Polling You #39: Penalty Doubles and Environmental Factors 6-10, Day 5, February 11, 2011

Penalty Doubles and Environmental Factors 6-10 in Contract Bridge

Penalty Doubles in Competition –Too close to call? Day 5

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In our last lesson we covered Bridge “Environmental Factors” #1 through #5.  Let’s continue with another five topics:

6. Working honors.  While you see us toss around this football all the time, it bears repeating that we’d prefer to have top honors in our long suit as opposed to side suits.  Then again, if when we are not blessed with working honors perhaps it’s time to consider punting – doubling the opponents for penalty.

7. Direct/passout seat.  Generally, when a player makes a bid in direct seat it shows more values than in the passout seat, i.e., competing to win the auction in the balancing seat, “borrowing a King” from partner, that sort of thing. 

8. Passed hand bidding.  Once we’ve passed the bidding, most of the time we’ve limited our hand and should use extra caution when bidding at or above the 3 level.  On a really good day partner may not have overcalled with opening values but poor shape.  Just try not to push your luck too much, or as leading Masterpoint professional would say, “Partner, if you’re hoping I’ll have the perfect hand, sorry but most of the time I won’t!”

9. We overcall.  When you or your partner overcalls at the 1 level, the hand may be as low as 8 points using modern competitive bidding styles (especially with favorable vulnerability).  Dial in a bit more caution when your side has overcalled the opponents.

10. Primary/secondary honors.  No surprises here, offensive tricks (Aces, Kings, shortness) help propel a partnership to game while side suit Queens, Jacks, and 10s may enjoy defensive tricks. 

Polling You #39, Hand 1

Board 1
North Deals
None Vul
♠ Q 10 2
A 10 5 4 3
K
♣ K J 3 2
♠ J 9 6 5
J 9 8 6
Q 7 3 2
♣ 6
N
W E
S
♠ K 4
K Q 7
6 5 4
♣ A Q 9 8 7
♠ A 8 7 3
2
A J 10 9 8
♣ 10 5 4

West North East South
1 2 ♣ 2
Pass 2 N All pass

Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th
1. E 6 8 Q K
2. N ♠ 2 4 A 5
3. S ♠ 3 6 Q K
4. E 5 9 2 3
5. S A 3 4 4
6. S J 7 5 ♣ 7
7. S 10 ♣ 6 10 ♣ 8
8. S ♣ 4 6 J Q
9. E K 2 8 A
10. N ♣ 2 A 5 ♠ 9
11. E Q ♠ 7 9 ♠ 10
12. E 7 ♠ 8 J ♣ 3
13. W ♠ J ♣ K ♣ 9 ♣ 10

North open 1 Heart with a questionable Diamond King, perhaps worth 2 points.  With a good 14 points, East overcalls 2 Clubs.  South holds a great 9 HCP hand, certainly 10 working points and bids 2 Diamonds.  Back around to North, rebidding 2 Heart might be necessary with a better 5 card heart suit, yet 2 Notrump is just right with a good Club suit.  Players should hold 22-23 points to play in a 2 Notrump contract, accounting to the requirement for responder to have 10 points to make a forcing 2 level bid with a 5 card suit.  The 2 Notrump auction passes out, West hopeful with a lopsided 4441 shape.

Note: On this hand, several errors are made both sides.

On a difficult lead (North/South bidding Diamonds and Hearts), East leads the Diamond 6 – “top of nothing.”  Playing low from dummy, South errs going up with the mantra “third hand high” to North’s singleton King.  Had West reflected more holding with a 4 card Diamond suit, 5 in the dummy and East’s lead of the 6 spot, certainly the lead was not “forth best” from an honor (Rule of 11, 11 -  6 spot = 5 but five are above the 6 spot on the board plus two in West’s hand). 

Questionably, declarer plays to South’s Spade Ace.  More surprisingly, rather than cash dummy Diamonds and pitch Hearts, declarer first tries finessing Spade Queen which loses to East.  Still unwilling to break another suit, East stubbornly returns another Diamond which allows declarer win four rounds of Diamonds.  Declarer tries finessing up to North’s Club Jack, lost to East’s Queen.  Finally, seeing North pitch Hearts on dummy’s Diamonds, East splits honors leading the Heart King to North’s Ace.  Returning a Club to East’s Ace and cashing the Heart Queen, East returns a Heart to West’s Jack and Spade Jack to set the declarer, down one. 

Clearly both sides can find better lines of play – read on!

Polling You #39, Hand 2

Board 1
North Deals
None Vul
♠ Q 10 2
A 10 5 4 3
K
♣ K J 3 2
♠ J 9 6 5
J 9 8 6
Q 7 3 2
♣ 6
N
W E
S
♠ K 4
K Q 7
6 5 4
♣ A Q 9 8 7
♠ A 8 7 3
2
A J 10 9 8
♣ 10 5 4

West North East South
1 2 ♣ 2
Pass 2 N All pass

Trick Lead 2nd 3rd 4th
1. E 6 8 Q K
2. N ♠ 2 4 A 5
3. S A 2 3 4
4. S J 3 4 5
5. S 10 7 5 ♣ 7
6. S 9 6 ♣ 2 ♣ 8
7. S ♣ 10 6 3 Q
8. E ♠ K 3 6 T
9. E K 2 8 A
10. N ♠ Q ♣ 9 7 9
11. N ♣ J A 4 9
12. E Q ♣ 5 J T
13. E 7 ♠ 8 ♠ J ♣ K

With the same auction, North plays in 2 Notrump.

Again East leads the Diamond 6 with West mistakenly playing the Diamond Queen to North singleton King.  This time after North enters with the Spade Ace, the four top Diamonds are cashed with North nicely pitching one Club and three Hearts (saving the Ace-10).   North tries finessing to the Club Jack losing to East’s Queen.  At this point North has 6 tricks, defenders with 1 trick.

Rather than splitting the Heart King-Queen honors, East gets in a hurry to first cash the Spade King which sets up North’s Spade Queen.  Along with the Heart Ace, North makes game.

North improvement to cash out Diamonds after West’s error on trick one (playing the Diamond Queen) permits an undeserved game.  Let’s seek a better line of play – next time West will not be so generous forfeiting the Diamond Queen on trick one, putting North to the real test.

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Warm Regards,

BridgeHands

Comments

  1. BridgeHands says:
    >
    Greetings BridgeHands Pollsters,
    .
    You’ve scored your favorites and we have a clear majority ranking Environmental Factors from best to worst:
    .
    79 percent – Primary Honors in Long Suit, Working Honors, Overcall, Passed Hand
    .
    Wow, we seldom see so many votes for a single candidate! To be sure, being blessed to have a suit like AKQxxx is an excellent holding and working honors like AQJ9x are certainly better trick-takers than stray honors floating around each suit. And yes, as an overcaller our hand may be 4 points less than an opener, while most passed hands are limited to 11 points or so.
    .
    We did have 9 percent prefer to only consider High Card Points worthy. True, it’s hard to dismiss the value of an honor yet in the Bridge ecosystem other factors can also be paramount. And while the famous MIssissippi Heart Hand may not be realistic, the hands certainly illustrate how a 29 HCP hand only takes 6 tricks based on extreme Environmental Factors!
    .
    http://www.bridgehands.com/M/Mississippi_Heart_Hand.htm
    .
    Or how about the Duke of Cumberland hand that was featured in a James Bond movie? Bond’s opponent the evil Drax held 31 HCP and doubled James astronomical 7 Club grandslam bid. Of course like the Mississippi Heart hand, the cards were rigged so High Card Points didn’t matter at all.
    .
    http://www.bridgehands.com/D/Duke_of_Cumberland_Hand.htm
    .
    Okay, have a great weekend – in our wrap-up episode, we will finish Envirnmental Factors 11-15.
    .
    Happy Bridge Trails,
    Michael
  2. heyjude says:

    Michael you said from H J986 to lead the 9 the top of interior sequence. We have always been taught that an interior sequence must have an honor in it.??. I really enjoy your lessons.

    • BridgeHands says:
      >
      Hello HeyJude,
      .
      Well, we normally would not want to lead away from a suit like this at all but other factors may influent our lead. For Instance on Hand #2, looking at the dummy singleton this time we want to lead through the declarer’s 5 card Heart suit. In that situation, leading the 9 is best is attributable to the fact that West will not get back to the hand. Thus, on that situation, playing a card to maintain the lead (hopefully trapping North’s H10 is technically correct. However, as you suggest we generally would prefer to lead away from a touching honor sequence when leading from an interior sequence.
      .
      Good question! Michael
  3. doriander says:

    hi
    i refer to the last hand in part 3 for premium and ultra members in which e played 3spx-2
    which vulnerable is 500
    in the video you say n s have 6 tricks so they are down 3 but n s were defenders
    did i miss something?

    doriander 30 september 2013

    • BridgeHands says:
      >
      On the last hand (#3) with a competitive auction with both sides Vulnerable (briefly mentioned at 11:42), East/West push the competitive auction to 3 Spades. And while they have a 9 card trump fit, South rightly makes a penalty double with 12 points including the Spade King-Queen-third. Thus, West should not feel impunity from overbidding, erroneously thinking “The Law of Total Tricks” justifies the overbid. So as we discussed at 14:00, E/W are down 3, doubled and vulnerable. We count vulnerable undertrick penalties as:
      -1 = 200
      -2 = 500
      -3 – 800
      .
      So East only makes 6 tricks, down 3 and 3SX-3 = -800. Sorry if the discussion glossed over the vulnerability too quickly.
      .
      Happy trails, Michael

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