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Gargoyle Chronicles - Event 3, Match 9, Board 3
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gargoyle

Board 3
Opponents vulnerable

Phillip
J5
AJ964
KJ98
75

I pass, LHO passes, and partner opens 3. RHO bids 3.

We're probably beating this, possibly several tricks. But doubling would be premature. For all I know, the opponents aren't through bidding yet. In addition, they almost surely have a fit in spades, and a double might help them locate it. I pass. Everyone else does as well. I lead the 7.


Phillip
J5
AJ964
KJ98
75
Daniel
109764
72
A62
A103
W
N
E
S
P
P
3
3
P
P
P

Declarer plays the A from dummy. Partner plays the 9; declarer, the J. Declarer would probably duck with Jx, so I suspect the J was a singleton. I suppose declarer might have QJ. But we will have no trouble beating this if we have a club trick, so I might as well assume that's not the case.

Declarer plays the 2 from dummy--5--10--J. Declarer overcalled 3 with five hearts and a singleton club? Why didn't he make a takeout double? One possibility is that he is 2-5-5-1, although that means partner bid 3 with a four-card spade suit. Declarer might also be 3-5-4-1. Some would double with that pattern; others would bid 3. I'm not sure what school Marcin belongs to.

I have three natural trump tricks unless I get endplayed. If I tap declarer with a club, I will establish another trump trick. We need only one more trick to beat it, which we should be able to manage. I play the 5--10--Q--3.

Declarer plays the K. I play low, and partner follows with the 3. If partner is giving accurate count, he has only three spades, making declarer 3-5-4-1. I'm not quite sure why declarer is cashing the K. That seems to serve no purpose other than clarifying the layout for me.

Declarer plays the Q. If I win this, I have a minor tenace (96 behind declarer's K8). If I duck, Ihave a major tenace (A9 over his K8). Major tenaces are often tactically superior to minor tenaces. So, since I have nothing compelling to do with this entry, I might as well duck. Partner pitches the 2.

Declarer plays the 3--9--A--5, then the 6--Q--A--J. Declarer is 4-5-3-1 and chose to overcall rather than make a takeout double? That comes as a surprise. Though, in retrospect, perhaps it shouldn't. I thought at the time that cashing the K with AKx was strange. Somehow, I failed to reach the obvious conclusion that declarer didn't have AKx. Cashing the K with AKxx(so that he has the option of finessing on the next round if I drop an honor) makes more sense.

Declarer plays the 2. I ruff with the 6, and partner pitches the 4. If declarer has the Q, he's down one. I can cash the K, exit, and wait for my two heart tricks. If partner has the Q, we have the rest. Partner can play clubs through declarer, picking up his trumps.

I cash the K--2--7--4, then exit a diamond. Declarer wins it, so he is down only one.

Phillip
J5
AJ964
KJ98
75
Daniel
109764
72
A62
A103
Jack
Q3
5
1075
KQ98642
Marcin
AK82
KQ1083
Q43
J
D
3

Was my decision to duck the A correct? In this particular layout, it makes no difference. But it might in a different layout. Suppose, for example, that declarer is 3-5-4-1, as I thought at the time:
Phillip
J
A964
KJ98
Daniel
10976
7
A62
3
Jack
Q3
75
K8642
Marcin
A2
KQ8
Q1043
D
3

If I win and play the J, declarer ducks it. Now what? I've taken three tricks so far. Since I must give away a trick in a red suit, I might as well play the K to kill dummy's entry. Declarer wins with the A and plays a spade to his ace. I ruff (trick number four). Now I get endplayed twice. I must lead into the Q10 or into the Q8. Either way, I get tossed back in with a diamond and endplayed again. We wind up taking five tricks for down one.

What happens if I duck the Q? Declarer must either play a red suit himself or must play spades, giving partner an entry. Say he plays ace and a spade. Partner wins with the Q. That's two tricks for us. Partner plays a club. Declarer ruffs. I overruff and cash the trump ace drawing declarer's last trump. That's four tricks. I now exit with a low diamond to declarer's 10. Declarer plays a diamond to dummy's ace, and my hand is high. Down two. I get endplayed once instead of twice.

The reason ducking is superior is that I avoid having to break spades, thus depriving declarer of his avoidance play. I didn't see this at the time, but I didn't need to. As a general rule, when you have nothing useful to do, you are better off winning tricks late rather than early.

This looks like a pretty good result, since North-South are cold for a spade game and will presumably get there if South chooses to make a take-out double. We do pick up IMPs, but not as many as I had hoped. Somehow our opponents manage to reach 3, down three. I can't even imagine how their auction went.


Table 1: +100
Table 2: +150

Result on Board 3: 6 IMPs
Total: +8 IMPs

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