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Good Grand, Bad Grand Hand

Poll: Good Grand, Bad Grand Hand (14 member(s) have cast votes)

Is 7 Diamonds at MPs is a...

  1. Good Contract (2 votes [14.29%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.29%

  2. Reasonable Contract (6 votes [42.86%])

    Percentage of vote: 42.86%

  3. Bad Contract (6 votes [42.86%])

    Percentage of vote: 42.86%

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#1 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2019-August-13, 10:12

This hand occurred yesterday at MPs with most ending up in 6NT. Though 7 seems a reasonable contract from where I am sitting with multiple chances to secure 13 tricks, especially when trumps break 3-2. Our bidding was a bit 'agricultural' to say the least. 2NT showed 8-10 HCPs balanced, and as partner couldn't bid 3 now as that would have been Stayman, he just bashed out 6NT with his 24 HCP hand.

4-4 minor suit slams are notoriously difficult to bid, except if you have quite a few gadgets on tap I feel, and 4-4 minor suit grand slams even more so.

1. Do you think you can reach 7 here, and 2) Do you feel it is a good or bad contract? and 3) What is the best line of play to make it? And, as always, thank you for your replies.



The lead will vary depending on whether North or South plays it. If South plays it the lead is 3. If North plays it the lead is likely to be 10
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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-August-13, 12:00

Not sure why you say that the usual lead from East would be a heart. Determining the most likely lead requires more than knowing the 4 hands: it requires knowing the auction, since, as Reese famously wrote, there are no blind leads, only deaf leaders.

In any event the normal lead against a suit grand is trump. This is because one can usually safely assume (so long as one does not hold a stiff or something like Jxxx), the opps don't have a trump loser/guess, and because any other lead risks picking off a position or eliminating a guess or simply giving up a tempo. It's not as if we rate to have an immediate winner, unless we have reason to believe that maybe they've gone off the rails (as happened famously in a LM pairs event not so long ago).

We need the grand to be at least 50% for it to be a good contract. Make it, and get a tied for top (possibly a cold top): go down and we have at most a tie for a bottom.

On a trump lead, win in North, cash the heart cross to the diamond 10, finding out the break.

Let's assume 3-2 (68.5%).

Ruff a heart high, and return to hand with a trump, pulling the last one.

Cash the heart K.

If the Queen has appeared, we are almost home: we only need 4 club tricks (4 trump, 3 hearts, a heart ruff, 4 clubs and the spade Ace) So we'd play on clubs, making on all 3-3 or 4-2 breaks and the stiff Jack and the virtually impossible 6-0 onside.

Assume the Queen has not appeared.

Play 3 rounds of clubs: if the club jack drops (but not, yet, if it is stiff), we have 5 clubs and make. If not, ruff the club.

Unfortunately, you cannot inflict a squeeze in this position, since the squeeze card is that good club, and you don't have communication. You are down to AQ void void 10 opposite xx J void void, and are in your hand (not that it matters: it is even worse if you are in dummy!)

You don't have any choice but the spade hook.

This isn't a bad line: if trump are 4-1, you have fewer options, since you can't ruff a heart in dummy and a club in hand, without promoting a trump winner for the defence. But you still make if the clubs come home, which is a pretty good shot...all the 3-3 breaks (a priori 35.5% but less once trump are known to be 4-1) and one third of the 4-2 breaks and of course the spade hook.

Plus if the heart Queen drops, you have 4 hearts, 4 trump, 3 top clubs and the spade AQ. You may have a show-up squeeze on LHO (if he holds Jxxx in clubs and the spade K). How likely that is depends on who has the 4 trump...if East, pretty good chance, if West, very poor chance.

I couldn't calculate these odds at the table, but I think that they are probably, in aggregate, over 50%. Plus this is the sort of hand I enjoy playing at the table. So I'd personally want to be there, but doubt that I could.


2C 2S where 2S is a balanced 8-11 hcp
3C natural
3H This is where the problem arises. 3D shows a 5332 hand with 5 diamonds. So that is out: 3H shows 4 hearts


Now opener knows that we are in the slam zone and the question is whether to bid 4D. Seeing the hands, this is obvious, and now South, with the great diamonds, in context, and the wonderful club K, will surely cooperate and grand may be reached. However, these auctions are always easy when one knows the hands. At the table, North may elect to invite slam (4N over 3H, lest responder have an unsuitable minimum) or pick a slam 5N, or blast a slam (6N)). I wouldn't expect the first, overly pessimistic choice, but either of the other two work. 5N is interesting, since South might choose 6D, showing a reasonable 4 card suit, and North could choose to raise.



Edit: I am not claiming my suggested line is best, but I always try to answer play problems in about the time I'd have at the table. Now, it took me a lot longer to write this than to formulate the line, but I suspect that I'm going to need to play the companion boards this round very quickly :)
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#3 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-August-13, 12:02

I would play 7 assuming a trump lead:

Win A
A
to K
K
ruff high (assume Q doesn't drop)
to hand and assuming all follow
heart ruff
A and assuming J doesn't drop
ruffed with the 8

and if all goes well (trumps are 3-2, clubs are 3-3 or 4-2 with W not having xx and 9xx) you have 4 clubs, 4 diamonds, 2 hearts, 2 heart ruffs and a spade.
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#4 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-August-13, 13:00

View PostCyberyeti, on 2019-August-13, 12:02, said:

I would play 7 assuming a trump lead:

Win A
A
to K
K
ruff high
to hand and assuming all follow
heart ruff
A and assuming J doesn't drop
ruffed with the 8

and if all goes well (trumps are 3-2, clubs are 3-3 or 4-2 with W not having xx and 9xx) you have 4 clubs, 4 diamonds, 2 hearts, 2 heart ruffs and a spade.


I had to work hard to follow this, but I think that after the first heart ruff you are in dummy with AQ void Jx AQ10x opposite xxx J Q108 x

If you lead a diamond and RHO follows, I assume you intend to win the 10/Queen and then ruff a heart with the Jack, assuming all followed in trump.

Assume they do: now you are in dummy with AQ void void AQ10x and xxx void 108 x. You can only get back to your hand with a club ruff, so you are down if LHO has 1-2 clubs and 9xx in diamonds or was able to reduce to that club holding by pitching on the hearts.

Worse, you are almost always down if rho has 4 trump, since you are overtaking after the first heart ruff and then would have AQ void J AQ10x opposite xxx J Q8 x

With rho holding 9x in diamonds, you need a minor miracle, since you need to orchestrate a trump coup. Say you ruff your heart: you need RHO to have to follow to the clubs (so he can't pitch a club from say 4=3=4=2) and you need the clubs to be good (so he can't have 2=3=4=4 or the like, with the club J).

If LHO has the 4 trump, at least you know this when you lead the second diamond from dummy, but if you've led the x, it does you no good. You can't win the 10 or Q and ruff a heart without promoting the 9, and you can't pull trump....if you go to the diamond J, you have no way at all back to your hand, even if clubs behave. You can't safely lead the J and overtake since now if trump were 3-2, somebody might be ruffing the 4th heart with a spot higher than dummy's.

Since diamonds are 4-1 close to 30% of the time, this seems like an unnecessary risk.

Now, the heart Queen appearing on round 3 allows you to change lines (the heart Queen on round 1 or 2 helps my line as much as yours, so is a wash), but I think the main reason for my line is that I find out the trump break early, whereas in your line, you are basically committing (with only implausible other chances) to a 3-2 trump break. Plus you need some luck in the minors (or the heart Queen dropping) even when trump are 3-2.
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#5 User is offline   HardVector 

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Posted 2019-August-13, 13:20

I read somewhere that a pro recommended that a 2c opening bid be described as "Strong, forcing and preemptive". The reason is because you are starting at 2c, you are preempting YOUR auction. If you truly wish to improve your results on these kind of hands, I have to recommend that you learn a strong club system. If you don't wish to go that road, then consider the idea that you are bidding with the field and getting a field result is acceptable and move on to the next hand. If you want to retain your system but still get to optimal results, you are going to have to develop complex systemic agreements that allow you and your partner to describe various different hand types/shapes in 2 levels of bidding after you open 2c.
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#6 User is offline   akwoo 

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Posted 2019-August-13, 13:46

I think even strong clubbers will tend to have trouble finding 7 here. The folks playing relays will find the shape but still won't find the J or the T. The folks not playing relays will have more trouble. The Precision I'm playing is just about the worst possible one for finding 7 on this hand - it goes

1C (16+) - 2D (9-11 balanced)
2N (no 5 card major, not minor 1-suiter) - 3S (4 hearts, not 4 spades)

and we're already too high to look for the diamond fit - probably opener bashes 6N here.
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#7 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-August-13, 14:50

View Postmikeh, on 2019-August-13, 13:00, said:

I had to work hard to follow this, but I think that after the first heart ruff you are in dummy with AQ void Jx AQ10x opposite xxx J Q108 x

If you lead a diamond and RHO follows, I assume you intend to win the 10/Queen and then ruff a heart with the Jack, assuming all followed in trump.

Assume they do: now you are in dummy with AQ void void AQ10x and xxx void 108 x. You can only get back to your hand with a club ruff, so you are down if LHO has 1-2 clubs and 9xx in diamonds or was able to reduce to that club holding by pitching on the hearts.

Worse, you are almost always down if rho has 4 trump, since you are overtaking after the first heart ruff and then would have AQ void J AQ10x opposite xxx J Q8 x

With rho holding 9x in diamonds, you need a minor miracle, since you need to orchestrate a trump coup. Say you ruff your heart: you need RHO to have to follow to the clubs (so he can't pitch a club from say 4=3=4=2) and you need the clubs to be good (so he can't have 2=3=4=4 or the like, with the club J).

If LHO has the 4 trump, at least you know this when you lead the second diamond from dummy, but if you've led the x, it does you no good. You can't win the 10 or Q and ruff a heart without promoting the 9, and you can't pull trump....if you go to the diamond J, you have no way at all back to your hand, even if clubs behave. You can't safely lead the J and overtake since now if trump were 3-2, somebody might be ruffing the 4th heart with a spot higher than dummy's.

Since diamonds are 4-1 close to 30% of the time, this seems like an unnecessary risk.

Now, the heart Queen appearing on round 3 allows you to change lines (the heart Queen on round 1 or 2 helps my line as much as yours, so is a wash), but I think the main reason for my line is that I find out the trump break early, whereas in your line, you are basically committing (with only implausible other chances) to a 3-2 trump break. Plus you need some luck in the minors (or the heart Queen dropping) even when trump are 3-2.


I may not have explained it very well, and in fact it's better not to cash K let me give the NS tricks:
N:S (*=led)
A:5
A*:3
2*:K
K:5*
J*:Q if E follows, if W blows you can later finesse the 8, if E blows you don't overtake, assuming both follow:
2:J*
A*:4
5*:8

now draw the trump and cash K ditching spades and dummy is high. I'm not sure how this compares to your line
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#8 User is offline   FelicityR 

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Posted 2019-August-14, 02:18

 akwoo, on 2019-August-13, 13:46, said:

I think even strong clubbers will tend to have trouble finding 7 here. The folks playing relays will find the shape but still won't find the J or the T. The folks not playing relays will have more trouble. The Precision I'm playing is just about the worst possible one for finding 7 on this hand - it goes

1C (16+) - 2D (9-11 balanced)
2N (no 5 card major, not minor 1-suiter) - 3S (4 hearts, not 4 spades)

and we're already too high to look for the diamond fit - probably opener bashes 6N here.


You're probably right, akwoo. I gave this hand to my expert son who plays "an all singing and all dancing version of" Precision with his regular partner and they never got to 7 either.
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#9 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-August-14, 02:59

We find diamonds easily enough, whether we find 7 of them or 6N I don't know. We play 2-2N-3 as Baron (akin to Precision 1-1N-2) rather than clubs so we find diamonds at the 3 level.

2-2N (9+ bal, F4N unless a suit known to be open)
3(Baron)-3
4(KC)-4(0)
4N(Q?)-5(yes and K)
5(I have one of K/Q bid 7 with the other)-5N(don't have that but have something else I can't show which must be K here)
?
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#10 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2019-August-14, 04:34

 akwoo, on 2019-August-13, 13:46, said:

I think even strong clubbers will tend to have trouble finding 7 here. The folks playing relays will find the shape but still won't find the J or the T. The folks not playing relays will have more trouble. The Precision I'm playing is just about the worst possible one for finding 7 on this hand - it goes

1C (16+) - 2D (9-11 balanced)
2N (no 5 card major, not minor 1-suiter) - 3S (4 hearts, not 4 spades)

and we're already too high to look for the diamond fit - probably opener bashes 6N here.

Sir,the Super Precision that we play will also not be successful in discovering all the important cards required like the D10 AND C10 AND the S9,. When we find that the one K is missing we will stop in 6D.The OP has asked about the grand slam in diamonds..My personal opinion ,after seeing the hands is that it is not an absurd one.I shall not repeat how the play will go as the same has been discussed by other colleagues.Our bidding will be 1C-1NT(8-13 can have a 5 card minor but a balanced hand)-2C(RELAY)-2D(4H 8/10)-2NT(Relay)-3D(4D)-3S(spade ask)-3NT(No control)-4C( number of controls?)-4S( 2controls) Opener now has found out HK,CK and DQ(we show a second 4 card suit with at least a Q in it)..Opener signs of in 6D.If responder shows only one control we play in 5D.THANKS
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#11 User is offline   nekthen 

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Posted 2019-August-14, 04:40



Seems to me that a spade lead is dangerous for South in 7

I would be bidding

2 GF with 2 suits or 23+ balanced or weak 2
2 pretty much forced
3 3 both natural
3N implies 4 card suit with a massively two suited hand would bid 4
4 mild slam try cue bid
4 kickback
4 as expected
5 Q check
5 yes and the K
6N I see 12 tricks
pass Would bid 7 with 5 card

Unfortunately it seems likely that the sequence strongly suggests a spade lead against 7 while 6N is right-sided
It seems like 6 is the last cast iron contract and 6N is surely worth the risk needing to take 5 tricks or 2 tricks
7 only if I need a top
6N is likely to score more than 50% if it makes
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#12 User is offline   microcap 

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Posted 2019-August-14, 07:34

I have been forever looking for a decent response structure to 2 openers...if 2 is 8-11 balanced, what are 2D, 2H, and 2NT?

thanks in advance


 mikeh, on 2019-August-13, 12:00, said:

Not sure why you say that the usual lead from East would be a heart. Determining the most likely lead requires more than knowing the 4 hands: it requires knowing the auction, since, as Reese famously wrote, there are no blind leads, only deaf leaders.

In any event the normal lead against a suit grand is trump. This is because one can usually safely assume (so long as one does not hold a stiff or something like Jxxx), the opps don't have a trump loser/guess, and because any other lead risks picking off a position or eliminating a guess or simply giving up a tempo. It's not as if we rate to have an immediate winner, unless we have reason to believe that maybe they've gone off the rails (as happened famously in a LM pairs event not so long ago).

We need the grand to be at least 50% for it to be a good contract. Make it, and get a tied for top (possibly a cold top): go down and we have at most a tie for a bottom.

On a trump lead, win in North, cash the heart cross to the diamond 10, finding out the break.

Let's assume 3-2 (68.5%).

Ruff a heart high, and return to hand with a trump, pulling the last one.

Cash the heart K.

If the Queen has appeared, we are almost home: we only need 4 club tricks (4 trump, 3 hearts, a heart ruff, 4 clubs and the spade Ace) So we'd play on clubs, making on all 3-3 or 4-2 breaks and the stiff Jack and the virtually impossible 6-0 onside.

Assume the Queen has not appeared.

Play 3 rounds of clubs: if the club jack drops (but not, yet, if it is stiff), we have 5 clubs and make. If not, ruff the club.

Unfortunately, you cannot inflict a squeeze in this position, since the squeeze card is that good club, and you don't have communication. You are down to AQ void void 10 opposite xx J void void, and are in your hand (not that it matters: it is even worse if you are in dummy!)

You don't have any choice but the spade hook.

This isn't a bad line: if trump are 4-1, you have fewer options, since you can't ruff a heart in dummy and a club in hand, without promoting a trump winner for the defence. But you still make if the clubs come home, which is a pretty good shot...all the 3-3 breaks (a priori 35.5% but less once trump are known to be 4-1) and one third of the 4-2 breaks and of course the spade hook.

Plus if the heart Queen drops, you have 4 hearts, 4 trump, 3 top clubs and the spade AQ. You may have a show-up squeeze on LHO (if he holds Jxxx in clubs and the spade K). How likely that is depends on who has the 4 trump...if East, pretty good chance, if West, very poor chance.

I couldn't calculate these odds at the table, but I think that they are probably, in aggregate, over 50%. Plus this is the sort of hand I enjoy playing at the table. So I'd personally want to be there, but doubt that I could.


2C 2S where 2S is a balanced 8-11 hcp
3C natural
3H This is where the problem arises. 3D shows a 5332 hand with 5 diamonds. So that is out: 3H shows 4 hearts


Now opener knows that we are in the slam zone and the question is whether to bid 4D. Seeing the hands, this is obvious, and now South, with the great diamonds, in context, and the wonderful club K, will surely cooperate and grand may be reached. However, these auctions are always easy when one knows the hands. At the table, North may elect to invite slam (4N over 3H, lest responder have an unsuitable minimum) or pick a slam 5N, or blast a slam (6N)). I wouldn't expect the first, overly pessimistic choice, but either of the other two work. 5N is interesting, since South might choose 6D, showing a reasonable 4 card suit, and North could choose to raise.



Edit: I am not claiming my suggested line is best, but I always try to answer play problems in about the time I'd have at the table. Now, it took me a lot longer to write this than to formulate the line, but I suspect that I'm going to need to play the companion boards this round very quickly :)

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#13 User is offline   msjennifer 

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Posted 2019-August-14, 08:21

 akwoo, on 2019-August-13, 13:46, said:

I think even strong clubbers will tend to have trouble finding 7 here. The folks playing relays will find the shape but still won't find the J or the T. The folks not playing relays will have more trouble. The Precision I'm playing is just about the worst possible one for finding 7 on this hand - it goes

1C (16+) - 2D (9-11 balanced)
2N (no 5 card major, not minor 1-suiter) - 3S (4 hearts, not 4 spades)

and we're already too high to look for the diamond fit - probably opener bashes 6N here.

Sir,In the Precision method which you play, after 1C-2D-2NT.Now this 2NT can be played as BARON(suits up the line) so that you will not miss a club or diamond suit .Ofcourse ,this is just a polite suggestion.
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#14 User is offline   KingCovert 

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Posted 2019-August-14, 10:08

 akwoo, on 2019-August-13, 13:46, said:

I think even strong clubbers will tend to have trouble finding 7 here. The folks playing relays will find the shape but still won't find the J or the T. The folks not playing relays will have more trouble. The Precision I'm playing is just about the worst possible one for finding 7 on this hand - it goes

1C (16+) - 2D (9-11 balanced)
2N (no 5 card major, not minor 1-suiter) - 3S (4 hearts, not 4 spades)

and we're already too high to look for the diamond fit - probably opener bashes 6N here.


Depends on your system. My partner and I probably wouldn't have much trouble at all.

1 = 17+
1 = Game-Forcing (8+ HCP)
2 = 4+
4 = 4+ in support without any keycards
4 = Showing the A
5 = Showing K, denies the K
5 = Showing A and a clear try for grand, since it forces small slam.

It's really a question now of whether you believe as South that the hidden K and QT are enough to raise grand, the double-ton club is a big bonus too... Our system is a Canapé system, which is why 2 is bid and not 2, you can expect a 5-card trump suit or a longer side suit from the strong opener, this is a guarantee in this auction. And, you can expect every key-card to be in partner's hand as well.

Personally, I'm raising grand here, I'd judge that partner is most likely to have length in clubs on this auction, which suits my hand perfectly. We've got to hope for a favourable trump break and I can count at least 3 winning tricks out of maximum of 4 cards in the majors in partner's hand. Certainly, if partner had long spades this would be unfortunate, but.... Partner is making a try for grand, they'd probably need to be rather solid on this auction. After all, I didn't cue-bid 4 showing the K.

EDIT: Also, instead of a 5 cue-bid, 5 showing the singleton would also be a strong consideration, as showing the A isn't exactly worthwhile, given that it's required on the auction anyways.
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#15 User is offline   aawk 

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Posted 2019-August-15, 06:17

For 7 being a good contract the fines must work, 3-3 or 4-2 with the jack dropping and 3-2. For 7nt the could be 4-1/5-0 so 7nt is a better contract than 7.

To get to 7nt/ you need a lot of specific agreements which would show the king of is missing and grand slam on 50% chance is a choice.
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#16 User is online   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-August-15, 10:32

View Postaawk, on 2019-August-15, 06:17, said:

For 7 being a good contract the fines must work, 3-3 or 4-2 with the jack dropping and 3-2. For 7nt the could be 4-1/5-0 so 7nt is a better contract than 7.

To get to 7nt/ you need a lot of specific agreements which would show the king of is missing and grand slam on 50% chance is a choice.


This is absolute rubbish, 7N needs the spade finesse to work, 7 doesn't if the clubs behave whether diamonds are 3-2 or 4-1 (you make a heart ruff instead of the Q)
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