Two from a Club Game
Today's panelists: Fred Curtis, Barry Rigal, Mike Shuster,
Len Vishnevsky, Marshall Miles, David Weiss, Robb Gordon,
Jeff Aker, Kent Hartman, Web Ewell, David Caprera
All matchpoints, weak field, expert partner
- both vul, you hold
x QJ10987532 Qx x
LHO|| CHO|| RHO|| You|
2|| Pass||4|| 5|
Pass||Dbl|| All Pass|
Partner leads the A. Dummy hits with
AJxx x KJ AKQ109x. (Ouch.) What do you
play to trick one? Is there a general
rule which applies?
- I am a simple soul and play Q asking for a switch to ....though what
CHO will do with the A (cashing is important if I held a singleton) is
moot...my normal arrangement under these scenarios is McKenney as I cannot
see how it can be correct to continue the suit....I have played in a
partnership where we had convoluted agreements where 3rd seat has shown a
long suit and we attempted to indicate by extreme high card, extreme low
card or various middle cards the potential high card/ruff available...
N.B. this differs from other situations where it could be right to continue
the suit lead...
- Obvious shift is a diamond.
Discourage heart to ask for a diamond..... but if you want a club ruff you
play an alarm clock card here the QJ.
So to get partner to underlead in diamonds play the 9/8 upside down.
[Obvious shift is right side up... --Jeff]
- This is a more difficult problem that appears at first blush, as partner may
think I have a diamond void when I give suit preference with the Q (I
expect the K is about to fall), but that would probably leave me with too
many clubs. Would the 10 be more effective?
- Neither count nor attitude makes any sense here, so Q is
suit preference. If pard doesn't have A, nothing will matter,
and if he does he has to guess whether I have Q or a stiff, and
whether to try for a set (underlead or cash/ruff) or cash. At
MP, I wouldn't be surprised to see A next if he hadn't doubled.
At least it'll keep him from trying to give me a club ruff.
Q says shift to diamonds, to pard and to declarer, to help him
go wrong. A middle heart should say I don't want any shift, and
then pard will have to try for the ruff.
- A middlish heart. I think the queen or jack would persuade
partner to try for a diamond ruff instead of leading a low diamond.
- We probably won't beat this whatever I do. Partner's putative
spade trick will be crushed by dummy. The only chance I see is for
partner to underlead the diamond and have declarer misguess. The
difficulty is that CHO might hope I have a singleton diamond and
play for a legitimate set by playing ace and another.
If I had a singleton or void in diamonds, I would play my highest heart.
So I can't do that. If I wanted a club ruff, I would play my lowest heart.
So I can't do that. That leaves a middle-ish heart as the correct card. I
play the nine.
The problem is that declarer might think that I would play my
highest diamond with the ace. I guess I shouldn't do that, but he might
think I would. Unfortunately, I can't do any better than to hope CHO can
read my signal correctly.
- I play the Jack. The king might fall from declarer.
My rule is that the top card in a likely sequence is
never suit preference (although partner will likely read the queen here).
- I am an attitude signaller at trick one, which only covers
part of the issue here. Playing standard signals, a low heart
here suggests diamonds (I'll get back to the side issue in a moment)
and a high one denies any interest in diamonds. With a void in clubs
I would play the J (the Rev. E S Bulcon doesnt have this issue).
Next, how do you distinguish between a diamond honor and a diamond singleton?
You have to realize that declarer is entitled to know your agreements, so you
need to signal the same way with the Ace and the Queen, in case he needs to
guess. Thus, since I think that asking for diamonds would normally suggest an
honor, I would play the deuce of hearts with the actual hand, and a middle
heart with a singleton, hoping partner could work it out.
- I think the general rule here is suit preference. I play the heart queen.
Don't see how we're beating this unless partner has the diamond ace,
underleads it right now, and declarer misguesses. Ugh.
- I think the play at trick one is suit preference -
general rule is whenever we lead our suit and dummy
is short, signal suit preference. (That's convenient on
this hand, because if you signal odd I don't think
you'll convince partner you have a 9-bagger.)
I would play the heart queen. I think I want partner
to try to cash the diamond ace there's a slim chance
declarers diamonds could go away on the clubs before
partner could ruff in. (I hope partner has the diamond
ace and a trump trick, or we aren't getting a good
result...) I could play a middling heart if I wanted
partner to continue them I obviously have enough
hearts on the auction that I wouldn't need to play
an ambiguous spot card. I suppose I could play the
jack to indicate that I think diamonds is right but I'm
not sure, but I think that's too deep and may confuse
partner about the location of the queen.
- In my world, "honors show honors" so that the Q would deny the K and
show the J. Partner can tell that the key play here is either to
underlead the A or give you a club ruff. I would play the 10; that
should be high enough (conceivably the J could be from KJTxxxx).
Playing the 2 should get you a club. Playing the Q won't get you a
club but could possibly get partner cashing out to save the overberry.
- JEFF AT THE TABLE
- Q. Didn't work. Partner tried to
give me a diamond ruff.
- WINNING ACTION
- hard to say. Maybe none.
- JEFF UPON REFLECTION
- I think David Weiss' reasoning is
closest, with Marshall more or less on the same page.
If you take it one step further, I think their argument
is very compelling. That step is simply to sit in
partner's seat. What does he see? Pretty much all the
high cards in the deck. That means that you have a
boatload of hearts and were saving, not hoping to make
5. (Yes, he should have known that when you didn't
double 5, and yes, that means he ought not have doubled
it himself, but that's water under the bridge.) So how
does he think we are going to beat this? Since you have
a lot of hearts and probably exactly one spade (since
declarer has six most of the time), he figures the way
to beat it is to give you a ruff, and that's a pretty
likely case; you'd bid 5 with 1804 or 1840 or 1813 or
the like. He probably isn't thinking about nine or ten
hearts, but if you have that long a suit, your prospects
of a void club or stiff or void diamond are even better.
So from his perspective, your card should tell him which
suit you are ruffing. The principle here is, "make the
signal partner wants to see." This time, because you
can't ruff anything, you have to play a middle heart.
Partner has to look for an alternate defense, so his
only hope is a diamond underlead, your having the Q,
and declarer's misguessing.
What about fooling declarer? If you had the A, you'd
normally supply a high heart, so will declarer guess
right? Maybe. But if you had the A, you could also
play a nondescript heart and partner will shrug and
lead a diamond. Probably more compelling for declarer
is that partner doesn't have the vaguest semblance of
a double without the A. But in this game, we can
hope declarer doesn't work that out. If he does, we
are getting a zero no matter what.
Some play that the Q simply promises the jack and
denies the king. That's fine in normal situations,
but what's the point here? No one cares which heart
honors you have. It's all well and good to have a
firm rule about honor signals, and I agree that
high honors often just clarify the suit, but signals
have to be context-dependent. If the composition of
my suit is irrelevant to partner, my card doesn't
state it, just as if in an attitude situation, when
attitude is irrelevant to partner, my card isn't attitude.
In unclear situations, using your general rule is fine,
but sometimes we have to do more than that.
This suit is trumps. You are in 6 and have
ten tricks outside. Yeah, that means you should
be in 6NT, but that's too bad. How do you play
Line A: run the Jack. If it is covered,
finesse the 8. If it is ducked, finesse the 10.
Line B: low to the 10, then Ace.
Line B is best for max tricks, but Line A is
best to make 3 tricks. The holdings which matter:
3 tricks vs. 2 tricks
East holds Rate Favors
KQ9x 5.7% A
Hxx 6.8% A (H = king or queen)
KQx 6.8% B
H9x 13.6% A
Hx 13.6% B
2 tricks vs. 1 trick
East holds Rate Favors
H 5.7% B
x 5.7% B
So the bottom line is that it's best to play low
to the 10 for max tricks, but if you need to avoid
two losers and take three tricks, running the jack
picks up two more cases, KQ97 and KQ94 on the right.
KQ74 is picked up by low to the 10, too.
At the table, I ran the Jack and RHO had Qx, so taking
the percentage play cost me my slam. Rats.
Jeff Goldsmith, email@example.com, Oct 16, 2006