Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Platinum Pairs 1st Final Board 2

Was feeling pretty good after scoring up 4 on the first board. Had another great chance on the 2nd board. Watch from the West seat for bidding/defense, or tackle South's declarer play problem.

9 7 3
10 8 4 3 2
A 8 6 4
J 10 5 4 2 6
A K 7 5J 6
9 K Q J 10 7 3
J 9 48 5 3 2
A K Q 8
Q 9
5 2
A K 10 7 6



West North East South
DblAll Pass

Would you double? I don't think I would at IMPs (though 500 would be sweet), but seemed like a fairly normal auction with pretty bad news, so I thought I had to here. All's well that ends well, of course.

I cashed 2 hearts, all following. Now what?

Intuitively I wanted to avoid shortening declarer and use up his dummy entries, so I led my diamond.

Now consider declarer's problem -- how should you play? Answer under the fold.

Given the auction, the hand plays itself:

Win A. Play one top trump, then ♣Q, cash 2 hearts pitching a club and a diamond. Cross with another top trump, cash 2 more clubs. You're up to 8 tricks and on the next club West has no answer.

John Hurd did exactly this for a cold top. Had I continued a 3rd heart he'd be down 1, and +200 was 15/17, nearly a full board swing.  I might have been able to sniff this out given the pace of the auction, particularly the 3♠ bid.

It appears the double cost 3 matchpoints, while it stood to gain 4 had we set it. 

Despite the score, Hurd's pretty play still made this one of my favorite hands in the event.

[Andy] I assume you mean the cost of this double is 3 matchpoints if he was always going to make it [Yes -- FB], but a lot more in practice because he presumably would have gone down without the double. Whether to double is an interesting question. In old-fashioned theory, the answer would be no, because you might have only two tricks in your hand, and the double might allow declarer to make (as it did). In modern bridge though, because game is frequently bid on such thin values, it is more common to double a bit on spec and live with the occasional backfire. Interestingly, that is more of an IMPs theory -- the gain is typically higher while the backfire cost is typically lower (5 IMPs instead of half a board), but the math changes when declarer can make a contract that he otherwise wouldn't have.

UPDATE:  This deal was reported in Fred Stewart's syndicated column, e.g. here.  It starts:  "I seldom report a deal in which the winners of a major title had a disaster. "

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