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Best percentage line? Complex problem

#1 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-December-04, 12:21

This fascinating deal came up at a Robot IMPs session.



West leads the 8 on which East plays the J. If you duck this trick, East continues with K {and West will follow to this trick with the 3}

I think this is the first crucial point where a decision has to be made. What is the best line of play to deliver the contract?
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#2 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-December-04, 13:46

I can't see anything other than A / Q. Crossing in diamonds to take a finesse doesn't seem a good plan, since if West ducks then we're committed to repeating it and hoping for Kx/Kxx onside.

If West has Kxxx, we still have chances if they have a spade honor - there are various endplay possibilities.
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#3 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-December-04, 15:03

The other alternative line (and I really thought it is a good one) is to play for 5 hearts, two diamonds and two black suit aces. In other words, sacrifice the Q and play instead for a winning heart finesse. If the finesse fails, don't we still have other endplay possibilities?
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#4 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-December-04, 16:28

View Postshyams, on 2020-December-04, 15:03, said:

The other alternative line (and I really thought it is a good one) is to play for 5 hearts, two diamonds and two black suit aces. In other words, sacrifice the Q and play instead for a winning heart finesse. If the finesse fails, don't we still have other endplay possibilities?

Not if West ducks the first heart trick as mentioned above. Now if you cross to dummy to finesse again, you've opened up the diamond suit to the defense, so you lose immediately when the finesse is off.

And the finesse is more likely to be off than on given the club split.
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#5 User is offline   awm 

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Posted 2020-December-04, 16:29

I like three rounds of diamonds (pitching a club) and a heart to the queen. If this wins, cash ace. This picks up Kx onside in addition to king offside and seems better than just hearts from the top.

Another alternative is diamond to king heart to queen hoping LHO will not find a duck (indeed ducking could be awful with a holding like KTx if partner has the jack). If queen wins I can overtake a diamond and finesse again (note that the hand falls apart now if the heart WAS ducked) or I can fall back on spade king inside of the heart is off.
Adam W. Meyerson
a.k.a. Appeal Without Merit
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#6 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-December-04, 16:45

View Postawm, on 2020-December-04, 16:29, said:

I like three rounds of diamonds (pitching a club) and a heart to the queen. If this wins, cash ace. This picks up Kx onside in addition to king offside and seems better than just hearts from the top.

Oh yes, that does look better. I always forget about the option of running the whole side suit like that even when we don't have the whole length.
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#7 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-December-04, 18:31

View Postawm, on 2020-December-04, 16:29, said:

I like three rounds of diamonds (pitching a club) and a heart to the queen. If this wins, cash ace. This picks up Kx onside in addition to king offside and seems better than just hearts from the top.

Very nice. I must admit that this line never featured in my analysis when I was playing the deal.


View Postawm, on 2020-December-04, 16:29, said:

Another alternative is diamond to king heart to queen hoping LHO will not find a duck (indeed ducking could be awful with a holding like KTx if partner has the jack). If queen wins I can overtake a diamond and finesse again (note that the hand falls apart now if the heart WAS ducked) or I can fall back on spade king inside of the heart is off.

I did consider this line; I actually did play the Q on the first finesse although I hadn't factored in the risk of West ducking.

I was unable to decide among:
a. Declarer playing hearts from the top (i.e. play West alone to have K)
b. Playing awm's above line
c. Abandoning a diamond winner in dummy and finessing hearts once (i.e. Q, then K, then finesse, then A, then A and low to Q)
I kept confusing myself on the so-called best option and eventually chose (probably) the worst.

It must be apparent that I was fixating on East holding the King of Hearts while not giving enough weight to other possibilities.
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#8 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2020-December-05, 07:52

View Postawm, on 2020-December-04, 16:29, said:

I like three rounds of diamonds (pitching a club) and a heart to the queen. If this wins, cash ace. This picks up Kx onside in addition to king offside and seems better than just hearts from the top.

Another alternative is diamond to king heart to queen hoping LHO will not find a duck (indeed ducking could be awful with a holding like KTx if partner has the jack). If queen wins I can overtake a diamond and finesse again (note that the hand falls apart now if the heart WAS ducked) or I can fall back on spade king inside of the heart is off.

I like your second line. The last Robot West to duck a queen when it had the king was taken away for repairs.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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#9 User is online   smerriman 

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Posted 2020-December-05, 21:22

View Postlamford, on 2020-December-05, 07:52, said:

I like your second line. The last Robot West to duck a queen when it had the king was taken away for repairs.

They duck first round finesses regularly.
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#10 User is offline   cherdano 

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Posted 2021-January-01, 07:21

View Postsmerriman, on 2020-December-05, 21:22, said:

They duck first round finesses regularly.

Sitting behind declarer? Highly doubt it would happen here - here GIB doesn't know whether we have AQxx.
The easiest way to count losers is to line up the people who talk about loser count, and count them. -Kieran Dyke
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#11 User is online   lamford 

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Posted 2021-January-04, 10:28

View Postshyams, on 2020-December-04, 12:21, said:

I think this is the first crucial point where a decision has to be made. What is the best line of play to deliver the contract?

On reflection, I win the second club, cash three diamonds, pitching a spade, and play a heart to the jack. If West has Kxx or either opponent has Kx in hearts I am home. I give up on Kxx of hearts with East, but we cannot have everything.
I prefer to give the lawmakers credit for stating things for a reason - barmar
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