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Finesse or Drop? ACBL

#1 User is offline   dickiegera 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 06:47

Finesse or drop


You are in 6 contract. Opponents silent.

After losing spade on opening lead [not led] all you need is to find Heart Q

Am I correct that Finesse is a 50% chance therefore better than playing for drop.

Which way to finesse is a guess.

Thank you

South is declarer.
East wins opening spade lead with Ace and continues a spade.
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#2 User is offline   JanisW 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 07:16

Hi,

kind of important to know which hand is dummy and since I would open the S-hand 1 I'm not sure which hand is...
If N is dummy, I'll start with the J and go up with the A if not covered and play W for the missing Q
If S is dummy, I'll take the slightly better play of the drop, though it's quite marginal

Regards
JW
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#3 User is offline   dickiegera 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 07:40

View PostJanisW, on 2017-September-12, 07:16, said:

Hi,

kind of important to know which hand is dummy and since I would open the S-hand 1 I'm not sure which hand is...
If N is dummy, I'll start with the J and go up with the A if not covered and play W for the missing Q
If S is dummy, I'll take the slightly better play of the drop, though it's quite marginal

Regards
JW



I edited my original post to show South as declarer
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#4 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 07:42

View PostJanisW, on 2017-September-12, 07:16, said:

If N is dummy, I'll start with the J and go up with the A if not covered and play W for the missing Q


Most players above intermediate level would follow smoothly and play low when the J is led :)
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#5 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 07:43

View Postdickiegera, on 2017-September-12, 06:47, said:

Am I correct that Finesse is a 50% chance therefore better than playing for drop.


Not quite - playing for the drop gives you slightly better odds. You pick up:

  • All 2-2 breaks (40%)
  • Singleton queen in either hand (12.5%)
  • Half the 4-0 breaks (5%)


For a total of 57.5%.

The finesse picks up:

  • All the hands where you guess correctly (50%)
  • Singleton queen in the other hand (6.2%)


For a total of 56.2%.

All figures are rough because I can't be bothered looking up the actual percentages and am using the guide of 40%-50%-10% for 2-2, 3-1 and 4-0 breaks, but they lead to the same conclusion.

Another way to look at is assume you play an honour and lead a low one towards the other hand - let's say you started with the HA. The only interesting case is where you have seen three small hearts. Now you know LHO has 2 small hearts, leaving 11 unknown cards. RHO has 1 small heart, leaving 12 unknown cards. (It is important to note that you shouldn't be counting the cards played on the opening lead since you don't know how the suit breaks). Therefore the odds at the decision point are 12:11 in favour of the drop.

The second analysis is much easier to do at the table than the first one. For instance, you might have the same hand but with RHO opening a weak 2S. The first two tricks go spade to the ace and a spade back, with LHO showing a doubleton. Now you cash the HA and lead a low heart, everyone following. What are the odds now? RHO has seven known cards (6 spades and 1 heart), and six unknown ones. LHO has two spades and two small hearts, leaving nine unknown cards. Therefore the odds are 9:6 in favour of the finesse.
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#6 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 07:53

My understanding is a finesse is 50% - obvious
The chance of a doubleton is around 41%
The chance of a 3 card suit is around 37%
and those 4-0 splits come in around 10%

With 9 cards between the hands, it is usual to play for the drop as opposed to the finesse of the Q
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#7 User is offline   P_Marlowe 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 08:01

Hi,

technically, the drop is better, the margin is not huge, but the drop is better.

In real life, ..., if you are good at reading the oppoenents, try to pick up the weaker player,
see if he showes emotions, and try to interpret the emotions correct.
The problem is, having KJ on the table, it is quite clear, that you are looking for the Queen, so
you will have emotions, but what does they tell you?
The whole thing works a lot better, if it is unknwon, that you are in 9 card fit, because than
covering a honor can win, promoting the 3rd 10, so ...

I am not good at those things, hence I go with the drop.

The question is, why are you in the slam? You are missing a KC and the Queen of trumps.
....
It is likely, that at IMPs you are avg.+, but only barely, and you need to make the right
guess.

With kind regards
Marlowe
With kind regards
Uwe Gebhardt (P_Marlowe)
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#8 User is offline   JanisW 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 08:12

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-September-12, 07:42, said:

Most players above intermediate level would follow smoothly and play low when the J is led :)


True enough...

Regarding the original question: the Drop is the slightly superior play. But by leading the Jack I might induce a cover from some East-players. Whether this compensates for taking a slightly inferior line of play is kind of a philosophical point, I guess.

Regards
JW
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#9 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 08:19

View PostJanisW, on 2017-September-12, 08:12, said:

True enough...

Regarding the original question: the Drop is the slightly superior play. But by leading the Jack I might induce a cover from some East-players. Whether this compensates for taking a slightly inferior line of play is kind of a philosophical point, I guess.

Regards
JW


Oh, I forgot to say: Welcome to the forums :)
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#10 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 08:39

If we go strictly by the mathematics of distribution then the rule is to play for the drop. The chances of a singleton queen are irrelevant since surely you are not taking a first round finesse. Let's, for the moment, say you start with a small heart from your hand and play the K, and then the J of hearts from the board and a spot appears. I would not put much faith in the idea that rho would have covered if he had the Q. So you know that rho was dealt two heart spots and lho was dealt one. You can reason that if lho was dealt a stiff spot the play would go as it has, and if lho was dealt Qx the play would go as it has. Qx is slightly more likely than x alone.

The usual argument is "empty spaces". With xx on the right, x on the left, there are 11 spots to place the Q on the right, but 12 spots to place the Q on the left. I would add one more. Possibly, with a stiff heart, W might have had some hand where he would have bid. It's easier for him to be 5-5 in the black suits if he has only one heart. Not that I would recommend that he come in on any holding that he is likely to have.

The edge is small. But games are won by taking advantage of small edges.

And yeah, welcome.
Ken
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#11 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 08:55

Exactly what was led at trick one? Was it a high spot card or a low one? For example, If it were the S9 and west followed with the 3, say, it looks like a doubleton, giving east a six card suit. In which case you might reasonably play west for heart length. If he led the 3 and east returned the 4, then it looks like spades are 4-4, in which case you have no reason not to play for the drop.
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#12 User is offline   steve2005 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 09:05

View PostGrahamJson, on 2017-September-12, 08:55, said:

Exactly what was led at trick one? Was it a high spot card or a low one? For example, If it were the S9 and west followed with the 3, say, it looks like a doubleton, giving east a six card suit. In which case you might reasonably play west for heart length. If he led the 3 and east returned the 4, then it looks like spades are 4-4, in which case you have no reason not to play for the drop.

Yes for a 2 finesse u need to know all cards played. ideally you play side suits if you can but not safe here.
Sarcasm is a state of mind
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#13 User is offline   JanisW 

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Posted 2017-September-12, 10:25

View PostThe_Badger, on 2017-September-12, 08:19, said:

Oh, I forgot to say: Welcome to the forums :)


Firstly thank you and secondly, I revisited my philosophical point and have to embarrassedly admit it's a stupid one because I'm targeting players understanding the concept of covering the J to protect 10 third in West but failing to recognize the 9-card-Fit...

I suppose, If a spade and a heart spot were swapped, to make the 9-card-fit and the important spot cards (10,9,8) undisclosed, leading the J would become the better line of play compared to the simple drop, wouldn't it?

regards
JW
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#14 User is offline   PhilG007 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 02:17

View Postdickiegera, on 2017-September-12, 06:47, said:

Finesse or drop


You are in 6 contract. Opponents silent.

After losing spade on opening lead [not led] all you need is to find Heart Q

Am I correct that Finesse is a 50% chance therefore better than playing for drop.

Which way to finesse is a guess.

Thank you

South is declarer.
East wins opening spade lead with Ace and continues a spade.

There is an old bridge adage "Eight ever,nine never" meaning with 8 cards missing the Queen, you should take
the finesse. With 9 cards you should play off the AK and hope the Queen falls in two rounds.
It's not a sin to play bridge,but it's a crime if you play it badly(!) ;)
"It is not enough to be a good player,you must also play well"
- Dr Tarrasch(1862-1934)German Chess Grandmaster
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#15 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 02:59

View Postdickiegera, on 2017-September-12, 06:47, said:


Finesse or drop
You are in 6 contract. Opponents silent.
After losing spade on opening lead [not led] all you need is to find Heart Q
Am I correct that Finesse is a 50% chance therefore better than playing for drop.
Which way to finesse is a guess.
South is declarer.
East wins opening spade lead with Ace and continues a spade.

In case trumps are 4-0, you should probably start with K, because you can pick up 4 trumps with RHO and still ruff a in dummy.
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#16 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 03:10

In absense of any opponent bidding,I shall play for the drop,following the age old advise "with 8 ever with nine never".
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#17 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 05:10

View PostJanisW, on 2017-September-12, 08:12, said:

True enough...

Regarding the original question: the Drop is the slightly superior play. But by leading the Jack I might induce a cover from some East-players. Whether this compensates for taking a slightly inferior line of play is kind of a philosophical point, I guess.

Regards
JW


FWIW, with hands like this one I here's what I was taught:

On Trick 1 Lead the 10 of Hearts from hand.

If LHO doesn't cover or hitch raise with the King and then run the Jack back in the other direction...
Alderaan delenda est
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#18 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 06:21

View Posthrothgar, on 2017-September-13, 05:10, said:

FWIW, with hands like this one I here's what I was taught:

On Trick 1 Lead the 10 of Hearts from hand.

If LHO doesn't cover or hitch raise with the King and then run the Jack back in the other direction...


With more than just the occasional online player, a hitch would be evidence that they do not have the Q. It happens.(Not a legitimate ploy, btw)

That cynical remark aside, give W the Q6. Does he hitch? For what? I suppose he could consider that if it goes TQKA there could be some hope, in his mind, that E has, and scores, the 9.Surely with Q6 it is better to just play the spot.

I am sommewhat serious about playing an unknown hitcher to not have the Q.
Ken
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#19 User is offline   GrahamJson 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 06:58

Terrence Reece wrote of a hand in which, playing against two little old ladies, he needed to find a queen in order to make a slam (grand I think). He had another suit of something like A10x in dummy opposite KQJ in hand. He led the J from hand and LHO hesitated for a little before playing small. He then led the J of the key suit from hand. This time LHO did not hesitate so he let it run, successfully.
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#20 User is offline   The_Badger 

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Posted 2017-September-13, 07:37

View PostGrahamJson, on 2017-September-13, 06:58, said:

Terrence Reece wrote of a hand in which, playing against two little old ladies, he needed to find a queen in order to make a slam (grand I think). He had another suit of something like A10x in dummy opposite KQJ in hand. He led the J from hand and LHO hesitated for a little before playing small. He then led the J of the key suit from hand. This time LHO did not hesitate so he let it run, successfully.


Lol. Little ol' ladies playing bridge can be sneaky :) (And I'm sure men can be too.) I remember playing an 8 board team match in a tournament and losing 20-0. Comparing scores with my teammates, my partner asked our other pair "What happened there?" quite bemused. Bertha, our captain, a lady of pensionable age herself, but quite formidable (as a lady and a bridge player) and quite junoesque said matter-of-factly, "We were zimmered!"
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