Poll #25, In 6C slam: consider finesse, preemptive bidding, second hand play, 01/10/2011

Playing in 6 Club slam Contract: consider finesse, second hand play, preemptive bidding


In today’s poll, dummy holds Ace-8-4 in North opposite declarer’s Queen-Jack-9 in South. It turns out that West holds the King-3-2 so the finesse is onside. So what is the correct line of play for South? And assuming the best line of play by the declarer, how should West play the King? Or best said, WHEN should West play the King? Does it matter for South; does it matter for West, or does anything matter at all with this holding? Inquiring minds must know – we are looking for you to give us answers. Good luck with your poll response.

Part 1 – video commentary of bidding with card animation.



A 8 4

♠ —
K 3 2

♣ —

N

W

E

S

♠ —
(4 Hearts)

♣ —


Q J 9

On today’s hands at the table, the bidding soon bolts skywards. While the opener and responder both showed full opening hands based on their initial bid, the opponents vigorously competed to 4 Spades on their first round of bidding. Unfazed, the responder pushed onward to a slam contract. But the bidding is only the icing on the cake – where will the declarer find 12 tricks? And like today’s poll, when should the defender cover an honor with an honor?

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Michael
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Comments

  1. richglass says:

    The only way that S will make 3 tricks is if W foolishly covers the first H with the K then S gets a free finesse on the 10

  2. Steve Klein says:

    The poll is a bit misleading, in that two answers are correct. The right play by South and West is listed as one of the choices, but it’s also true that South can never make three tricks (other than by laying down the ace and catching a singleton king) if West plays correctly.

    • BridgeHands says:
      Rich and Steve,
      Right and right! Well, we wouldn’t go so far as to say West was truly a foolish person – just someone who is still learning a lesson some of you have already mastered. Come to think about it, one of the main differences between an amateur and a professional is that the pro has already made all the mistakes that we still have to make ourselves. Then again, aspiring players who ultimately become professionals pay careful attention their mistakes, learn from them, and are careful not to continue making the same errors. In fact, if you ever get a chance, be sure to read teh book, “Deliberate Practice.”
      Regards, Michael
  3. BridgeHands says:
    And so as we tally up the results after the first day of the poll, here’s how the data reads:
    .
    33 percent – South play Queen, West cover second honor
    .
    30 percent – South can never make 3 tricks
    .
    Yes, correct, both are technically correct statments if the player in second seat is paying careful attention and knows their second hand play. Yet as declarer, I suspect your partner wouldn’t want you to make a claim and unnecessarily concede a trick. Well, I suppose if you are an opponent that would be okay (wink).
    .
    So our stream of conscientiousness should go like this:
    - It takes being a good declarer to be a good defender (know the declarer’s play strategies)
    - It takes being a good defender to be a good declarer (know how defenders might make a mistake)
    .
    One of the golden lessons of master Bridge players is to give as many choices and guesses to the opponents as possible. This is the mantra of all Bridge professionals – learn as much as possible about the opponents hand, share as little as possibly about your own hand (and protect partner’s hand as well).
    .
    Those who made this selection:
    13 percent – South play Queen, West cover first honor
    In your defense, yes this would work well when your RHO holds a Qx doubleton in the declaer’s closed hand, but not so well in this situation.
    .
    Those who begin with the Jack:
    13 percent – South play Jack, West cover second honor
    Okay, this is fine although psychologically in real life it’s been shown to be more effective to begin with the highest of touching honors to induce LHO to “cove and honor with an honor.” But if you should know that your LHO won’t fall for that trick, then I suppose starting with the Jack is great.
    .
    And finally, let me come up with a defense for the final response:
    13 percent – South play Queen, West cover third play
    Yes, if your main objective is to prevent RHO from reentering the South hand, your double holdback play is great. Most of us here were simply looking at the given suit, assuming we cannot see partner East’s cards (holding 10-fourth).
    .
    Okay, until our Wednesday Polling You session, have a great week playing Bridge,
    Michael
  4. be_ivars says:

    Assuming great defenders – there is no chance in making 3 tricks on example deal, but with such a distribution between N-S there is a ~5% chance of making 3 tricks.
    The correct line of play would be to lead the QH/JH.
    If west discards TH, South just finesses West for KH once again with any heart. (KT doubleton with west – 0.73% chance).
    If west discards small, you let the QH run. If East discards TH, KH should be with West (T single with east – .48% chance).
    But if the East shows a small heart, the next lead should be JH hoping for Tx doubleton with east – 3.63% chance.

    However, if on the QH West goes up with King, North should not finesse the TH as the singleton KH is almost twice as unlikely as KT doubleton with west.

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