Friday, July 16, 2010

PP 2nd Final Board 20

Board 20
Dlr W
Vul Both

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

4♠Pass4NTAll Pass

[Andy] I decided to treat my hand as balanced, and evaluated it to a 2NT rebid. 3♣ forced 3, then 3NT showed a mild slam invite with 4 diamonds. I knew I had a high card minimum, but at first glance it was hard to imagine a better hand than 5-card diamonds with extra unanticipated shape, so I bid 4 RKC. The 4♠ response showed one keycard. At that point, I was somewhat worried that 4NT would be a queen ask, but I was unwilling to accept another disastrous 5 of a minor contract, so I just bid 4NT and hoped. Fortunately, Franco remembered our agreement more clearly than I did, which does state that in this auction 4NT is to play. (Had clubs been trumps it would have been the Q ask.)

Ironically, at IMPs I would have bid 5 to try to avoid a slam disaster, but on the actual hand, 5 had no play.

4NT was also quite a precarious contract. In retrospect, I should have gotten a bit deeper in the analysis and worked out to pass 3NT. Partner could have shown 5-card spades or 5-card diamonds, so his choice not to strongly implied 4-4. As a passed hand then his slam try was very likely to be based on short hearts, which isn't a great fit for my hand. There are many hands partner could have that would put slam around 50%, but in order to bid slam you'd like to believe that you will often have better play than that. There seems to be only one very specific hand that really makes slam extremely good: ♠AQxx x KQxx ♣ xxxx. That's just too specific to play for, plus partner might have opened that hand anyway.

If partner weren't a passed hand this evaluation would be a lot harder. I'm not sure, but I suspect that partner perhaps should not make a slam try with his actual hand if he weren't a passed hand. Slam might make, but without explicitly showing short hearts judging it properly without getting too high is difficult.

Anyway, there I was in 4NT, on a low club lead to the 10 and A. I played 8 to the A and a diamond back. When RHO pitched a low (discouraging) heart, I won the A and played a third diamond (RHO pitching another heart). I might have wanted to duck the second diamond to maintain communications, but I was desparate for an extra trick and I wanted to force LHO to play something.

LHO went into the tank and eventually played a spade. When this went around to the 10 and A, I fired a spade back and was soon claiming 10 tricks. +630 was worth 15/17.

LHO had a very difficult defensive problem -- his best play appears to be the ♣J, but that's far from obvious. Actually, RHO pretty much knows that spades and hearts are bad, so he wants to signal for a club. Maybe a discouraging heart followed by a suit preference heart is the best that could be hoped for.

Interestingly, even a low club beats me. I was certainly going to float that to the 9, because I needed the trick. Then though, while I appear to have 10 tricks, whichever major I play first establishes (at least one) extra trick for the defense before I can take my trick in the other major.

1 comment:

  1. I think on a low club, you win the 9, cross in diamonds (you did hold on to a low spot on general principles, right?), and cash 2 more clubs (shaking 2 hearts). What does North keep in the 5 card ending? Attack whatver suit he comes down to 2 cards in.

    The interesting variant is 2 spades: now play a spade to the K, cash your diamond, and play HK. South must win, and while the HQ appears stranded, South either plays one, or plays a spade and you stepping-stone back to it.

    In practice, North should pitch a spade and 3 hearts and you should go wrong, I think.