Recap Of 6/20/2016 28 Board IMP Individual
Three big swings on Monday – twice a game made at one table, down at the other; once a slam made. Details to follow.
Looking first at the bidding at the other table, Does East have a vulnerable weak jump overcall of 2♥? It seems that North must have a reopening 2NT bid over 2♥. With 18 HCP and 5 quick tricks, there must be something to bid. What South does next (assuming North reopens with 2NT showing 18-19) is anyone’s guess. 5♣ seems reasonable. 6♣ seems a real stretch. 3NT might be bid, but very doubtful 3NT would make (double dummy, 3NT by North is down on any lead but the ♥Q). If South ventures forth with an immediate 3♣ over 2♥, then it seems North-South should reach game or slam in clubs. 3♣ is a bit of a stretch, but South at the other table judged to make a 2/1 game forcing 2♣ bid over 1♦. Our teammates defending 2♥ undoubled was a disappointment to us, but the reality is, what they did mattered at most 1-3 IMPs. The problem was me – my lead. My lead was a big disappointment as my lead allowed 6♣ to make!!!!
Beating 3NT is not that obvious/easy though. A spade lead (double dummy down 2) is possible, but not likely. On a heart lead, declarer must win the ♥A (not win cheaply in dummy), saving the ♥J for a later entry. It is crucial that West never ‘signal’ with a spade card – it is West’s length in spades that allows 3NT to be defeated. Declarer, after winning the ♥A, cashes the ♣A and leads a small heart towards the ♥J. Now, East must win the ♥Q and play a high spade. Any other continuation/line of defense brings in the club suit for declarer without 5 tricks for the defense. But, if East does play a high spade after winning the ♥Q, the defense will score 3+1+0+1 and defeat 3NT.
Enough on the 3NT that didn’t happen. The South hand seems more oriented to suit play. But all of this discussion about what didn’t happen at our teammate’s table really doesn’t matter. If they bid 3NT and make it, or bid 5♣ and make it, we still lose 13 IMPs because of my lead against 6♣! If they manage to arrive in 2♥X and score +800, we still lose 11 IMPs!
So, what about my lead? I thought the auction sounded like spades were being ruffed in dummy. And, I thought a club lead would reduce the spade ruffs. When I led a trump, declarer had 2 excess trumps (besides the 5 needed to draw mine) – those two trump were used to ruff diamonds good and 12 tricks came home. -1370 vs. +300, lose 14 IMPs. That was a 23 IMP swing on the lead (win 9 or lose 14), which is often the case with vulnerable slams. What would Lead Captain or David Bird lead? It is hard to say. The problem with that analysis is that you have to make assumptions about what the bidding has indicated what the North-South holdings are in the various suits.
The Bridge World magazine has a monthly problem H – what do you lead? Often people answering the problem construct a hand where their lead successfully beats the contract, while any other lead allows it to make. So, that got me thinking more about my lead – something that I should have done at the table!! For a trump lead to be necessary, one of 2 conditions must be met:
- Declarer needs to ruff 1 spade in dummy to reach 12 tricks, but a trump lead prevents that one ruff
- Declarer needs to ruff 2 spades in dummy for 12 tricks, but a trump lead holds him to 1 ruff, 11 tricks.
Example of 1 ruff needed:
With this construction, a spade lead allows 12 tricks (2+2+1+7) because dummy can ruff spades after a spade lead. A trump lead kills the ruff and declarer will come up a trick short. But, this is the only reasonable construction I could create where a trump lead is the winning lead, and it doesn’t come close to fitting the auction – would Dan really bid both 4♣ over 3♠ and 6♣ over 5♣? Not a chance.
Example of 2 ruffs needed:
Example 2 is even worse. Yes, a trump lead defeats the contract, but, again, the hands do not fit the bidding; and, a spade lead also defeats the contract. I’ve spent enough time on this to realize one thing: next time spend more time at the table instead of in the post mortem. This was not that hard to realize that a trump lead cannot be the necessary lead to defeat the contract.
One final closing note – the players involved thought that 6♣ was cold, even on a spade lead, since declarer can win the ♠A, cross to the ♣A, cash the ♦AK throwing their spade losers away, and ruff a diamond to enter their hand to continue drawing trump. The catch is, when I win my ♣K, I simply play a spade, forcing a ruff by declarer. So it turns out the opening lead must be a spade in order to tap declarer in spades (much later). That spade ruff, plus drawing my trumps, exhausts declarers trumps with none left to ruff diamonds good. Down 1.
We had the exact same bidding, contract, and lead at both tables. It was all over at trick 1. At my table, declarer feared a club shift, which could knock out the crucial entry to diamonds, so he decided to play (me) the opening bidder to hold the ♠A. So, at trick 1, he won the ♥A, led a spade to the ♠J and ♠A. The heart continuation allowed me to cash out for down 2.
At the other table, declarer couldn’t see the harm in ducking the heart (standard play holding AJx in a suit unless a shift will be fatal). Here, declarer felt that if the defense shifted to clubs, he would duck and play for split club honors, and reach 10 tricks via 0+1+6+3. After winning the opening lead, the defense had no answer. Any continuation by South left declarer in the driver’s seat. After ducking trick 1, declarer eventually took 11 of the remaining 12 tricks. +660 and +200 win 13 IMPs.
Find the minor suit queens. Our teammates, with no opposing bidding, found them both and brought home 5♣. North, at my table, won the spade lead and led trump, watching the ♦Q show up on the way to the ♦A. Declarer then led spades, needing to ruff their last spade in dummy before drawing trump. After cashing 2 spades, I led a heart. Declarer ruffed, and knew that drawing trump would mean he had no more trump left, so decided to try clubs immediately before drawing the rest of the trump. He played partner for the ♣Q. and then I gave partner a club ruff for down 2. Declarer found out I had exactly 4 spades and 1 diamond. That meant I most likely held 6 hearts and 2 clubs, or 5 hearts and 3 clubs. Of course that would still be the case if I had not doubled. Anyway, for whatever reason, they lost to my ♣Q for +100 to go with +400, win 11 IMPs.