and 1S - 2H - P - P - 3H are both very strong bids.
  #570  
Old 04-16-2018, 08:21 AM
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Yes. The first time around, rather than doubling, I would cue-bid their suit or bid diamonds. 1S - 2H - P - P - 3D and 1S - 2H - P - P - 3H are both very strong bids.
I'm with robardin. I double both times, for the same reasons he gives. I don't totally hate bidding 3D the first time, but partner will be unhappy if sitting there with a penalty pass. Cue bidding 3H is too much. That forces us too high if partner is a bust.
  #571  
Old 04-16-2018, 01:34 PM
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Yes. The first time around, rather than doubling, I would cue-bid their suit or bid diamonds. 1S - 2H - P - P - 3D and 1S - 2H - P - P - 3H are both very strong bids.
But your hand doesn't have good shape to bid 3D, which bid should be highly suit-contract-oriented (saying "we should play this hand"). You actually have excellent defensive values".

You should not consider passing for a moment when you have more than you showed for your opening bid, and a safe way to show it. You'll find that controlling the 3 level is the key to winning part-score battles, which are extremely important at matchpoints; but even at IMPs, matches come down to IMPs won on a board with a double partial swing, or a couple of 2-3 IMP wins for getting to 3 of something down one versus them making 2 or 3 of something.

The reason I would double the second time is that it REALLY smells like partner has heart length - he has twice refused to bid spades or a minor. Partner's expected value is around 4-5 HCPs, so even if the 3H bidder has a good 7 card suit, something like

A
AKJTxxx
Qxx
Kx

If partner has Q9xx of trump he's going to go down on a spade lead, with 2 heart losers and at least four minor suit losers (possibly five, if partner has the Queen of clubs) as he has to constantly lead away from his hand. Just play spades every time you're in, which will be a lot of non-heart tricks.

If partner has just one trump trick, like Jxxx of hearts, that could be enough to beat 3H by one.

And if the heart bidder has more than one spade, well, look at your spades. You'll win some of them, since dummy won't be short in spades (partner is).

Now, if you expect to beat 3H by one and are pretty sure it can go down 2 a bunch of different ways, you should double. Maybe not at IMPs, but most definitely at matchpoints.

In the worst case, if partner has a 0 count with a five card minor, you'll play in 4 of that minor. Not so bad, and you may even score reasonably well versus 3H (going down 1 or 2 undoubled).

And if he should be 1444 with four miserably tiny hearts that can't pass for penalty, well, you hope he picks diamonds .
  #572  
Old 04-16-2018, 02:59 PM
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Some interesting stuff here - at the table, I didn't bid 3D on the first round because it shuts out Clubs - if partner has 5 or more, Clubs may actually be the right suit. Give the hand a Spade/Diamond more and a Club less and it's a different story.
As for 3H, while the hand is good, it isn't quite good enough for a game force opposite a partner who's promised nothing. Even if we find a fit, it still needs 2-3 tricks from partner to make game.

By the time of the second double, I was suspecting, like robardin that partner had the missing Hearts (and RHO had the missing Spades) and 3H* was going to be left in.
But there's more:

KQJ9x
x
AKJx
A9x

All vul

1S - 2H - P - P
Dbl - 3H - P - P
Dbl - P - 3S - P
P - 4H - P - P

I wasn't even sure about the pass of 3S. Partner likely has 3 spades (if he only had 2 and no Heart holding, he would bid his 5-card minor), but even with the fit, my hand has 5 losers. It's probably too much to expect KC and a minor Queen from him.
Then again. if partner has nothing, opponents must be pretty close to making 4H.

So what now, double a third time, pass, or take the push to 4S?
  #573  
Old 04-16-2018, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by merrick View Post
Some interesting stuff here - at the table, I didn't bid 3D on the first round because it shuts out Clubs - if partner has 5 or more, Clubs may actually be the right suit. Give the hand a Spade/Diamond more and a Club less and it's a different story.
As for 3H, while the hand is good, it isn't quite good enough for a game force opposite a partner who's promised nothing. Even if we find a fit, it still needs 2-3 tricks from partner to make game.

By the time of the second double, I was suspecting, like robardin that partner had the missing Hearts (and RHO had the missing Spades) and 3H* was going to be left in.
But there's more:

KQJ9x
x
AKJx
A9x

All vul

1S - 2H - P - P
Dbl - 3H - P - P
Dbl - P - 3S - P
P - 4H - P - P

I wasn't even sure about the pass of 3S. Partner likely has 3 spades (if he only had 2 and no Heart holding, he would bid his 5-card minor), but even with the fit, my hand has 5 losers. It's probably too much to expect KC and a minor Queen from him.
Then again. if partner has nothing, opponents must be pretty close to making 4H.

So what now, double a third time, pass, or take the push to 4S?
FWIW I misremembered the hand as having AQx, not A9x, of clubs - which makes the second double a lot more "cuspy".

That said, I think I would still double a second time at matchpoints, while my regular partner said he would not. (We both chose to double the first time.)

So, you chose to double again, and partner took preference to 3S, and LHO bid 4H, and partner... didn't double.

Well, damn. And you could've played quietly in 3H. If this makes, you pushed them there.

I don't see a point in doubling yet again - if 4H does indeed make, on my head be it for keeping the auction alive when it should have died. If it's going down, going plus should be enough, as it's starting to sound like 3H would have made, and maybe 4H down 1 is a win right there.
  #574  
Old 04-16-2018, 04:18 PM
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BTW there is no such thing as a "push to 4S" here. Partner had the chance to bid 2S over 2H, which he would (should) do on all but the very crappiest of hands, with 3+ spades and 5+ HCPs. He didn't sit for the double of 3H, and didn't double 4H, which says he doesn't have a heart mini-stack behind the bidder. His retreating to 3S bid over 3H doubled could well be on a doubleton, or at best, three small spades.

If 4S was a good sacrifice over 4H, partner is best suited to making that call. He didn't.

So that means you can only hope that 4H goes down and that 3H was making, in which case you've won the part score battle with the boss suit once again, yo! Doubling doesn't really matter, given the somewhat aggressive second double; you made your bed (or, I made my bed), now it's time to lie in it.
  #575  
Old 04-17-2018, 10:56 AM
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While I approve of merrick's bidding, I think partner likely has only two spades. I think West has 8 hearts; East has a good hand but is very short of hearts.

Can you tell what the other hands actually were, merrick?
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:25 PM
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Defended this hand last night, 3NT contract, no bidding from the defence, MPs.

Dummy
J
T72
QJ2
AKQT95

Declarer
AT7643
AK3
A94
2

Lead was a small heart. Declarer took the wrong line, contract defeated, much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.

Think it's a good exercise for beginner / improvers on what you need to do, although posting it as a problem sort of gives the game away I guess. More an exercise in contingency planning at trick 1 by thinking what might go wrong.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:09 PM
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I have a book by Paul Mendelsohn in which he states that often, the key to finding the right line is to think of the hand before you as a 'problem' or 'set' hand. Maybe there isn't a catch - but if there is, that way, you might find it.

Anyway, as a beginner/improver, here's my take on the situation. I see 7 top tricks. One each from clubs and diamonds would seem to be the best prospects for making the contract. If clubs split 3-3 it's trivial of course, but we can't rely on that. If they're 4-2 or 5-1, making 4 or 5 club tricks should be possible, provided we can get into dummy. Which we can, with the QJ of diamonds. What if clubs break 6-0? Then we only make four club tricks, but that QJ of diamonds should still be good for the final one we need.

So, my plan is to win the lead in hand, play the 2 of clubs to cross to dummy, cash the AKQ (in case I get lucky and drop the J), keep playing high clubs until the J appears, win the return in hand, lead a small diamond towards the QJ in dummy. Aaaand now I think I see the flaw in this plan - even if the finesse is right, LHO will rise with the K anyway, and then take 2 spade tricks. Although, after that he will be forced to play a suit I can win, then I cross to dummy with its surviving top diamond, cash any clubs that are left, and play out the rest of my high cards to take the contract, winning 4 clubs, 2 diamonds, 2 hearts, and a spade.

What have I missed?
  #578  
Old 04-17-2018, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Dead Cat View Post
I have a book by Paul Mendelsohn in which he states that often, the key to finding the right line is to think of the hand before you as a 'problem' or 'set' hand. Maybe there isn't a catch - but if there is, that way, you might find it.

Anyway, as a beginner/improver, here's my take on the situation. I see 7 top tricks. One each from clubs and diamonds would seem to be the best prospects for making the contract. If clubs split 3-3 it's trivial of course, but we can't rely on that. If they're 4-2 or 5-1, making 4 or 5 club tricks should be possible, provided we can get into dummy. Which we can, with the QJ of diamonds. What if clubs break 6-0? Then we only make four club tricks, but that QJ of diamonds should still be good for the final one we need.

So, my plan is to win the lead in hand, play the 2 of clubs to cross to dummy, cash the AKQ (in case I get lucky and drop the J), keep playing high clubs until the J appears, win the return in hand, lead a small diamond towards the QJ in dummy. Aaaand now I think I see the flaw in this plan - even if the finesse is right, LHO will rise with the K anyway, and then take 2 spade tricks. Although, after that he will be forced to play a suit I can win, then I cross to dummy with its surviving top diamond, cash any clubs that are left, and play out the rest of my high cards to take the contract, winning 4 clubs, 2 diamonds, 2 hearts, and a spade.

What have I missed?
First two paragraphs are great, Dead Cat

Everything is wrong for declarer on this deal, but 3N is still cold if you think about what holding the lead may have come from, and why that is a threat. If LHO has the KD, they are not taking two spade tricks...
  #579  
Old 04-17-2018, 05:51 PM
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nm ::gak::

Last edited by septimus; 04-17-2018 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:04 PM
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What did East play trick 1? In the sequel I assume he played an honor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead Cat View Post
... What have I missed?
(I retracted my prior post too early!) What you missed, I think, is that
SPOILER:
... you must make uncomfortable discards on the clubs. Instead
SPOILER:
... lose the club early on before forced to unguard Spade 7, giving up your 4th-round spade stopper.

Last edited by septimus; 04-17-2018 at 06:05 PM.
  #581  
Old 04-17-2018, 06:21 PM
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What did East play trick 1? In the sequel I assume he played an honor.
E put QH on trick 1
(sry should have mentioned that)

Last edited by Busy Scissors; 04-17-2018 at 06:22 PM.
  #582  
Old 04-17-2018, 07:05 PM
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My take is that I have 7 top tricks, the QJ of diamonds can force an 8th and the T9 of clubs a 9th - assuming I can arrange enough entries to dummy and that I haven't lost 5 tricks by then.

Then I look carefully at the small Heart lead. If it's the 4, then assuming opponents are playing normal 4th-highest leads, Hearts are split 4-3 and there's no point in holding up.
Then I play the TH from dummy (LHO might have led 4th-best from QJxx(x)). When RHO comes up with the Q or J, I duck unless the lead was the 4.

RHO will probably return a Heart. I win and play a club to the Ten. If it holds, I can knock out KD and claim. When RHO wins with the J, he will return either a Heart (if he has one left) or a Spade. If it's a Heart, I win and play a Diamond to the Q. LHO can win his K and cash a Heart, but I have the rest.

If it's a Spade, it all goes wrong. I can't afford to duck - LHO wins and clears his Hearts and will have two winners when he comes in with KD. So I go up with the Ace and play a Diamond to the Q - and RHO wins and triumphantly plays his remaining Spade to his partner's KQ9 to send me 2 off. Ouch.

So I'm missing something, but I can't see what it is. The obvious threat is that the lead was from a 5-card Heart suit and that opponents will set up 3 winning Hearts when they're in with the CJ. The classic counter to that is the hold-up, particularly as I'm about to finesse to RHO. And if RHO has Jxxx I can't avoid giving him a Club - I don't have time to set up Spades so barring very lucky distributions I have only 5 tricks outside Clubs. And there's no point in leading Diamonds before Clubs, because opponents will hold up KD and now I'm never getting to dummy to make the 4th Club.
So I'm stumped.
  #583  
Old 04-17-2018, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
blah blah blah
For some reason I thought West's opening lead was a Spade! I'm giving up and going to bed. (Someone, please tell me if my analysis made any sense given a spade lead.)
  #584  
Old 04-17-2018, 07:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Busy Scissors View Post
Defended this hand last night, 3NT contract, no bidding from the defence, MPs.

Dummy
J
T72
QJ2
AKQT95

Declarer
AT7643
AK3
A94
2

Lead was a small heart. Declarer took the wrong line, contract defeated, much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.

Think it's a good exercise for beginner / improvers on what you need to do, although posting it as a problem sort of gives the game away I guess. More an exercise in contingency planning at trick 1 by thinking what might go wrong.
Right, I've not read ahead apart from RHO putting on QH (because that was the last message).

First off, EXACTLY how small was the opening Heart lead? If it was the 4 then we can assume that Hearts split 4-3 and we can assume that LHO has the Jack (RHO would have won with the Jack if she had both). We have entry problems to those clubs. Note the problem of LHO holding up the King of Diamonds. A 4-2 split is more likely an a 3-3 split. So, count our tricks. We have 28 HCP and 7 tricks on top, another once the King of diamonds is forced out, and a ninth once the Jack of clubs is forced out. Obviously there is no problem if the clubs split nicely. The problem then becomes how can we safely lose the lead twice if they don't.

Duck the opening heart to help cut communications. Duck a spade return in hand but win a diamond (unblocking the Ace) or heart (perforce) return in hand. Test the clubs. If clubs split 3-3 we have no problems. Assuming they do not, we lose the fourth club. We are discarding spades. Play a diamond to the QJ, assume it loses. Win the return, cross to the remaining boss diamond and enjoy the remaining two clubs.

Clubs splitting 5-1 or 6-0 needs further analysis, but it's 00:40 here so I'm off to bed..

Last edited by Quartz; 04-17-2018 at 07:44 PM.
  #585  
Old 04-18-2018, 02:31 AM
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Well done Merrick and Quartz - it's just a holdup play. I say 'just', but with 28pts, a probably running 6 card suit, double stopper in opp's suit, it's easy to play hastily and just stick the A up trick 1.

This is fatal as the lead was 5H, correctly diagnosed as showing a 5 card suit. Clubs split horribly, 1-5, and the KD is with W. The good news, however, is that the clubs are all with East. So by ducking the lead you sever communications in the H suit, preserving your stopper, and enabling 9 tricks to be made.

If you don't do this then E will win JC when you run clubs, and return a heart to set them up for W. When they get in with KD, the contract is down.
  #586  
Old 04-18-2018, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Busy Scissors View Post
Well done Merrick and Quartz - it's just a holdup play. I say 'just', but with 28pts, a probably running 6 card suit, double stopper in opp's suit, it's easy to play hastily and just stick the A up trick 1.

This is fatal as the lead was 5H, correctly diagnosed as showing a 5 card suit. Clubs split horribly, 1-5, and the KD is with W. The good news, however, is that the clubs are all with East. So by ducking the lead you sever communications in the H suit, preserving your stopper, and enabling 9 tricks to be made.

If you don't do this then E will win JC when you run clubs, and return a heart to set them up for W. When they get in with KD, the contract is down.
I'm probably being dumb, but how do you handle the case where East (RHO) plays a Heart at trick 2, then a small Spade when he's in with CJ?
You can't duck (West wins and clears the Hearts while he still has KD) and if you go up with AS, you set up two Spade winners for opponents to go with JC, KD and QH.
If I know West has KD, I can put pressure on him by playing Clubs from the top - after 2 Hearts and 4 Clubs, if he keeps H Jxx D Kx he only has room for 2 Spades, and of one of them is the K/Q the suit will block - but that line fails if East has KD or West has Jxxx in Clubs.

Last edited by merrick; 04-18-2018 at 04:15 AM. Reason: Get Land R the right way round!
  #587  
Old 04-18-2018, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by merrick View Post
I'm probably being dumb, but how do you handle the case where East (RHO) plays a Heart at trick 2, then a small Spade when he's in with CJ?
That's not a problem, because you retained the Heart guard. Since LHO has five Hearts, RHO only has 2 so cannot play a third to put her partner in. As for playing the spade, you duck in hand and then win the heart return (a spade return gives you a free finesse). You have to hope that RHO has the King of diamonds.
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:37 AM
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I'm probably being dumb, but how do you handle the case where East (RHO) plays a Heart at trick 2, then a small Spade when he's in with CJ?
You can't duck (West wins and clears the Hearts while he still has KD) and if you go up with AS, you set up two Spade winners for opponents to go with JC, KD and QH.
If I know West has KD, I can put pressure on him by playing Clubs from the top - after 2 Hearts and 4 Clubs, if he keeps H Jxx D Kx he only has room for 2 Spades, and of one of them is the K/Q the suit will block - but that line fails if East has KD or West has Jxxx in Clubs.
Yes that's right merrick - the actual layout was spades split 3-3 HXX / HXX. So running the clubs must induce a spade discard like you say, preserving the contract.
If E has KD or the clubs are with W then I don't think the contract has any play for 9 tricks.
  #589  
Old 04-18-2018, 07:14 AM
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Thanks again, all - I see now that what I missed was that my suggested line of play actually needs 3 heart stoppers to work, and I only have 2. The line about the other side winning 2 spade tricks was kind of misplaced, as they are going to win 2 spade tricks at some stage anyway.

How do you quickly identify the danger suit for hands like this? I mean, on the face of it, how do we know which of H or D could be a problem? Is that pretty much just based on the lead (and bidding, if any)?
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Old 04-18-2018, 08:51 AM
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So what about if the opening lead is a Spade? Am I correct that the only sure-tricks line is to knock out Club Jack early before you lose your full spade guard.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:23 AM
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Well done Merrick and Quartz - it's just a holdup play. I say 'just', but with 28pts, a probably running 6 card suit, double stopper in opp's suit, it's easy to play hastily and just stick the A up trick 1.

This is fatal as the lead was 5H, correctly diagnosed as showing a 5 card suit. Clubs split horribly, 1-5, and the KD is with W. The good news, however, is that the clubs are all with East. So by ducking the lead you sever communications in the H suit, preserving your stopper, and enabling 9 tricks to be made.

If you don't do this then E will win JC when you run clubs, and return a heart to set them up for W. When they get in with KD, the contract is down.
It doesn't hurt to hop Ten of hearts at trick one, either - LHO could well have led from QJxx(x)

As for ducking the first heart trick, there's no rush, you can (should) always duck the second one if clubs don't break, right?

Hop heart ten - an honor shows up on the right, win the Ace.

Play off three clubs, force out the Jack; now on a heart continuation, you duck.

The contract isn't quite "cold", RHO can and should switch to a spade , unless he has both the KQ of spades - he can set up a spade entry to partner's hand.

Let's say it goes how heart lead to the Ten and Queen, and you duck; now RHO plays a spade (if he has an honor, but not both, he should play his honor to pin dummy's Jack to make LHO's spade honor an tenace over declarer).

Now when he's in with the Jack of clubs, another spade through your T7x of spades is very uncomfortable... If LHO started with H9x or H8x he gets two spade tricks.

They can now win their spades and put you back in hand with a spade, you can run them (maybe) but then have to lead diamonds out of hand for another diamond loser, losing the heart you ducked, 2 spades, the club, and a diamond.

So you really shouldn't duck the FIRST heart trick. Win it, play clubs, and if RHO wins the long Jack and plays another heart, you duck it. If he can continue hearts, they were 4-3 and harmless.

If he switches to a spade honor at THAT point (his first opportunity), you win the Ace and play the diamond to dummy, hoping LHO has it.

If RHO wins the diamond King and plays another spade like the 9 or the 8, you'll just have close your eyes and play the Ten - hoping that LHO started with Kx of spades, or that RHO had KQ98 and is playing the "low" spade now to confuse you into ducking your Ten.

Last edited by robardin; 04-18-2018 at 10:24 AM.
  #592  
Old 04-18-2018, 10:31 AM
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In case you think I'm overstating the case for winning the first heart trick and only ducking the second one, consider if defenders had these hands:

If LHO started with:

K9xx
J9xx
Kxx
xx

And RHO held:

Qx
Qxx
xxxx
Jxxx

A good defender in LHO would never lead a spade from K9xx in your first-bid suit.

A good defender in RHO, holding 3 hearts and seeing partner's low heart, would know it was an exactly four card suit and even if partner had the diamond card for an entry, can't set the suit up for enough tricks to set 3NT. If you duck his Queen of hearts, he will switch to that Queen of spades at trick TWO instead of later, and you will go down.

Last edited by robardin; 04-18-2018 at 10:32 AM.
  #593  
Old 04-18-2018, 10:52 AM
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That hand makes for a much more interesting DEFENSIVE problem, actually, giving you the hand I gave RHO, and partner's low heart lead.

I'll assume the bidding went something like: 1S-2C (GF), 2S-3C, 3NT.

(If the first 2C bid was not forcing to game, or if "rebid of 3C is non-forcing", that hand has major rebidding problems, which is why I play it as 100% game forcing)

Partner leads the 4 of hearts, which should guarantee an honor (don't lead 4th best from nothing), and you see that dummy:

J
T72
QJ2
AKQT95


holding

Qx
Qxx
xxxx
Jxxx

declarer plays the Ten of hearts, you play the Queen, and declarer ducks.

Now what?

Count opponents' points: assume they have 25-26 minimum, you have 5, that gives partner about a 10 count at most.

Count opponents' shape: declarer bid 2S rather than 2NT over 2C, that usually suggests a 6 card spade suit, especially since he didn't rebid a 4-card side suit over 2C. So he's 6331 in shape. That means partner's shape is 4432.

Well, you have clubs stopped, that's good. And you know all of partner's points are outside of clubs.

so, where do they need to be to beat 3NT?

Can you set up hearts for enough tricks? The suit is 4333.

Declarer wouldn't duck the heart with only the King of hearts - if he had Kxx he wouldn't have hopped Ten, and certainly wouldn't duck the Queen after it covered the Ten, for God's sake. He either has Axx or AKx. Hopping the Ten at trick one definitely feels like he has AKx and is hoping the Ten wins cheaply from a lead under the QJxx, too.

Declarer is obviously going to try to run clubs, and will halt at your Jack, and then try to get to dummy with a diamond - so partner had better have the Ace or King of diamonds to beat this hand.

If partner had KJ94 of hearts and King of diamonds, does this hand go down on a heart continuation? You can set it up for 3 heart tricks and the diamond, and ... that's it. He can't have both the AK of diamonds with the KJ of hearts, that's too many points.

No, to beat this hand, you need some of his points to be in spades behind the declarer, like KTxx or K9xx; have a diamond card, either Ace or King; and after being in with the first trick on the ducked Queen of hearts, you plan to take 2 spades, the Jack of clubs, and his diamond card. If it's the Ace, he'll win it outright; if it's the King, just play on spades or hearts to put declarer back into his hand, he can't get to dummy without playing a diamond away from his holding.

And you can't play a LOW spade with the singleton Jack in dummy, you have to squish it with your Queen.

Last edited by robardin; 04-18-2018 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:09 AM
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Edit window passed, but I just realized, my summary of the defensive thinking on the 3NT hand if defender held

Qx
Qxx
xxxx
Jxxx

and got his heart Queen ducked isn't right - if partner did indeed start with KJ9x of hearts, it's fine to continue hearts to try for 3 heart tricks, the diamond card, and the Jack of Clubs.

The decision would have to be based on declarer's hopping the Ten of hearts being the "tell" that he started with AKx rather than Axx, because there'd be no obvious reason to rise with the Ten with Axx opposite Txx on a low heart lead, but there is for AKx opposite Txx.
  #595  
Old 04-18-2018, 12:51 PM
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A couple of things:

LHO could have led low from H:AKxx. Declarer's heart suit could be Jack high.

So RHO returns the Queen of Spades. Declarer ducks it. What next? If RHO plays the King of Spades, declarer covers with the Ace; if another spade, declarer covers with the 10. LHO covers the 10 with the King and leads another heart, taken by declarer. The Ace of Diamonds is unblocked. Clubs are played and RHO wins her Jack. RHO now has no hearts so plays what? Another spade? Declarer hops up with the Ace, hoping that LHO has 2 or 3 spades, forces out the King of Diamonds, wins the third heart, crosses to dummy, and takes the club tricks.

Yes, there are hands on which declarer will fail, but ducking the first heart trick maximises declarer's chances of succeeding.

And what has LHO been discarding on those clubs?
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  #596  
Old 04-18-2018, 12:54 PM
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A couple of things:

LHO could have led low from H:AKxx. Declarer's heart suit could be Jack high.

So RHO returns the Queen of Spades. Declarer ducks it. What next? If RHO plays the King of Spades, declarer covers with the Ace; if another spade, declarer covers with the 10. LHO covers the 10 with the King and leads another heart, taken by declarer. The Ace of Diamonds is unblocked. Clubs are played and RHO wins her Jack. RHO now has no hearts so plays what? Another spade? Declarer hops up with the Ace, hoping that LHO has 2 or 3 spades, forces out the King of Diamonds, wins the third heart, crosses to dummy, and takes the club tricks.

Yes, there are hands on which declarer will fail, but ducking the first heart trick maximises declarer's chances of succeeding.

And what has LHO been discarding on those clubs?
You think the 3NT bidder bid it on 9xx of hearts at best, and rose with the Ten at trick one? OK, that's a possibility at trick one, but a very remote one, and not one I would cater to as a defender.

As for returning the Queen of spades, if it is ducked, RHO continues spades, won by the Ace, yes. Clubs are played, RHO is in with the Jack, and plays another spade. You can't hop up with the Ace again, you've already played it.

If you win the Ace of spades, when in with the club Jack, now the spade is going through your T7 to LHO's K9 for 2 tricks.

RHO will not play the Queen of spades, then the King; the danger hand is where LHO has K9xx and RHO has Qx, or switch the K and Q of spades.

What has LHO been discarding on the clubs? he had to find two discards - a diamond a heart seem normal. Would not discard from K9xx behind declarer and the hearts are going nowhere.

Last edited by robardin; 04-18-2018 at 12:59 PM.
  #597  
Old 04-18-2018, 01:10 PM
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Sorry, I see you meant if partner led low from AKxx, dummy had Txx, you had Qxx, and declarer Jxx to start with.

In which case why is declarer going up with the Ten at trick one? If that was a decoy play to make you think he had AKx, that's bridge column material right there.

Last edited by robardin; 04-18-2018 at 01:10 PM.
  #598  
Old 04-18-2018, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Scissors View Post
Yes that's right merrick - the actual layout was spades split 3-3 HXX / HXX. So running the clubs must induce a spade discard like you say, preserving the contract.
If E has KD or the clubs are with W then I don't think the contract has any play for 9 tricks.
If clubs are with W you can make by finessing the Ten on the first round, as I suggested in my first response, but that's a guess.
In fact, double-dummy I don't think the hand makes even with the actual distribution - you duck the first Heart, win the second and play four rounds of clubs, but West can let go one Heart and come down to exactly S Hxx H Jx D Kx. Now a small Spade comes through, if you duck West wins and plays a Heart - he'll only have one Heart to cash when he wins KD, but it's the fifth defensive trick - and if you go up with the Ace defenders will make S KQ.
Of course, if any flesh-and-blood defender comes up with that play at the table, you should hold your cards up.

robardin - Interesting discussion, though the hand you're describing is not quite the one Busy Scissors was - in the original, the lead was the 5 not the 4, so declarer can't be sure the Hearts are 4-3. I agree that if declarer sees the 4 and can be sure of the 4-3 break he'd probably do better to take the Q with the K and play Clubs immediately - not only can't he run East out of Hearts, but the defence needs at least one Spade trick to beat the contract, so he'd rather have East leading Hearts than pushing Spades through.
If declarer suspects a 5-2 break, though, he has to duck the Queen. It's no good waiting to duck the second round, because West will overtake and play a third, and then he's left hoping rather desperately that West has no more entries.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:45 PM
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While I approve of merrick's bidding, I think partner likely has only two spades. I think West has 8 hearts; East has a good hand but is very short of hearts.

Can you tell what the other hands actually were, merrick?
To put septimus out of misery, before his request falls off the page - feel free to disapprove of my bidding because - I went on to 4 Spades. I knew it was a bad bid when I made it, but I didn't have the nerve to stay in the fire without at least trying to climb back into the frying-pan.

As it turns out, it got me the double-dummy par and a thoroughly-undeserved decent score, because the hands were:

. . . . . . S xxx
. . . . . . H xx
. . . . . . D xxx
. . . . . . C KJTxx

S ATxx . . . . . . . S x
H AKQJTxx . . . . H xxx
D -. . . . . . . . . . D QTxxxxx
C xx . . . . . . . . .C Qxx

. . . . . . S KQJ9x
. . . . . . H x
. . . . . . D AKJx
. . . . . . C A9x

4S is 2 off but 4H is unbeatable, and that's where most tables ended up, probably after 1S - 4H - all pass.
There are a lot of marginal decisions there - if West goes straight to 4H on the first round he might miss 6H, partner might bid 2S or 3C over 2H but while he's got 3 spades and a suit it's still a balanced 4-count, East might take Quartz's advice and go to 4H over 3H or 3S, but his hand is very weak (those Queens aren't worth much) and he doesn't want to push opponents to 4S.

Passing out 3H would have been a near-top, but I still think the double was justified.
Goes to show that sometimes the good guys lose.

(Apologies for the formatting - does anyone know how to make this thing preserve double spaces?)
  #600  
Old 04-18-2018, 05:29 PM
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Okay folks, I'm just back from a lesson about McKenney & suit preference signals. Can you guys give me some good examples?
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