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Pushy Slam

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-April-10, 08:55


Matchpoints; Lead 5

I think I did too much as North here, and 4NT invitational was right at matchpoints. South might, of course, still have bid slam with a maximum pass, and any queen other than the queen of clubs would have been welcome. Still, the play's the thing. West leads the 5. How would you play?
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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-April-10, 09:29

I haven't spent much time on it, probably less than I would in real life, assuming a team game where I can take a little time on some of the hands.

My instinct is to win in dummy (duh!) and lead a low heart.

What happens next depends on who does what, including the spots they play, who wins, and what they return.

A diamond switch, from either side, is the worst, but I'd win in dummy, with the Ace, no matter what they play, and then cash the top hearts, pitching a spade.

If hearts are 3-3, I am up to 4H, 3C, and 2 in each pointed suit, and the opps have to make some pitches on the last 2 hearts (I can easily pitch two small diamonds). I then play a diamond to my King, and cash the top clubs, reducing to a 3 card ending of AKJ void void void opposite x void J x

If either opp has a guard in a minor, he can't hold the spade Qxx (which means I have a double squeeze). Moreover, against most opps one will have a pretty good idea of who holds what. Finally, I may well have a clue about the club shape from the play to trick 1, depending on the opps and their carding methods. Very weak players don't give useful info because they don't know about signaling. Good players, in this sort of situation, often don't give useful info because they have learned the hard way that declarer is often the main beneficiary: and on auctions like this, it is easy for defenders to work out what is going on.

The problem hand is LHO holding both minors and RHO the Qxx in spades, but I was never making then anyway.

Now, if hearts don't break, I will know something, even if not much, about the distribution. Whether I then play to drop in spades and hook in diamonds or vice versa will likely be influenced by that knowledge. It is possible that I will play for LHO to have all the important cards, should RHO show heart length, especially if he has 5. In the latter case, LHO has to make 2 pitches on the AK hearts.

If he is 4-1-4-4, as one example, he can't let go a club and can't let go 2 spades or 2 diamonds, so pitches one of each.

Now I can play diamond to hand, cash the clubs, and then take the spade hook, since he would be 4-2 favourite to hold the Queen (winning as well when RHO has Qx in diamonds).

All of this is by way of saying that I wouldn't commit to an exact line of play, other than ducking the heart, until I saw what happened next.

Also, of course, they may not return a diamond...and what I play depends on what they play. I'm not going to spend the next hour discussing the alternatives (and every card they play has the potential to alter my line)
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#3 User is offline   LBengtsson 

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Posted 2019-April-10, 14:29

My instinct is to win in dummy (duh!) and lead a low heart.

good analysis. rectify count at trick 2.
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#4 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-April-10, 15:14

View PostLBengtsson, on 2019-April-10, 14:29, said:

My instinct is to win in dummy (duh!) and lead a low heart.

good analysis. rectify count at trick 2.

Of course, being a mp problem, we will no doubt learn that both pointed suits are 3-3 with the Queens onside, such that there are 15 top winners, and we have just taken 12 of them B-)

However, even then we rate to do better than a zero since at least some pairs will find the way to stay out of this borderline slam. However, my experience is that most average players tend to get excited about hcp and not sufficiently cautioned by misfits, so I'd expect a lot of slam bidding.
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#5 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-April-10, 20:10

My partner did duck a heart at trick two. RHO won with the jack and LHO played the five. Now RHO played another club and you win with the ace perforce, and discard what from dummy ...
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason. - barmar
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#6 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-April-10, 21:24

View Postlamford, on 2019-April-10, 20:10, said:

My partner did duck a heart at trick two. RHO won with the jack and LHO played the five. Now RHO played another club and you win with the ace perforce, and discard what from dummy ...

At the table I would know exactly which cards they played, including at trick one and trick 3. I would also know their ostensible carding agreements and, at least sometimes, whether they are prone to being honest, even when count is more useful to me than to them.

However, based on incomplete info. (And imo there is no excuse for posting complex play problems with inadequate information...even if the poster thinks details are irrelevant, they are almost never actually irrelevant), I pitch a spade. Then I cash the top hearts.
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#7 User is offline   heart76 

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Posted 2019-April-12, 00:31

 lamford, on 2019-April-10, 08:55, said:


Matchpoints; Lead 5

How would you play?


Even with both finesses working we still have 11 tricks, so we need to establish a suit. I would assume that at least one of them is breaking 4-2.
If we cash A and finesse, we still need the defence to play to cash the last when they break 4-2. We can't afford using that only communication to hand to play the finesse because we would go down by playing the majors from dummy if don't break.

I may very well go really wrong here, but if W is rated 4-5 decent for the opening lead, he needs to have a side entry, imho likely the Q.
I think I would play a low at trick 2. That would pick up the suit when it breaks 3-3, rectify the count and keep all the rest open.
On a return I would cash AK and play on the finesse if they don't break.
If they break, I go for the single squeeze played as a double with 2 discards on the .
The same play applies on other returns, although on it would be necessary and good to cash both honors right away.
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#8 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-April-12, 08:27

View Postmikeh, on 2019-April-10, 21:24, said:

At the table I would know exactly which cards they played, including at trick one and trick 3. I would also know their ostensible carding agreements and, at least sometimes, whether they are prone to being honest, even when count is more useful to me than to them.

However, based on incomplete info. (And imo there is no excuse for posting complex play problems with inadequate information...even if the poster thinks details are irrelevant, they are almost never actually irrelevant), I pitch a spade. Then I cash the top hearts.

West's club lead was fourth best, and East played the three of clubs, normal count. On the heart, East played the jack and West the five. In theory these would be normal count, but if you ask either opponent they would say that they usually lead and play randomly against a slam. East returned the four of clubs and West played the nine on your king. If you pitch a spade from dummy, cash the top club (West playing the jack and East the eight) pitching a spade and cross to the king of spades, the hearts will come in but you still need a twelfth trick ...
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#9 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-April-12, 10:04

View Postlamford, on 2019-April-12, 08:27, said:

West's club lead was fourth best, and East played the three of clubs, normal count. On the heart, East played the jack and West the five. In theory these would be normal count, but if you ask either opponent they would say that they usually lead and play randomly against a slam. East returned the four of clubs and West played the nine on your king. If you pitch a spade from dummy, cash the top club (West playing the jack and East the eight) pitching a spade and cross to the king of spades, the hearts will come in but you still need a twelfth trick ...



So we have reduced to a 5 card ending, lead in dummy, with: AKJ void A9 void opposite x void KJx x

We have watched the pitches, and once again we are being asked to plan the play with incomplete information. I very much doubt that in real life I would close my eyes and ignore the 2 discards each defender is required to make.

I should refuse to pick a line of play in this vacuum. What is the point of presenting these problems without this information?

I would estimate that 90% or more of the players one encounters in routine bridge will give something away here. Now the best players can see what's going on and will have taken a few seconds at, maybe, trick 3, when they can both see that hearts are 3-3. But even the best players sometimes give info away and of course sometimes the cards are such that they are toast no matter what they do.

Obviously the best line is to assume that at this point someone has a doubleton Queen: either because they always had it or because they have been squeezed. I don't think it makes sense to play spades: we have to commit to a pitch of a club or diamond on the second spade before seeing LHO's card.

I play Ace and a diamond to the K. If the Queen doesn't appear, then I lead a spade. Whether I hook or play for the drop depends on who played what on the hearts.

Note that I can't squeeze LHO in the minors, since he is pitching behind me, but I can have squeezed LHO in the blacks (the squeeze biting when I cash the 2 diamonds) and of course I can have squeezed RHO in the pointeds (and still more squeezes arise if, unexpectedly, RHO has the club guard).

Edit: on the play given, I assume East may in fact guard clubs: no matter how randomly they lead, few would lead the 5 from J1095.

In that case there is some merit to cashing spades first in that RHO can't keep the 4th club and Qxx in diamonds. However, I won't change my initial suggestion absent the missing info about their pitches on the hearts.
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#10 User is offline   rhm 

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Posted 2019-April-12, 10:32

Not sure why it is better to duck a heart instead of a spade.
If you duck a heart you have at best 11 top tricks and can not try both finesses since you have already lost a trick.
If you duck a heart and a club comes back you have to discard a spade and more or less hope hearts come in.
If hearts do not break you have only 9 top tricks and your only chance seems to me the diamond finesse plus a 3-3 break there.
Anything else will just not do if hearts are not 3-3. Even if no club comes back, you can only try diamonds or spades and the chances are the same.
(Well if diamonds do not break but the diamond finesse works you would have to hope that the spade finesse works too and a squeeze develops.)

If you duck a spade you hope spades come in, but this chance is better, since the queen could be in the short hand.
In fact the chance is slightly better than 50% while the chance for hearts 3-3 is only 35.5% (and East might play the spade queen from queen fourth, I have seen worse plays)
If spades do not break you still have the same diamond chance.

If spades come in, you also have 11 tricks and can postpone the decision whether to finesse in diamonds or play for a squeeze.
The squeeze chance is less good than when you play on hearts, but I do not think that compensates playing on hearts.
I am anyway not convinced that the squeeze in either case is actually better than the diamond finesse, assuming we do not care much whether we go down one or more.
If you would know where the relevant cards are located in the ending the squeeze would be better, but it is very easy to miss-guess such endings.

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#11 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-April-12, 12:40

View Postmikeh, on 2019-April-12, 10:04, said:

I play Ace and a diamond to the K. If the Queen doesn't appear, then I lead a spade. Whether I hook or play for the drop depends on who played what on the hearts.

You would make it, as West has been squeezed. I understand what you say that it depends a lot on what people play in practice, but I think it is more beneficial to discuss hands on here with perfect defence, against Angel Michael and Angel Gabriel who are deemed to give nothing away in the carding.
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#12 User is offline   heart76 

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Posted 2019-April-13, 07:07

 rhm, on 2019-April-12, 10:32, said:

Not sure why it is better to duck a heart instead of a spade.


We'll that's of course a very good point and something I thought about.
I guess you're probably right given your experience, but what I thought is that a finesse (at >50% corrected chance) is always possible, so ducking a would increase the overall chances more by the 36% 3-3 break.
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#13 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-April-16, 01:43

View Postrhm, on 2019-April-12, 10:32, said:

Not sure why it is better to duck a heart instead of a spade.

I had the same reaction, but:

Quote

I am anyway not convinced that the squeeze in either case is actually better than the diamond finesse, assuming we do not care much whether we go down one or more.
If you would know where the relevant cards are located in the ending the squeeze would be better, but it is very easy to miss-guess such endings.

I think you are severely underestimating how good the squeeze is, even if the opponents do not give away any guesses. Just playing cards from the top (coming down to AKJ opposite x J x) you make when
- the same person has Q and Q, or
- the same person has Q and five+ clubs, or
- someone had Qx, or
- someone has Qx.
If you believe the carding at trick one (i.e., 5 clubs on your left), that is 77% if my calculations are right.

If spades run, I don't see a squeeze at all - you don't have the entries to time the play right unless they return a club at trick 3, and even then you only have hearts as threat. So I think that's just 50%.

So if you believe the trick 1 carding (and I would, as 5 clubs is already the most likely split given the lead), it would be 77%*35.5% + 18%*64.5% = 39%, versus 50%*51.5% + 18%*48.5% = 34.5%.
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#14 User is offline   rhm 

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Posted 2019-April-16, 05:55

View Postcherdano, on 2019-April-16, 01:43, said:

I had the same reaction, but:


I think you are severely underestimating how good the squeeze is, even if the opponents do not give away any guesses. Just playing cards from the top (coming down to AKJ opposite x J x) you make when
- the same person has Q and Q, or
- the same person has Q and five+ clubs, or
- someone had Qx, or
- someone has Qx.
If you believe the carding at trick one (i.e., 5 clubs on your left), that is 77% if my calculations are right.

If spades run, I don't see a squeeze at all - you don't have the entries to time the play right unless they return a club at trick 3, and even then you only have hearts as threat. So I think that's just 50%.

So if you believe the trick 1 carding (and I would, as 5 clubs is already the most likely split given the lead), it would be 77%*35.5% + 18%*64.5% = 39%, versus 50%*51.5% + 18%*48.5% = 34.5%.


Fair enough this is a sensible analysis. I agree that the squeeze is better than the diamond finesse when you play on hearts, though I do think 77% is optimistic
It remains close

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