Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Good defenders can help you place the cards

All non-vulnerable, in a robot tournament, my partner (North) opens 2H and this gets passed out:

Do you agree with my pass?  The 2H at equal vulnerability ostensibly promises to go down 3. I can see that I cover 3 of partner's losers, so I should probably bid 4H.

East leads the 10 of diamonds. I cover and West plays the Ace of diamonds and returns a spade.  East cashes the AQ of spades and returns a diamond to the 9, queen and king.  At that point, I lead the Queen of hearts and East covers.  These are the cards that have gone so far:

Now what?  I lead the 8 of hearts.  West plays low.  Finesse or not?  Think about it before reading further.

East and West are good defenders, so it is worthwhile to consider their play to the hearts. With 3 hearts to the King, East would never cover. (well, perhaps if he had KTx, he would cover because it makes no difference).  Ergo, East started with 1 or 2 hearts. If East had King singleton, West will always get a trick. So, the only case to consider is that East started 2 hearts.

If that is the case, West now has 2 hearts and East now has one.  The odds are 2:1 that West has the 10 of hearts. Take the finesse.

At the table, I didn't bid 4H, and I didn't take 10 tricks. The full hand is here (click Next to see the play).

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