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Common Game 2019-01-21 Board 1
West
872
K95
K93
J1083
North
953
108
AQJ52
975
East
KQ
A742
10876
K42
South
AJ1064
QJ63
4
AQ6
D
1
West
North
East
South
P
1
1
P
2
P
2NT
P
3
P
3
P
P
P

Analysis by David Loeb

Lynn Berg typically provides analysis for 299ers on boards 1-18. Additionally, analysis for more advanced players is available for boards 1, 3, 5, 7, and 13.

The Bidding: After East opens 1, South has a choice between overcalling 1 and doubling for takeout. South has strength to do both. So South begins with a 1 overcall to show their 5-card spade suit. West has nothing to say. North advances to 2. South, with 17 Support Points and a Losing Trick Count of 6, uses the partnership's method to make a Game Try . As discussed in Steve Robinson's "Game Tries" article, many experts prefer games tries which ask where help is available rather than disclosing information about their hand. With that agreement, South bids an artificial 2NT to ask if and where North would accept a Game Try. North's 3 bid says they would decline a help suit game try in clubs, but accept a Game Try in diamonds. South knows the hands are not fitting well together and signs off in 3.

The Play: West is likely to lead the Jack, top of an honor sequence. East encourages. Declarer wins their Queen. Declarer has a club loser, 2 quick heart losers, and at least 1 spade loser. Additionally, there is risk of a defensive ruff and the potenital for a 3rd heart loser. Declarer would like to double finesse against the King and Queen, but lacks the entries to do so. Finessing against the King risks losing a diamond trick and leaving the Ace stranded on dummy.

With just 1 entry to dummy, leading a low spade from dummy picks up spades for 1 loser when East has a singleton honor or honor doubleton, or West has KQ tight, a 43% chance. Finessing against West for the 9 on the first round of hearts offers a 51% chance of developing 2 heart winners. The potential of ruffing a heart in the shorthand increases declarer's chance of limiting heart losers to 2. That is somewhat offset by the prospect of a defensive ruff. Declarer combines chances by attacking hearts before attempting to draw trump. With the 9 onside, declarer has 2 natural heart winners. With spades cooperating, declarer has 9 tricks. A declarer who could see through the backs of the cards would know to take the diamond finesse to discard their club loser and score 10 tricks.

Analysis by Lynn Berg

East opens 1. Will South double or bid 1? Either might be chosen. If it's the latter, West passes, though he might respond a blocking 1NT over a double. North would be glad to pass 1NT, since his only decent suit is diamonds. I prefer 1, planning to show hearts later if partner doesn't raise spades. But this time she will raise. Get to game? Only if optimistic! But a lot of bridge players are...

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