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Blew it!

#1 User is offline   661_Pete 

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Posted 2019-July-11, 13:14

I could literally kick myself for this one: NS vul, dealer S, pairs MPs:

West had overcalled my 2NT opening with 3 and we somehow scrambled to 6NT, don't ask how! But in fact 6NT is the best contract on this deal, provided one can place the diamonds correctly!

Alas! After winning the K lead with the A, I laid down the A and was taken straight to the slaughterhouse. A moment's thought could have told me, W for his overcall must have at least six clubs, so he's less likely to hold three diamonds - and I have an entry to dummy. I should have led to the K and taken the marked finesse against E if necessary...

Ah well - we learn from our mistakes. Would you have got it right?
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#2 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2019-July-11, 14:42

Yes I would have made it. This is a common mistake that players commit. Instead of bashing down the A, when you have two top honours in a suit, it is usually best to play a small card to one or the other. This allows you to see one of the opponent's cards before using an honour.

As your entries to dummy are limited you can't use the Q as an entry and lead towards the A, so you are automatically obliged to assume the worst case scenario of East having Qxx. And, as you said, finding West with Qxx after his/her overcall was against the odds.
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#3 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-July-11, 16:53

Don't think 6N is that great, can you make it on a heart lead without the first round diamond finesse ? But yes you probably should get the diamonds right
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#4 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 01:27

View PostFelicityR, on 2019-July-11, 14:42, said:

Yes I would have made it. This is a common mistake that players commit. Instead of bashing down the A, when you have two top honours in a suit, it is usually best to play a small card to one or the other. This allows you to see one of the opponent's cards before using an honour.

That doesn't make sense. What do you play if you lead low to one of the honors and the 1st opponent follows suit? Are you going to take a 1st round finesse and play for a 3-0 split? The percentage play is to go up with the honor and hope for a 2-1 split.

View PostFelicityR, on 2019-July-11, 14:42, said:

As your entries to dummy are limited you can't use the ♥Q as an entry and lead towards the ♦A, so you are automatically obliged to assume the worst case scenario of East having ♦Qxx. And, as you said, finding West with ♦Qxx after his/her overcall was against the odds.

The reason I would play East as more likely to have 3 diamonds is that West has overcalled at the 3 level in clubs so likely has at least 6 clubs (so East has at most 3 clubs) The theory of vacant spaces leads to the conclusion that East, not West is more likely to have 3 diamonds if diamonds are 3-0.

In this case, entries have nothing to do with the percentage line of play.
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#5 User is offline   661_Pete 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 02:07

6NT can still be made on a lead as the cards lie - with some care! But you have no chance to test the diamonds. Win with Q and - hoping for the best - immediately finesse 8 or 9 through E. Then cash A and K and play off all the diamonds, you still have an entry for the top and A.
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#6 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 02:22

View PostCyberyeti, on 2019-July-11, 16:53, said:

Don't think 6N is that great, can you make it on a heart lead without the first round diamond finesse ? But yes you probably should get the diamonds right


6N by South is a contract I want to be in every time. Sure a heart lead makes things a little harder, but who is going to lead a heart when they presumbably have KQ (after a 3 overcall of 2NT)
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#7 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 03:15

View Post661_Pete, on 2019-July-12, 02:07, said:

6NT can still be made on a lead as the cards lie


Yes, as the cards lie. But you can't cater for west holding a singleton or doubleton Q - you have to choose to go with east holding the Q rather than diamonds being 2-1. I guess that you could calculate the odds using vacant spaces but it isn't clear to me to play the finesse rather than drop.
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#8 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 03:54

View Postjohnu, on 2019-July-12, 01:27, said:

That doesn't make sense. What do you play if you lead low to one of the honors and the 1st opponent follows suit? Are you going to take a 1st round finesse and play for a 3-0 split? The percentage play is to go up with the honor and hope for a 2-1 split.


Yes, I agree. But you can take a view of how the outstanding trumps may split before committing to a play. I believe I read in a Terence Reese book that leading towards a high honour with a small card is usually preferable to cashing that honour directly without seeing how a defender plays.

Given the bidding on the hand, leading small towards the K is far more preferable than leading small to the A
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#9 User is offline   pescetom 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 04:59

View PostTramticket, on 2019-July-12, 03:15, said:

Yes, as the cards lie. But you can't cater for west holding a singleton or doubleton Q - you have to choose to go with east holding the Q rather than diamonds being 2-1. I guess that you could calculate the odds using vacant spaces but it isn't clear to me to play the finesse rather than drop.


Not only do I think you are right, but also my instinct at table would be to favour the drop even after West showed long clubs. Maybe someone has time to do the math.
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#10 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 05:32

View PostFelicityR, on 2019-July-12, 03:54, said:

Yes, I agree. But you can take a view of how the outstanding trumps may split before committing to a play. I believe I read in a Terence Reese book that leading towards a high honour with a small card is usually preferable to cashing that honour directly without seeing how a defender plays.


Hard to say what Reese may have meant without context. Certainly there are situations where you don't want the opponents to be able to falsecard, so if you lead low up to an honor at least 1 of opponents usually can't randomly falsecard without potentially blowing a trick. I'll assume that's the situation he is considering.

In this case, the only falsecard of note would be to play queen from Qx or Qxx which isn't going to fool anybody.
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#11 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 05:34

View Postpescetom, on 2019-July-12, 04:59, said:

Not only do I think you are right, but also my instinct at table would be to favour the drop even after West showed long clubs. Maybe someone has time to do the math.


Ok, I had a spare 10 minutes.

If we assume that west promised a six-card suit for the overcall, then based on vacant spaces*, the odds of the finesse have risen from 50% to 65% and the odds of the drop fall from 78% to 72%. Playing for the drop is still the percentage action.

It become more interesting if we assume that west promised a seven-card suit. Again, using vacant spaces*, the odds of the finesse rise to 68.4% and the odds of the drop fall to 68.4% = No difference!

I would expect west to likely hold "six or seven" clubs, so combining these suggests playing for the drop.


* I have ignored that the queen is worth two points and it might be argued that it would help (a bit) justify the overcall
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#12 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 05:38

View Postpescetom, on 2019-July-12, 04:59, said:

Not only do I think you are right, but also my instinct at table would be to favour the drop even after West showed long clubs. Maybe someone has time to do the math.


You could do the math, or you could use a calculator that somebody has already written.

From Richard Pavlicek's excellent site:

Card Combination Analyzer

Playing for the drop is better if West has 7 clubs or less. If West has 8 clubs, the first round finesse is slightly better.
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#13 User is offline   661_Pete 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 07:09

View PostTramticket, on 2019-July-12, 05:34, said:

I would expect west to likely hold "six or seven" clubs, so combining these suggests playing for the drop.
Thanks. Of course I played for the drop without thinking about it. Now you've posted, I don't feel so bad about it! :)


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* I have ignored that the queen is worth two points and it might be argued that it would help (a bit) justify the overcall
Yes, but surely any overcall of 2NT is likely to be weak - hoping to disrupt opener and partner?
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#14 User is offline   Tramticket 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 08:18

View Post661_Pete, on 2019-July-12, 07:09, said:

Thanks. Of course I played for the drop without thinking about it. Now you've posted, I don't feel so bad about it! :)


My odds were based on a heart lead where you have to make an immediate decision whether to finesse or play for the drop. On the actual club lead you have time to play for the drop and fall back on a finesse. Low to the king and running the Jack if west shows out only fails if west has Q52 as well as a 6+ card club suit. This is VERY good odds (97% if it is a six-card suit, 98% if it is a seven-card suit). Your line only has a 75% chance if a six-card suit (70% if a seven-card suit).

You was unlucky, but you could have improved things significantly.
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#15 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2019-July-12, 14:29

View PostFelicityR, on 2019-July-12, 03:54, said:

Yes, I agree. But you can take a view of how the outstanding trumps may split before committing to a play. I believe I read in a Terence Reese book that leading towards a high honour with a small card is usually preferable to cashing that honour directly without seeing how a defender plays.

Given the bidding on the hand, leading small towards the K is far more preferable than leading small to the A

That's true for other suit holdings, but not this one. Cashing an honor, and leading towards an honor, are 100% identical.
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