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Suit combination

This suit combination came up in a slam recently:

1087  in dummy

AQxxx in hand

 

You are in 6NT and the only hope for the contract is to play this suit for 4 tricks.

The opponents know you have (at least) 5 clubs in hand.

Your 3 x's do not include the 9

After thinking about the hand, and then analysing it using one of the many utilities available, we were astonished to discover what a huge difference the 6 and 5 make to the right line:

 

- If your 3 x's do not include the 6, you are 50.3% to make 4 tricks 

- Adding the 6 gets you up to 58.78% 

- Having both the 6 and 5 changes the odds to 60.37% and changes the best line

So the lowly 5 in an 8-card fit makes over 1.5% difference to your chances, while both the 6 and 5 are worth more than 10% together

 

I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out the best line...

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