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Gargoyle Chronicles - Event 3, Match 9, Board 6
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gargoyle

Board 6
Opponents vulnerable


Phillip
7
Q1072
A109853
A4
I open 1 in second seat. Partner bids 1; I rebid 2. Partner raises to 3 and buys it. The opponents must have about half the deck. Strange that they didn't put up much of a fight. LHO leads the Q.

 

 

 


Jack
Q852
AJ
Q76
10932
Phillip
7
Q1072
A109853
A4
W
N
E
S
P
1
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
P
P

To make this, I need either to avoid two trump losers or to avoid a heart loser. In general, when missing the king and jack (and with the ace and queen in opposite hands), the best play for one loser is ace and another with a nine-card fit and a double finesse (lead the queen, then finesse the ten if it loses) with an eight-card fit. If we ignore the bidding, this rule gives the correct answer here: Ace and another loses to KJx on my right; the double finesse loses to KJx on my left. Those holdings cancel out. Either play loses to a void on my right. The two holdings that make a difference are a void on my left (where the double finesse is the winner) and KJ doubleton on my left (where ace and another is the winner). Since KJ doubleton is more likely than a void, ace and another is the better play in isolation.

If we take the bidding into account, the KJx's in opposite hands do not cancel out. West's pass over 1 makes KJx on my left more likely than KJx on my right. Fortunately, this makes ace and another even more attractive. If it made ace and another less attractive (for example, if the ace and queen were switched), then it would be harder to decide what to do, since the considerations from the auction would be difficult to quantify.

East plays the 6. Assuming he is encouraging, he should have either K6 doubleton or K65. With four or more clubs, he would have a higher spot to play.

I see no reason to win the first trick. If I duck, maybe West will switch to a diamond to stop heart ruffs and solve my problem in that suit. So I let West's Q hold the trick. West shifts to the A; East plays the 4. Why is West shifting to spades? There doesn't appear to be any hurry to cash spade tricks. He might have Ax and be aiming for an overruff. But if East has KJxxx, why is he discouraging?

Whatever West was up to, he changes his mind. He shifts back to clubs, playing the 5 to East's K and my A.

I'm not too worried that anyone has a singleton heart. So I might as well take a heart finesse now. If the jack holds, I can cash the A, play a diamond to my ace, and take a ruffing finesse in hearts, conceivably making the contract even if I have two trump losers. I play the 7--8--J--K.

East shifts to the 10. The ten? West shifted to the A holding AK? Well, that explains the shift. He probably has AKxx and was hoping to give his partner a ruff. It's interesting that Jack is unable to alter his lead agreements according to context. He leads ace from AK on opening lead, so he does the same thing at trick two, unable to reason that the agreement makes no sense when dummy has the queen.

The attempt to give his partner a ruff is futile, of course, since I would never rebid 2 with three-card support for partner's major. And "never" is not an overbid.

Lowenthal and I once had this auction:

John Me
1 1
2 3 NT
4  


"I thought we never rebid 2 with three spades," I said as John began to table the dummy.

"Absolutely!" agreed John. "How would I know what to do over 3NT if I had three spades?" 

Then he laid down

John
Jxxx
x
AQJ10xxx
x
 


But I digress. I ruff East's spade with the 5; West follows with the 3. I cash the A--2---6--J. My only loser now is the K. Making three. 

Daniel
AKJ3
83
42
QJ875
Jack
Q852
AJ
Q76
10932
Marcin
10964
K9654
KJ
K6
Phillip
7
Q1072
A109853
A4
D
6

West's hand looks like a pretty normal 1 overcall to me. The spades are good enough for a four-card-suit overcall, and the side five-card club suit offers some total-trick protection. (Often a fifth card in a side suit is as good as an extra trump.) If West overcalls, partner will bid 1 NT, and East will cue-bid 2. I will bid 3 (which is strictly competitive after partner's 1 NT response). East, thinking his partner has five spades, will go on to 3. This turns out to be an excellent decision, since both 3 and 3 are making.

Our teammates, unfortunately, also sold to 3. The board is another push, the fourth of this match. 

Table 1: +110
Table 2: -110

Result on Board 6: 0 IMPs
Total: +8 IMPs

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