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lacking in defense visualisation

#1 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2022-July-06, 15:10

I held this hand in third seat:

East
JT832
K6
Q72
A74

After three passes, the auction goes 1 - 1 - 1NT (12-14) by the opposition. Partner leads the club three which I win, play the seven back, ducked to partner, who clears the suit, declarer winning with the king.

Dummy held:
KQ76
A8732
83
96

Declarer cashed the AK from hand followed by a third round. I played low twice and butchered the defence. The full deal:



With some proper logical thought, I should have dumped the queen under a high one, then partner can enjoy her club suit. I was concerned declarer might hold the jack but if she did, she would have played to dummy and finessed. That was a nice bottom. Frustrating, I am on the verge of finding defensive unblocking plays like that but so far, the only time I have attempted them when I thought it looked like the right play is when it made no difference. What is more, if declarer cashes the heart ace, I need to dump the king under it as well.
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#2 User is offline   sfi 

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Posted 2022-July-06, 16:11

View PostAL78, on 2022-July-06, 15:10, said:

With some proper logical thought, I should have dumped the queen under a high one, then partner can enjoy her club suit. I was concerned declarer might hold the jack but if she did, she would have played to dummy and finessed.

It turns out dropping the queen would work here, but you're not right about declarer's line of play showing partner's Jack. Declarer knows the club layout and may simply be making a safety play to try and drop the doubleton queen in partner's hand. Now unblocking the queen would cost a trick. So it's good to recognise these situations and consider your options, but defence can be hard at times.

What you would have liked is a signal from partner about where her entries are, which she can send by the order she plays her clubs. If she plays a low one on the third round, denying the spade ace, you can count declarer's points and know it's safe to play the queen under the second diamond honour.
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#3 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2022-July-06, 16:40

Declarer can of course always make 9 but it's double dummy ish to do it (cross twice in spades to lead diamonds, duck if you play the Q), however in a more practical line he can cash the ace of diamonds, and you have to unblock the Q on that or he crosses in spades, and ducks when you produce the Q, or plays K and another if you duck.
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#4 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-July-06, 19:24

Declarer is only in 1NT so can afford to lose 4 clubs as long as they don't lose 3 other tricks. That complicates things because you don't know whether declarer is trying to make overtricks, or just secure 7 tricks. Or is declarer even taking the right line of play? As sfi says, defense can be hard.

At first glance, it looks like declarer having the AKJxx is possible and reasonable. But, declarer would have K, AKJ and shouldn't have A because that would be 15 HCP and they would have opened 1NT. Since you are looking at K, declarer has no quick entry back to their hand to cash diamonds. So is declarer going to make a non-percentage avoidance safety play in diamonds with no sure entry to hand?

One example, wouldn't declarer lead a spade to dummy, setting up a spade trick, and then take the diamond finesse hoping for no diamond losers? Also, partner would have A as entry to the winning clubs so unblocking is not necessary and could cost a trick as pointed out.

Is AK10xx more likely? This leaves the possibility of declarer having A which is a sure entry to cash the winning diamonds. Still, as Cyberyeti points out, declarer's best play is to play a spade to dummy and then a diamond back which didn't happen, but declarers don't always take the best line of play.

What's best? Unblock or not? I lean towards unblocking but wouldn't be totally surprised to be wrong.
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#5 User is offline   AL78 

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Posted 2022-July-07, 00:15

View Postsfi, on 2022-July-06, 16:11, said:

What you would have liked is a signal from partner about where her entries are, which she can send by the order she plays her clubs. If she plays a low one on the third round, denying the spade ace, you can count declarer's points and know it's safe to play the queen under the second diamond honour.


That is not going to happen. I was playing with an inexperienced scratch partner and I don't think she is knowledgable enough to signal like that. From what I recall she played the club eight on the third round.

I forgot to mention this was MPs, so I'm not sure whether it is best for declarer to go for the finesse into the dangerous hand or play from the top and try to put me in.

Holding it to eight tricks gives us 38% instead of a bottom. We can't beat the pairs that limited 2 and 3 to seven tricks (they probably opened a weak NT followed by a transfer).
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#6 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2022-July-07, 15:32

View PostCyberyeti, on 2022-July-06, 16:40, said:

Declarer can of course always make 9 but it's double dummy ish to do it (cross twice in spades to lead diamonds, duck if you play the Q), however in a more practical line he can cash the ace of diamonds, and you have to unblock the Q on that or he crosses in spades, and ducks when you produce the Q, or plays K and another if you duck.

Maybe double dummy is right, but it seems like a standard expert avoidance play. If RHO plays the queen from singleton or doubleton queen and declarer ducks, then the defense will get 2 diamond tricks if declarer tries to set up diamonds. Still, I think in 3NT your best chance is to duck. In 1NT, you can guarantee 8 tricks by winning.
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