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A hand of many stories - Analysis
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Over the following pages are my thoughts on the hand posted here:

https://bridgewinners.com/article/view/a-hand-of-many-stories-problem/

Sorry if this article is somewhat long but this hand has a lot of interest points for me at least.

I didn't play this hand. It came up in the YC half marathon in 2017 (https://app.pianola.net/Results/Session148796/Travellers/25). The YC runs various interesting events like this throughout the year, which I would recommend to anyone.

 

 

Disclaimer: All my thoughts and analysis could easily be wrong. Similarly, they are based on the inferences below which I believe to be very reasonable but again could be wrong:

  • are 4-0
  • are 5-4
  • West doesn’t have 5

Should we take the spade finesse?

This was the most common answer to the problem after I posted it. My belief is that we shouldn’t take the spade finesse for the simple reason that we need this entry to dummy. If the spade finesse loses we risk losing this crucial entry to dummy.

Imagine the spade finesse is onside and the position is something like as follows:

West
K10752
J74
AJ1093
North
AQ93
Q1096
Q843
5
East
J864
853
KJ92
84
South
AK2
A10765
KQ762
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
3
4
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
1
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
A
4
2
1
1
0
3
2
5
5
3
2
0
Q
A
5
4
0
2
1
3

What does West do here?

If West don’t force South spades they are in a very good position to make the contract via a squeeze or guess etc.

If West plays the K, South now has the tricks and control they need to score 1, 1 ruff, 3, 2 and 4.

If West plays a low spade it is almost a 0% risk for South to insert the Q off dummy (more details on the following play is covered in the following pages).

For this reason I believe the spade finesse to be inferior to the A. From here on out in my analysis I will assume the spade finesse is offside and West has 5305 or 5404 with the A.

5305: "An odd Mortons"

Win A, deep finesse and play the Q. West plays another spade (best defence) we ruff, ruff a club, small diamond covering Easts card and 3 rounds of hearts. We are left on dummy with:

West
J8752
J74
AJ1093
North
AQ93
Q1096
Q843
5
East
K1064
853
KJ92
84
South
AK2
A10765
KQ762
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
3
4
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
1
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
A
4
2
1
1
0
3
2
5
5
3
2
0
Q
A
5
4
0
2
1
7
Q
K
6
3
3
1
6
9
4
8
1
4
1
8
J
A
3
3
5
1
A
4
6
3
3
6
1
K
7
9
5
3
7
1
2
J
Q
8
1
8
1
10
10

East is trapped with an odd Mortons fork when we play the 4th . Ruff and we now have trump control. Don’t ruff and we have a crossruff.

5404: A "delayed trump coup"

Unfortunately, our line on the previous page will not work as East can ruff the 3rd heart low. Are we now helpless?

No, but it requires a great amount of foresight! Throw the A under the A.

Now as before: Deep diamond finesse, Q to their Ace, ruff the spade, ruff club and diamond covering Easts card. Now the K. and we are at this point:

West
J8752
J743
AJ104
North
AQ93
Q1096
Q843
5
East
K1064
85
KJ92
983
South
AK2
A10765
KQ762
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
3
4
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
1
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
A
4
A
1
1
0
3
2
5
5
3
2
0
Q
A
5
3
0
2
1
7
Q
K
6
3
3
1
2
4
4
8
1
4
1
8
J
A
8
3
5
1
K
10
6
9
3
6
1
7

At first glance it looks like we can play 2 rounds of , and ruff a club to set our last club up. However, East can thwart this plan by refusing to over-ruff the Q. Now we are endplayed into giving them 2 tricks.

Can we thwart this?

Take the (hopefully marked) heart finesse now and hope it wins. When it does cross back to the K, club ruff (East correctly refusing to overruff) and the Q. East as before is caught between the rock and the hard place in a delayed trump coup. The position looks like this:

West
J8752
J743
AJ104
North
AQ93
Q1096
Q843
5
East
K1064
85
KJ92
983
South
AK2
A10765
KQ762
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
3
4
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
1
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
A
4
A
1
1
0
3
2
5
5
3
2
0
Q
A
5
3
0
2
1
7
Q
K
6
3
3
1
2
4
4
8
1
4
1
8
J
A
8
3
5
1
K
10
6
9
3
6
1
2
3
9
5
1
7
1
10
8
K
4
3
8
1
6
J
Q
6
1
9
1
Q
11

Can we combine these two lines:

What happens if throw the A when are 3-3. In theory we can get to this position:

West
J8752
J74
AJ1093
North
AQ93
Q1096
Q843
5
East
K1064
853
KJ92
84
South
AK2
A10765
KQ762
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
3
4
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
1
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
A
4
A
1
1
0
3
2
5
5
3
2
0
Q
A
5
4
0
2
1
7
Q
K
6
3
3
1
2
3
4
8
1
4
1
8
J
A
8
3
5
1
K
4
7

Now if we cash the K first and then finesse the we can keep leading until RHO succumbs.

So it seems like the A discard is the genius solution. Can the defence do anything against this?

A thrilling counter:

If RHO is a double dummy machine and sees this line of play early they can thwart it by inserting the J at T2!

This deprives South the entry back to hand after ruffing a club as can be seen in this diagram:

West
J8752
J74
AJ1093
North
AQ93
Q1096
Q843
5
East
K1064
853
KJ92
84
South
AK2
A10765
KQ762
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
3
4
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
1
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
A
4
A
1
1
0
3
J
A
5
3
2
0
Q
A
5
4
0
2
1
7
Q
K
5
3
3
1
2
3
4
8
1
4
1
8
K
6
8
2
4
2
6
7
J
3
3
5
2
K
4
6
3
3
6
2
2
7
9
5
1
7
2
Q
8
6
J
1
8
2
10
2
11

Can they do that if we had chucked a club?

 

No! as we now have the tricks to endplay them. However, to do this we need to guess where the K is. Assuming it is offside:

West
J8752
J74
AJ1093
North
AQ93
Q1096
Q843
5
East
K1064
853
KJ92
84
South
AK2
A10765
KQ762
W
N
E
S
P
1
1
X
3
4
P
5
X
P
P
P
D
1
5X South
NS: 0 EW: 0
2
A
4
2
1
1
0
3
J
A
5
3
2
0
Q
A
5
4
0
2
1
7
3
6
5
3
3
1
6
3
4
8
1
4
1
8
K
6
8
2
4
2
6

East is endplayed into giving us the trick.

In summary:

What is the right line?

  • Spade finesse at T1. Goes down whenever the K is offside and is probably technically inferior but is very pragmatic in real life.
  • Go for 3-3 and the Mortons Fork. This also works whenever the K was onside regardless of 4-2 or 3-3.
  • Throw the A like a hero and play to read the heart (and potentially club) position later.

 

 

I am not entirely certain (have my own views/preferences) and will leave the reader to select their poison. I am sure someone in the comments below will have an answer which convinces me. If it is of any consequence, in real life West was JTxxx, Jxx, -, AJTxx. T

What I do know is that this initially innocuous looking hand has some interesting stories to tell.

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