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Bad break

#1 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 01:19



West leads 5 (4th best) to 10, J and Q. You cash A and LHO throws 2 (standard remaining count).

Once you've finished thinking about whether you should have bid it differently, how do you play?

Edit: West could not have opened a weak 2, in case it matters.
If future responses could be on topic, i.e. comparing the two suggested systems, rather than some alternative nutjob method, that'd be appreciated, thanks. - MickyB
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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 11:20

The problem with posting an answer, apart from the fact that this one seems tough, is that a full answer requires discussing all the permutations that will arise from decisions by the opps...in this case, East. I'm going to leave out a lot of the variations and explanations and make some simplifying assumptions, but I think the hand is cold if it lies as I am going to assume.

I am going to play him to be Kxx J9xxx Jxx Ax.

I play a club to dummy at trick 3, and already we have a permutation point...does he win or duck?

Assume he wins....what does he return? I think we are cold, on the assumed layout, whatever he does, but for sake of simplicity, assume he plays a diamond.

We cross in clubs to lead the heart 8 (or 10) and cover when he splits. We then play a spade to the A and a spade back. Another permutation point...altho whether he wins or ducks isn't really interesting...say he wins...what does he return?

If a diamond, we pitch a club and ruff with the 10 in dummy, cash the spade and lead a club....rho has to ruff eventually and has to lead trump from Jx with us sitting with K7.

If he leads, say, a spade rather than giving us the ruff sluff, we win in hand, and play on clubs...eventually he has to win by ruffing and is endplayed.

If he ducks the club at trick 3, I think we play a high heart from dummy, win in hand when he covers and now play on clubs. If he drives out our diamond, we again play on spades...eventually we develop the same end positions.
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#3 User is offline   kayin801 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 11:44

View Postmikeh, on 2012-May-21, 11:20, said:

I am going to play him to be Kxx J9xxx Jxx Ax.


I haven't thought about the line yet, but wouldn't that give the overcaller J109x, -, K9xxxx, xxx? I can understand not wanting to open that 3 in 1st seat based on style but still ew ew ew
I once yelled at my partner for discarding the 'wrong' card when he was subjected to a squeeze that I allowed by giving the wrong count with too high a card. Now he's allowed to pitch aces when the opponents have the king in the dummy. At trick 2. When he could have followed suit. And blame me.

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#4 User is offline   Phil 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 11:49

View Postkayin801, on 2012-May-21, 11:44, said:

I haven't thought about the line yet, but wouldn't that give the overcaller J109x, -, K9xxxx, xxx?


Well thats kind of the point. LHO has a flaw for not preempting initially which could be four spades.
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#5 User is offline   kayin801 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 11:53

View PostPhil, on 2012-May-21, 11:49, said:

Well thats kind of the point. LHO has a flaw for not preempting initially which could be four spades.


Tangent then (sorry, not trying to hijack): are you more likely to make a 2 level overcall with this kind of hand if you don't preempt with these kinds of hands or is it more of a delayed 3 level jump or more of a second pass? I was more just trying to make the point that the hand is disgusting and I'd rather bid 3 or pass now than bid 2.

I think I'd hope RHO has the spade K and just attack spades outright to set up an endgame where he has to ruff and lead away from his heart J. Would rather play LHO for the club A, which means we need to attack spades.
I once yelled at my partner for discarding the 'wrong' card when he was subjected to a squeeze that I allowed by giving the wrong count with too high a card. Now he's allowed to pitch aces when the opponents have the king in the dummy. At trick 2. When he could have followed suit. And blame me.

East4Evil sohcahtoa 4ever!!!!!1
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#6 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 11:55

View Postkayin801, on 2012-May-21, 11:44, said:

I haven't thought about the line yet, but wouldn't that give the overcaller J109x, -, K9xxxx, xxx? I can understand not wanting to open that 3 in 1st seat based on style but still ew ew ew

Did I say I was happy? :D

But switch any high cards around, and what is East raising on?

And they are white v red.

And, of course, the clincher is: can you find another layout remotely consistent with the auction on which you can make against good defence (good, after they gave you the diamond Q at trick 1, that is). Would you prefer West to be 5=0=6=2? Not only is that an even yuckier layout for 2, but it creates problems...I don't see how you can enjoy 2 spade tricks on that layout.

And if West is 3=0=6=4, I don't see how you can get two entries to dummy...one to run a heart through, forcing a cover and thus creating the possibility of an endplay in trump, and one to lead a spade to the Q. And if West has the spade K, you are just plain down.
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#7 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 12:52

View Postmikeh, on 2012-May-21, 11:55, said:

But switch any high cards around, and what is East raising on?

Can you make it if you move A to the West hand?
If future responses could be on topic, i.e. comparing the two suggested systems, rather than some alternative nutjob method, that'd be appreciated, thanks. - MickyB
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#8 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 13:07



gnasher writes "West leads 5 (4th best) to 10, J and Q. You cash A and LHO throws 2 (standard remaining count). Once you've finished thinking about whether you should have bid it differently, how do you play? West could not have opened a weak 2, in case it matters."


My guess: Q, A, A , A, to Q, .

This post has been edited by nige1: 2012-May-21, 18:29

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#9 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 13:24

View Postgnasher, on 2012-May-21, 12:52, said:

Can you make it if you move A to the West hand?

I think so, tho I don't have time to work out all the variations. Assuming the shape is the same, at trick 3 we play a club to dummy, and assume LHO ducks. Now a low heart from dummy, winning when rho covers, now get rid of the no-cost diamond exit from rho by cashing the A then a club. LHO wins and gives a ruff, and rho is hooped. If he leads a diamond, we pitch a spade, win high in dummy, draw trump via a finesse and claim 4 hearts, 2 diamonds and a ruff, 1 spade and 2 clubs.

If he leads a heart, we win in dummy and lead a low spade....rho is again hooped if he wins or ducks.

On my original line, club to dummy, and assume rho ducks, we go down if we try this line....rho wins the second club and plays a third round of trump. He still has more trump than we do, so we pump him via a club and he exits his last trump, exhausting ours. Now, when we try to score the spade Q, he wins the king and has a diamond winner.

Yet if we don't unblock the diamonds, and LHO has the Axx in clubs, LHO wins the second club, gives a ruff and back comes a diamond. I don't think we can make it now, tho I confess that without writing it out, I'm not sure I can cover off all the permutations without spending far too long.

So I think we need to be able to read the club position....however, most RHO's won't duck smoothly with Ax.
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#10 User is offline   Fluffy 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 14:04

I must be missing something because the hand looks very easy to me, we need K onside, it doesn't seem to matter if we start with spades or clubs, but just to avoid RHO unblocking K lets start with spades right now, but anyway LHO can't hurt us if he gets in since he only has 1 club to endplay his partner.

After 3 rounds of spades (nothing is better) we go into clubs, we must enter dummy on first or second and play a heart from dummy. And now we are in control. Advance A before endplaying RHO with third club.


So lets think about something else, what if LHO is 3064 without A? His flaw then would be the strenght. In that case we need to endplay RHO with A, so we need to eliminate A at trick 2 before playing on clubs, that way we can get one entry to dummy thx to the endplay.

RHO can get away by letting LHO win the thid spade, but he needs to unblock (if he can). So I think best start is QAA and low club.
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#11 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2012-May-21, 15:15

View PostFluffy, on 2012-May-21, 14:04, said:

I must be missing something because the hand looks very easy to me, we need K onside, it doesn't seem to matter if we start with spades or clubs, but just to avoid RHO unblocking K lets start with spades right now, but anyway LHO can't hurt us if he gets in since he only has 1 club to endplay his partner.

After 3 rounds of spades (nothing is better) we go into clubs, we must enter dummy on first or second and play a heart from dummy. And now we are in control. Advance A before endplaying RHO with third club.


So lets think about something else, what if LHO is 3064 without A? His flaw then would be the strenght. In that case we need to endplay RHO with A, so we need to eliminate A at trick 2 before playing on clubs, that way we can get one entry to dummy thx to the endplay.


RHO can get away by letting LHO win the thid spade, but he needs to unblock (if he can). So I think best start is QAA and low club.


If you cash the diamond A then play a low club, what if rho ducks from Ax?

You pump a trump, and then what? Another club loses to the A and a third round of trump comes at you. You can't yet pull trump...he has more that you...

So you can tap him or go after spades. If you go after spades, he wins and clears trump, with him holding the last trump and a diamond. So you tap him...he wins, leads his last trump and sits back to collect the spade K and the long diamond.

You can prevent this endgame by not cashing the diamond early.

But then if LHO has Axx in clubs, you need to get rid of the top diamond, else, after RHO ruffs a club, he has a safe diamond exit....you'll be stuck in your hand in a 6 card ending with dummy holding Axx 108 void K, you with Qxx K7 void J and rho with Kxx Jx x.

If you play a spade to the A and the heart, he covers...you can pull trump ending in dummy, but when you eventually lead a spade, he claims the spade k and the good diamond.

I think your idea of playing on spades early looks better than mine (and, it seems, yours) of playing on clubs, with or without cashing the diamond.
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#12 User is offline   Fluffy 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 01:50

so A and club, and lead a spade to the queen first instead of a trump?
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#13 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 01:59

View PostFluffy, on 2012-May-22, 01:50, said:

so A and club, and lead a spade to the queen first instead of a trump?

I think that fails when LHO has A: RHO wins the king, plays a club to the ace, gets a club ruff, and exits.

We have only two entries to dummy but we need three, so we have to make sure that East is endplayed when he takes his club ruff.

This post has been edited by gnasher: 2012-May-22, 02:06

If future responses could be on topic, i.e. comparing the two suggested systems, rather than some alternative nutjob method, that'd be appreciated, thanks. - MickyB
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#14 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2012-May-22, 19:19

On reflection, I've changed my mind, after Q, A, A, I think you should play a . I don't think this has much theoretical advantage compared with playing on but it may give defenders slightly more scope for error. In some layouts, this seems to me to be as hard a defensive problem as it is as a declarer-play problem.
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#15 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2012-May-23, 01:42

View Postnige1, on 2012-May-22, 19:19, said:

On reflection, I've changed my mind, after Q, A, A, I think you should play a . I don't think this has much theoretical advantage compared with playing on but it may give defenders slightly more scope for error. In some layouts, this seems to me to be as hard a defensive problem as it is as a declarer-play problem.

As Mike has pointed out, that loses when RHO has Ax and ducks. When does it gain?
If future responses could be on topic, i.e. comparing the two suggested systems, rather than some alternative nutjob method, that'd be appreciated, thanks. - MickyB
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#16 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2012-May-23, 09:33

This hand has continued to nag me at odd moments, which makes it, for me, a great hand.

I had thought that maybe Fluffy's initial thought, of playing on spades first, might be best, but then:

At trick 3, spade to the A and a spade back....RHO wins and plays a 3rd spade.

Now, when we play a club up, if LHO has the A, he pops and leads the 13th spade....we have to ruff in dummy, since pitching lets RHO pitch and we have to ruff from KQ7. But when we ruff, rho throws a club, as do we.

Now we play a heart, RHO covers and we are in our hand. We play a club perforce, and rho ruffs. He exits a diamond and we are stuck in our hand...we can't get to dummy to pick up the trump.

So we unblock the diamond A first?


Say we do it at trick 3 then play on spades.....rho wins the spade K as before and clears spades. LHO flies with the club A and plays the 13th spade, and rho pitches a club.

Now we play a heart, covered and won in hand.....rho ruffs our club play and what can he lead?

The position is fascinating if we haven't been really careful in trump. Say we ruffed the spade low and hadn't unblocked under the A at trick 2.

we'll have something like:


We have already lost 3 tricks....RHO exits the low trump...which we have to win in dummy, but now RHO ruffs the forced club.


So, if we place LHO with 4=0=6=3, with club A:

At trick 3 we play the diamond A, and then on spades as above. When LHO exits the 13th spade, ruff high in dummy and then lead the heart 8 to force the cover (well, it may not be forced, but it does RHO no good to duck). Then play as above, with the difference being that RHO can't endplay us in dummy in the 3 card ending.

But if rho holds the club A.....I don't think he can beat us on this lie.

So: my line is to play on spades, and be careful, if needed, to unblock in trump.

However, I am writing this while drinking my morning coffee and don't have time to think about it any more, at least for a few hours :P
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#17 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2012-May-23, 15:24

View Postnige1, on 2012-May-22, 19:19, said:

On reflection, I've changed my mind, after Q, A, A, I think you should play a . I don't think this has much theoretical advantage compared with playing on but it may give defenders slightly more scope for error. In some layouts, this seems to me to be as hard a defensive problem as it is as a declarer-play problem.

View Postgnasher, on 2012-May-23, 01:42, said:

As Mike has pointed out, that loses when RHO has Ax and ducks. When does it gain?
Leading a gains when, for example, LHO wins and attacks , holding the king. Unlikely, perhaps, but you may as well give him a chance to go wrong. More to the point: when does leading a lose? I'm probably missing something but what can opponents do to defeat you, when you lead a second club?
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#18 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2012-May-23, 16:35

View Postnige1, on 2012-May-23, 15:24, said:

I'm probably missing something but what can opponents do to defeat you, when you lead a second club?

maybe I'm the one missing something, but Andy referred you to a specific post of mine, about RHO holding Ax in clubs....try following that analysis through...see if you still think that cashing the diamond Ace then playing on clubs is a sure thing.

As for your other point, that LHO may switch away from the spade A....since Andy posted this hand, the odds are that it wasn't played against opponents weak enough to defend that way :D Oh...btw, you are catering to LHO holding the spade K, the diamond K and the club A....what did East have to raise on? And if you give LHO 4=0=6=3 with those cards, many would open at favourable.
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#19 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2012-May-23, 17:51

View Postmikeh, on 2012-May-23, 16:35, said:

maybe I'm the one missing something, but Andy referred you to a specific post of mine, about RHO holding Ax in clubs....try following that analysis through...see if you still think that cashing the diamond Ace then playing on clubs is a sure thing.
As for your other point, that LHO may switch away from the spade A....since Andy posted this hand, the odds are that it wasn't played against opponents weak enough to defend that way :D Oh...btw, you are catering to LHO holding the spade K, the diamond K and the club A....what did East have to raise on? And if you give LHO 4=0=6=3 with those cards, many would open at favourable.
I can't find where mikeh refuted the suggested line: Q, A, A, and, If defenders duck the 1st , then advance a 2nd .
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#20 User is offline   gnasher 

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Posted 2012-May-24, 02:57

View Postnige1, on 2012-May-23, 17:51, said:

I can't find where mikeh refuted the suggested line: Q, A, A, and, If defenders duck the 1st , then advance a 2nd .


We're going to defend like Bridgmaster does. After the first club holds:
- If you play a second club immediately, LHO wins and gives his partner a club ruff. RHO exits with a diamond. Aren't you dead now?
- If you play a heart, RHO has Ax, and he uses his three entries to draw your trumps and cash a diamond.
If future responses could be on topic, i.e. comparing the two suggested systems, rather than some alternative nutjob method, that'd be appreciated, thanks. - MickyB
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