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This was a deal from a local club game.When I noticed that DF said NS can make 2♠ I was curious.It took me a while to verify the claim, so I thought I'd share this problem.It's not a terribly complicated double-dummy problem,but as always even a simple double-dummy is hard to visualize given just two hands.

Trumps have to be 3-2 to have any chance.So it looks like they can pull dummy's trumps if you play two rounds of ♣.

What if the ♣ lay-out was such that the second ♣ must be won by the defender who's out of trumps?

Let's assume LHO is the one with three trumps. We can extend it later to the case when LHO has two trumps.

Let's say we played a low ♣ toward the 8.If it loses to the 9 on your right and they return a trump.You have to assume that RHO has HH9.You play a second ♣, any ♣.RHO wins but doesn't have a trump left.Best he can do is return a ♥ if he's not looking at the Ace himself.But when you play the ♥K LHO must duck.So you get your ♣ ruff after all!

What if ♣8 loses to an honor on your right and a trump came back? Now you have to make sure that RHO must win the second ♣, which means he must have HHx. But if you play a low ♣, LHO can jump in with the Nine and play back a trump. But when you play the ♣J/♣T from hand, LHO can't play his honor as that'll result in material loss. So he must let RHO win and you get to ruff a ♣ again.

If LHO had H9xx, why couldn't he win the first ♣ with the Nine and play back a trump? Because then he couldn't win the second ♣ to play back the third trump. When defenders are trying to pull trumps, you have let the one with short trumps win the earlier rounds so they can win and play trumps.

So the lay-outs that work are ♣Hxxx opp ♣HH9 or ♣H9xx opp ♣HHx.

LHO had JTx Ax Txxx A9xx, RHO 9x xxx KQxxx KQx.

Granted it's a very specific lay-out, so some people argue that they'd rather play for a defensive error. If you play the ♥K at T2 and the Ace happens to be on your right there's no chance of defense making a mistake as he gets count in the suit. And thereafter your chances are practically non-existent. LHO might however put up the Ace, although looking at dummy's suit he might decide not to, which is what happened at our table. Eventually defense went wrong because they believed that declarer MUST have six ♠! If you had bid correctly and reached 3♠ your chances of defensive error would be even more remote.

But regardless of what you do at the table, why not try to construct a lay-out that gives you a legitimate play in an offline setting? If you can't visualize this lay-out here what chance do you have of doing so at the table?

Congratulations to Jim Munday who found the right line, as he usually does. And also to Richard Pavlicek whose comments later indicated that he was thinking on similar lines as well.

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”If East wins, they are now major-tight and the count is rectified to squeeze them.“

In that five-card ending East is 2-3-0-0, declarer is 0-3-1-1, West is 1-2-0-2 and dummy is 2-3-0-0 right? If East returns a ♠, you win in dummy discarding a ♥ from hand, get back to hand with a ♥ to play a trump. But isn’t East guarding majors over dummy?

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I don’t understand the obsession with the bidding. Just assume that opponents have their bids. Try to envision a lay-out that lets you to take eight tricks against double dummy defense.

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Let's say you did sneak past LHO's ♥ Ace and play a ♣ from dummy. Can't RHO fly with an honor and play back a trump? Upon winning if you now play a low ♣, LHO can win with the Nine and play the third trump. If you expend a 10-value card, RHO can win, put his partner in with the ♥A and drive out dummy's last trump.

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If partner had two or three small ♥s he might have led that suit instead of a ♠ from Q empty 4th. So I’m leading a low ♥ back and hope to get our 4 tricks when he gets his ♠Q.

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It’s an interesting lead problem as well. Partner’s hand was xx Qxxx 9xxxx Tx. My partner loves to lead passive unless there’s a compelling reason not to. ♣ lead didn’t give away anything here. But it could easily lost tempo on a hand where you hand to establish tricks in either red suit before your stoppers in black suit(s) were knocked out. I might have led a ♥ and there’d be not much of a story.

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I can’t imagine NOT alerting 2♦ when it’s so far removed from mainstream.Years ago I played 2Nt over 1M as natural and forcing. I had no idea whether it was alertable or not. But partner and I always said “courtesy alert. It’s not Jacoby, just natural GF”.

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Looking at dummy’s ♥Kx covering the ♠T is the right play assuming that declarer typically has only a 5-bagger on this auction. If declarer needs to ruff a ♥ there’s some chance you’ll make a trump trick by covering.

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Partner led the ♣T from T8 doubleton. I had the ♦A and ♠KJ7 in the slot. As Mike Ma pointed out, playing the Jack is a free false card. May be it was the tempo that convinced declarer that it was an honest card. BTW, he was a Pro whose team reached the finals. He called for the ♣A almost as the lead hit the table and probably wasn’t prepared when he saw the Jack. He opted for the safety play and made only 11 tricks.

Murphy’s Law of course. Teammates inexplicably played in 3NT making 6! So all I needed to win the board was not to duck the ♦A.

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Didn’t notice the blockage in ♣ spots. Fixed it now. You play the 7 from hand. If you play a Diamond from dummy your RHO plays the Ace as LHO follows with the 2. Opponents carding is UDCA. RHO returns the ♦J.

Sathya Bettadapura

Trumps have to be 3-2 to have any chance.So it looks like they can pull dummy's trumps if you play two rounds of ♣.

What if the ♣ lay-out was such that the second ♣ must be won by the defender who's out of trumps?

Let's assume LHO is the one with three trumps. We can extend it later to the case when LHO has two trumps.

Let's say we played a low ♣ toward the 8.If it loses to the 9 on your right and they return a trump.You have to assume that RHO has HH9.You play a second ♣, any ♣.RHO wins but doesn't have a trump left.Best he can do is return a ♥ if he's not looking at the Ace himself.But when you play the ♥K LHO must duck.So you get your ♣ ruff after all!

What if ♣8 loses to an honor on your right and a trump came back? Now you have to make sure that RHO must win the second ♣, which means he must have HHx. But if you play a low ♣, LHO can jump in with the Nine and play back a trump. But when you play the ♣J/♣T from hand, LHO can't play his honor as that'll result in material loss. So he must let RHO win and you get to ruff a ♣ again.

If LHO had H9xx, why couldn't he win the first ♣ with the Nine and play back a trump? Because then he couldn't win the second ♣ to play back the third trump. When defenders are trying to pull trumps, you have let the one with short trumps win the earlier rounds so they can win and play trumps.

So the lay-outs that work are ♣Hxxx opp ♣HH9 or ♣H9xx opp ♣HHx.

LHO had JTx Ax Txxx A9xx, RHO 9x xxx KQxxx KQx.

Granted it's a very specific lay-out, so some people argue that they'd rather play for a defensive error. If you play the ♥K at T2 and the Ace happens to be on your right there's no chance of defense making a mistake as he gets count in the suit. And thereafter your chances are practically non-existent. LHO might however put up the Ace, although looking at dummy's suit he might decide not to, which is what happened at our table. Eventually defense went wrong because they believed that declarer MUST have six ♠! If you had bid correctly and reached 3♠ your chances of defensive error would be even more remote.

But regardless of what you do at the table, why not try to construct a lay-out that gives you a legitimate play in an offline setting? If you can't visualize this lay-out here what chance do you have of doing so at the table?

Congratulations to Jim Munday who found the right line, as he usually does. And also to Richard Pavlicek whose comments later indicated that he was thinking on similar lines as well.

Sathya Bettadapura

In that five-card ending East is 2-3-0-0, declarer is 0-3-1-1, West is 1-2-0-2 and dummy is 2-3-0-0 right? If East returns a ♠, you win in dummy discarding a ♥ from hand, get back to hand with a ♥ to play a trump. But isn’t East guarding majors over dummy?

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Murphy’s Law of course. Teammates inexplicably played in 3NT making 6! So all I needed to win the board was not to duck the ♦A.

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

Sathya Bettadapura

If you play a Diamond from dummy your RHO plays the Ace as LHO follows with the 2. Opponents carding is UDCA. RHO returns the ♦J.

Sathya Bettadapura