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Your Lead Reading the tea leaves

#1 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-August-03, 15:16

Your lead and why?



Spoiler

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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2022-August-03, 21:52

Partner rates to be nearly and perhaps completely broke. We have three top tricks but limited options for a fourth.

My approach is to try a process of elimination, although obviously that requires inferences that may be invalid.

Spade: I don’t think there’s any realistic chance of partner holding the king, so the ace can’t gain and may cost a trick on some layouts where partner has the Jack (or especially J10)

Trump: won’t cost in the suit but surrenders tempo….but unless we can conjure up a scenario where tempo matters, it may be least bad

Club: no way. We’re rarely, if ever, generating a slow trick (say dummy has the King and partner the queen….I can’t imagine clubs being Kxx opposite xxx) and may blow a trick/tempo. Picture Kxx in dummy and Qx in hand…say Kx Kxxx Kxxx Kxx opposite QJ10x AQJx xxx Qx….I’m not sure I’d bid 4H with that club holding, but you get the idea

Diamonds…on the surface the least attractive because it’s dummy’s first suit. In addition, declarer may have been encouraged by holding the diamond King, thinking that such a card in partner’s suit warrants bidding game

But…if partner has any Jack, the diamond would be a nice one to hold, provided that declarer has 3+ diamonds.

And one other possibility: declarer will probably infer that I hold the black aces. What if I play like someone with Ax in diamonds?

Say dummy is something like Kx Jxxx KJxx KQx and declarer QJ10x AKQxx xxx x

How would/should one play after this auction and the defence of Ace and a diamond?

Well, one might well wonder why the defenders played this way, but many declarers would pop the King, knowing that LHO has all the aces. Plus going down 2 off the first five tricks is horribly embarrassing, to the point that many declarers will refuse to take that risk.

This tactic of playing A from AQx with the king on the left is one I’ve used a few times…and seen used against me as well. It’s not always a winner

Basically, for me, it’s a guess as to the location of that diamond king. If declarer has it, I may well be giving the contract but if it’s in dummy I can’t imagine beating this without that lead.

At imps, a beat is the goal. However, the decision is much the same at mps because it’s vanishingly unlikely that even the diamond ace lead gives an overtrick.

Hence I’d like to think I’d lead the diamond Ace.

Now to sneak a look at the spoiler. If it reveals the whole hand, I may delete/edit thus answer😀
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#3 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-August-03, 22:06

I would lead a low heart and hope that declarer has to lose another trick other than the 3 aces I have. It seems highly unlikely that partner has a king due to me having 15 HCP, and leading an ace is just beating air.

A low spade is a possibility that could work if dummy has the king and partner the queen. A friend told me about a hand where his partner underlead an ace against slam and found exactly that combination. Unfortunately my friend ducked with the queen :(
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#4 User is offline   Douglas43 

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Posted 2022-August-04, 02:17

Thanks to mikeh for another really interesting and thoughtful analysis. I wouldn't have thought of the diamond ace, nice idea though. I was a trump leader too.
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#5 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2022-August-04, 09:25

Now we all know why Mike has played in the Bermuda Bowl - and why I have not. I, too, led a heart, although immediately afterwards (of course) I saw the thinking I should have had to make a more informed lead. As Mike said, partner rates to hold no more than one jack, and the only one that would matter is the diamond jack when the diamonds are 4333 around or 4243 around. If there are pitches available, it is imperative to establish two diamond tricks prior to that establishment.

Nice work, MikeH! I'm glad I don't have to play the likes of you any longer. I'm retired.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter. / "I need ammunition, not a ride." Zelensky
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#6 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-August-04, 10:33

I think Mike has said it all, another interesting lead problem would be if E ended the auction with 3. Now there's room for pd to have a little more and you need another trick.
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