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All comments by Wesley Suzuki
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Tough fate on this hand, Timo. I would have arrived ar the heart continuation just as you did. I *like* to suppose that I would have ducked the second round of clubs — if only because I would not have analyzed as deeply as you, up to the variation when ducking again might cost the contract. Nice article, thank you.
Nov. 2, 2015
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The 2, 3 sequence shows a strong hand with long, strong s. Followed by a 4 raise, it shows at least three s in a distributional hand with lots of controls. Surely partner would appreciate having this information to determine the next move for the partnership.
Nov. 2, 2015
Wesley Suzuki edited this comment Nov. 2, 2015
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The 1 response is clear cut for me.
Nov. 1, 2015
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If declarer has seven Spades then ducking the Ace leaves him a trick short no matter which minor suit singleton he has.
June 17, 2015
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In 6 - S on a heart lead, how about A-K, then ruff two Clubs?
June 16, 2015
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In the position annotated “At this juncture…” it seems that East can win the first round of Clubs and continue with another Diamond. If declarer ruffs, draws trump and plays a second Club, East wins and plays K. If declarer ducks K, East can cash the long Diamond and good Club. I think this defense will not succeed if trumps are 2-2.
June 16, 2015
Wesley Suzuki edited this comment June 16, 2015
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The USBF 2015 Team Trials that concluded yesterday seemed to have two dozen or so contracts of that class, not all of which were doubled.
May 18, 2015
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Starting with what East sees at Trick One: In addition to two+ trump tricks, his partner has either A or K. If partner has A the partnership can score some heart tricks before leading diamonds through declarer. Leading the 3 works if partner has A (partner's heart return will be present count) but it doesn't work if partner's outside honor is K.

East's choice of K, then continuing 3, after winning K is safe, in theory, because winning with A at Trick One, then playing K and x would suggest interest in a heart ruff; so playing the diamond honors the other way around denies it. Since partner will then know that East has a third heart, probably the Q, partner will decide how many hearts to cash before East or West continues leading diamonds.

However, East's decision to lead hearts this way probably has nothing to do with allowing for the possibility that West might have A-x-x-x; after all, West did not make a Negative Double. Rather, playing K, then 3 caters to partner's holding A-x doubleton, a more likely layout than A-x-x-x.


Now let's swing around to West's vantage point after he wins A. West's choice is between returning a heart and switching to diamonds. Suppose East has K-x doubleton. If East has K (declarer has A-Q-x-x-x-x, Q-x-x, J-x, Q-x) it doesn't matter; either a heart or diamond return leads to +500. If declarer has K the diamond return costs one undertrick — 4 IMP — but guarantees +300. Does partner's winning K deny interest in a heart ruff? Would East elect to break hearts from x, K-x, A-K-x-x-x-x, Q/K-x-x-x after West's failure to make a Negative Double?

Summary: East won K then defended K and 3 mostly to avoid crashing partner's doubleton Ace. Winning K rather than A suggests lack of interest in a heart ruff. With K-x doubleton, East is unlikely to lead hearts at all given this auction. Even if East has K-x doubleton, the diamond return for +300 would be at worst a 4 IMP loss of opportunity on a part-score hand. In the case where partner had x, K-x, A-K-x-x-x-x, K-x-x-x, and the other East-West pair might possibly reach 3NT, either a heart return or a diamond return would be down 3, +500 — a heart return is unnecessary.

It's hard to find anything East should do differently, short of starting with three rounds of diamonds. West's defense could have been more accurate. In this situation, East is justified in going with the odds and playing partner for fewer than four hearts. West, who knows he has four hearts, the exceptional layout, should be the one protecting the partnership by assuming that East is defending as if West has fewer than four hearts.

Assigning “blame”, if we call it that, is less clear. To take an extreme example, suppose West were a client and East were a pro. Then East would be mostly at fault for not playing three rounds of diamonds. In the reverse case, if East were a client and West were a pro then West should usually take the +300 but could not be criticized for reading the client as having led the K from K-x doubleton. Suppose West and East were excellent players but had not played together often. How confident would either be of the the partnership's defensive cooperation? It was a Swiss event. Perhaps going for the extra 4 IMP was justified at this stage of the event. Were the North-South teammates relatively weak? Might they allow 3NT to be made when South, not East, had King? How strong was the opposing team anyway?

It is a partnership game; at the table, East should immediately apologize to West for not playing three rounds of diamonds. East should be willing to crash and burn with West. After all, they will shortly have to compare with their teammates.
April 6, 2015
Wesley Suzuki edited this comment April 7, 2015
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