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defence cock-up (MPs) another hideous evening

#1 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 04:59

Here is another tale of woe which was my fault, and illustrates the category of hands where I really struggle in defence.

75
K9842
AJ6
J86

2 opened on my left, passed out.

Partner led the 5 to my jack which held. I wanted to get partner in to put another diamond through if she had the QT but couldn't find an obvious way to get partner in, so I led back a spade. Partner won with the ace and leads the Q K A.

It turns out I have blown the defence. I should have led a heart back at trick two. The full deal:



I tried a third diamond, ruffed, then declarer draws trumps and sets up the clubs with a ruff. 2+2 and 4% for us. All but one in 2 was held to 8 or 9 tricks.

My spade return assisted declarer in a big way. I have to lead a heart back at trick 2 to set up at least one heart before declarer can draw trumps and get the clubs set up.

My problem is, I can see that play at imps where the club suit is potentially dangerous if declarer has certain holdings, and if he doesn't, the overtricks don't matter, but at matchpoint pairs, it is less obvious.

How do I know declarer doesn't have both rounded queens instead of the club ace, the club suit can't be used for discards, and a heart return will be leading a frozen suit?

The pairs holding it to 8 or 9 tricks led the Q which takes all the guesswork away, we can set up a couple of hearts, knock the ace out killing the club suit, and partner can fire the Q through when in with the trump ace. Held to eight tricks then.
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#2 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 09:46

View PostAL78, on 2021-March-12, 04:59, said:

Here is another tale of woe which was my fault, and illustrates the category of hands where I really struggle in defence.

75
K9842
AJ6
J86

2 opened on my left, passed out.

Partner led the 5 to my jack which held. I wanted to get partner in to put another diamond through if she had the QT but couldn't find an obvious way to get partner in, so I led back a spade. Partner won with the ace and leads the Q K A.

It turns out I have blown the defence. I should have led a heart back at trick two. The full deal:



I tried a third diamond, ruffed, then declarer draws trumps and sets up the clubs with a ruff. 2+2 and 4% for us. All but one in 2 was held to 8 or 9 tricks.

My spade return assisted declarer in a big way. I have to lead a heart back at trick 2 to set up at least one heart before declarer can draw trumps and get the clubs set up.

My problem is, I can see that play at imps where the club suit is potentially dangerous if declarer has certain holdings, and if he doesn't, the overtricks don't matter, but at matchpoint pairs, it is less obvious.

How do I know declarer doesn't have both rounded queens instead of the club ace, the club suit can't be used for discards, and a heart return will be leading a frozen suit?

The pairs holding it to 8 or 9 tricks led the Q which takes all the guesswork away, we can set up a couple of hearts, knock the ace out killing the club suit, and partner can fire the Q through when in with the trump ace. Held to eight tricks then.


You identified the problem when you noted that some pairs got the heart lead.

It’s impossible to be objective about what west ‘should’ lead, given that we can see all the hands, but a heart lead is certainly a plausible lead, if not the seemingly best lead based only on west’s hand and the auction.

But there’s another problem with west’s defence

When she won the spade Ace, continuing diamonds was very weak. She knows that you hold AJx or AJxx

In the latter case, declarer is ruffing the second diamond and in the former, the third round of the suit. IOW, returning the diamond Queen is certain to engender declarer ruffing in, and pulling trump.

West can picture south as having either the heart King or the club Ace. You would surely have been balancing if you held both cards.

Now, if declarer has the heart King, her QJ are dead but there’s little she can do about it. Continuing diamonds helps if declarer is 6223, since the second diamond goes on the heart.

But catering to that is aiming at a narrow target: declarer having not only the heart King but also a precise shape.

If declarer has the club Ace, then unless he has AJx or Axxx, west needs to switch to a heart.

Again, the problem is not with your defence but with your partner. The lead was questionable (that isn’t the same as ‘bad’) but the continuation was (I suspect) lazy.
'one of the great markers of the advance of human kindness is the howls you will hear from the Men of God' Johann Hari
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#3 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2021-March-12, 11:45

View Postmikeh, on 2021-March-12, 09:46, said:

You identified the problem when you noted that some pairs got the heart lead.

It’s impossible to be objective about what west ‘should’ lead, given that we can see all the hands, but a heart lead is certainly a plausible lead, if not the seemingly best lead based only on west’s hand and the auction.

But there’s another problem with west’s defence

When she won the spade Ace, continuing diamonds was very weak. She knows that you hold AJx or AJxx

In the latter case, declarer is ruffing the second diamond and in the former, the third round of the suit. IOW, returning the diamond Queen is certain to engender declarer ruffing in, and pulling trump.

West can picture south as having either the heart King or the club Ace. You would surely have been balancing if you held both cards.

Now, if declarer has the heart King, her QJ are dead but there’s little she can do about it. Continuing diamonds helps if declarer is 6223, since the second diamond goes on the heart.

But catering to that is aiming at a narrow target: declarer having not only the heart King but also a precise shape.

If declarer has the club Ace, then unless he has AJx or Axxx, west needs to switch to a heart.

Again, the problem is not with your defence but with your partner. The lead was questionable (that isn’t the same as ‘bad’) but the continuation was (I suspect) lazy.


Thanks for your analysis. You tend to respond with excellent reasoning, not only solid but reasoning I can follow as well. I can't really criticise partner for not working all that out to come to the conclusion a heart switch is needed, I'm not confident I would in that seat and may well have lazily lead another diamond without thinking. It does illustrate that immediately making what looks like a standout action isn't necessarily the right action, and that one should go through the process of visualising the layout and checking whether or not what you are about to do is really optimal.
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#4 User is offline   apollo1201 

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Posted 2021-March-13, 03:41

As usual, Mikeh nailed it and explained it beyond words.

And nice play on the 1st trick btw. Not a difficult one, but.

You didn’t cock up anything actually. Partner could realize that the C might have become usable now that trumps have become pullable with the SA out of the way. If they were unsure on what to do next, they could duck and leave declarer manage themselves... in all cases, the entry to the C is the HA so that card should be attacked straight away. D can wait to be cashed, when the lead is regained (either declarer needs to duck a C or can’t reach dummy *in most layouts*).

At least partner didn’t blame you for the « obvious » shift after winning DJ. But some how you managed to convince yourself. Actually you chose the safest exit.
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