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Ducking when holding AK

#1 User is offline   green biro 

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Posted 2020-November-02, 15:06

Any general guidelines on whether / when to duck an opening lead with AKx in dummy and xxx in hand. I'd always thought that you take the first trick and then if a duck is required, you can do that the next time the defence attacks the suit. any reason that that's not correct?

But say you have the 10 (i.e. 10xx) in hand? Is it worth ducking in case the lead is from QJxxx?

If the lead is the 4 and you can't see the 3. What layout would be most likely? I'd have thought Qxxxx opp Jx. So I'd take the King rather than expect it to run round to my winning ten.

Please link to any published guidance on this sort of stuff.

Thanks

GB
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#2 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2020-November-02, 15:22

The usual situation you'd want to duck is something like you are in 3nt, and have two side suits in which you have to knock out an ace. If the opening leader has 5 cd suit and both aces you are cooked; you have to hope those side aces are split.

But, if your plan is to win the first trick, knock out an ace, then hold up, if this initial suit is 5-2, you have to guess right to knock out the leader's side suit ace first; if you knock out his partner's entry first you have blown the guess, as he leads his 2nd card and opening leader gets in with the other side suit.

OTOH, if you just duck the first trick in both hands, then it won't matter how you guess; if you knock out the partner's side ace first he won't have a third card to lead back in the initial suit.

So basically it usually depends if there are two entries to knock out and if you can control whose entry gets removed first, if you have the aces and can only lose tricks to specific opps, or if they have the aces and you have no control over who gets in first.
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#3 User is offline   green biro 

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Posted 2020-November-02, 16:26

That's very interesting and informative. Thanks.

The flip side is when is not worth an initial duck and as far as I can ascertain, the scenarios would be:
- You only have one Ace to knock out (in which case, no point in giving up a trick unnecessarily - less of a consideration at imps if you can always get to your goal total of nine tricks for 3NT).
- You have two Aces to knock out but you know who's got which (admittedly unlikely)
- You fear a switch.

and the possibility of free trick if you hold the ten and you think that the lead might have been away from QJxxx could sway you towards the duck as well.

So on balance, apart from the fear of a switch with a trick already in the pockets of the Defence, it's almost an automatic duck? Does that sound correct?

It'd be great to see some hands or an article on this but not getting one with Google.
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#4 User is offline   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-November-02, 18:28

You might like to watch this video, which was posted within the last couple of days.

AK were split between dummy + declarer, and it wasn't AKx vs xxx, but it was a good example of the thought process of why you had to duck.
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#5 User is offline   Stephen Tu 

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Posted 2020-November-02, 18:36

I'm sure there are examples in some declarer play/quiz books somewhere. Or maybe the bridge master software in the BBO practice area (great program, run through it if you haven't already, especially the first 4 levels). I highly recommend books by Bill Root, Mollo/Gardner, Kantar, Reese, Kelsey depending on what you've already read and your current level of play.

In general what you wrote is thinking along the right lines. Play the hand out in your head, visualize possible holdings. Duck if you can see how it will help you, cutting communications, or maybe rectifying the count for a squeeze. Don't duck if it's not going to help you and it allows you to score another trick, you will have enough winners to make that loser disappear (or you fear switch even more).

The other common scenario to duck is when you have a suit to establish missing ace and king, you have to hope they are split (or that the hand with the 2 cds in the initial 5-2 suit has both).
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#6 User is offline   green biro 

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Posted 2020-November-03, 14:55

View Postsmerriman, on 2020-November-02, 18:28, said:

You might like to watch this video, which was posted within the last couple of days.

AK were split between dummy + declarer, and it wasn't AKx vs xxx, but it was a good example of the thought process of why you had to duck.



Thanks. An excellent and informative watch.
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#7 User is offline   green biro 

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Posted 2020-November-03, 14:59

View PostStephen Tu, on 2020-November-02, 18:36, said:

I'm sure there are examples in some declarer play/quiz books somewhere. Or maybe the bridge master software in the BBO practice area (great program, run through it if you haven't already, especially the first 4 levels). I highly recommend books by Bill Root, Mollo/Gardner, Kantar, Reese, Kelsey depending on what you've already read and your current level of play.

In general what you wrote is thinking along the right lines. Play the hand out in your head, visualize possible holdings. Duck if you can see how it will help you, cutting communications, or maybe rectifying the count for a squeeze. Don't duck if it's not going to help you and it allows you to score another trick, you will have enough winners to make that loser disappear (or you fear switch even more).

The other common scenario to duck is when you have a suit to establish missing ace and king, you have to hope they are split (or that the hand with the 2 cds in the initial 5-2 suit has both).



Cool. Thanks. I think that I've got it all now.
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