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 on: April 10, 2018, 09:13:17 AM 
Started by zdedo - Last post by OliverC
One thing: Don't forget that the OCP system specifies Transfer Lebensohl over Doubles of their weak 2's (whether the doubler is 2nd-in-hand or protecting). Now the bidding would start:

(2 !H) - No   - (No)   - X
(No)   - 3 !C - ??

If West doesn't come in with 3 !H, North will bid 3 !D and now his !H King is protected. If West does come in with 3 !H you're no worse off if North passes or bids 3 !S.

 on: April 09, 2018, 01:15:38 PM 
Started by zdedo - Last post by RogerPfi
I have made a "problem format" of this hand, see the thread


A big thank you to Walid for for including the tiny URL.

FYI - you can copy the text of ANY (BBO) tiny URL and drop it on to an open aaBridge window.

That way it will open and NOT automatically show you the Opps cards.


 on: February 18, 2018, 10:05:28 AM 
Started by OliverC - Last post by OliverC
It's very true that you can often only play as well as Opps allow you to play. Opps remained silent here and that helped us. Clearly on this occasion any sensible auction is going to go 1 !S - Pass if Opps are silent. Some people do play weak jump-shifts, however, irrespective of their support for Partner. I spotted one table where the bidding did go 1 !S - 3 !C.

The original point of the post was as much to do with the value of bullets in trump contracts as anything else.

 on: February 12, 2018, 01:04:12 PM 
Started by zdedo - Last post by brian_m
couldn't see this line if I played at trick 6 before continuing in  !D I can make!
what is the expert say on this and the bidding also?

I'm not claiming to be an expert, but I can offer a couple of comments.

You ended up in the best contract. It's all too easy to be losing a  !S, a  !H and a  !C in 5 !C. If you get a (most likely) 3-2 break in  !S, you're home in 4 !S, same three losers.

Your problem is not planning through the hand, I think. You have exactly two certain entries to your hand without ruffing your  !D winners. After East shows out, you KNOW that you're going to lose a  !H and two  !S, so you can't afford to lose another  !C.

You cannot make the contract unless West is kind enough to kill his partner's club winner with one of his trumps (try it... lead your  !C at trick 6, but West must discard rather than ruff), so you go down anyway against decent defence, but locking yourself on table as you did is absolutely a 0% line. Well, OK, not 0%, you're OK if you drop a singleton  !C K with the  !C A.  ::)

So yes, try the  !C finesse at trick 6, and hope that West makes a (silly!) mistake by ruffing, but the contract should go down against competent defenders as the cards lie.

 on: February 12, 2018, 12:40:27 PM 
Started by zdedo - Last post by brian_m
Well done for not giving up! What your opponent was doing I can't imagine, he could see  !C K sitting over him and (unless  !S were 4441) knew that his partner couldn't stop the 4th  !S trick.

 on: February 12, 2018, 09:00:29 AM 
Started by zdedo - Last post by zdedo
couldn't see this line if I played at trick 6 before continuing in  !D I can make!
what is the expert say on this and the bidding also?

 on: February 12, 2018, 08:44:53 AM 
Started by zdedo - Last post by zdedo
playing in friendly pick up at BBO with Micheal(rite-bid) we stretched to 4 !D opps took 2 !H!D W got the  !CA should cash it at trick 4 for -1 instead he returned a trump so I thought I could squeeze him in  !S if he started with 4 cards or more and voila MAKES  ;D


 on: January 27, 2018, 06:51:32 PM 
Started by OliverC - Last post by OliverC
The ability to move freely between the two hands is a really precious commodity. Sometimes, entries to one hand or another are few in number and on such occasions you need to protect those entries like mad, and work hard to create other entries where possible. This was a simple hand, but it shows the difference when you do the above rather than using up entries needlessly or squandering them:

Love All, Dealer East

East     South     West     North
1 !S      No           No         X
2 !S      No           No         3 !D
All Pass

South (Dummy)
!S K76
!H J1062
!D J74
!C J83

!S Queen led

!S A53
!H KQ7
!D AQ652
!C A9

I knew Eszter had a strong hand from her bidding, and clearly the !S King was well placed, but I didn't feel my motley collection justified any movement over 3 !D (rightly as it turned out - the Spade lead gives the defence a tempo and a Club lead would have given Declarer real problems in 3NT, since West had !C Q10xxx).

East led the !S Queen. How do you assess your chances and how do you play?

Firstly, Declarer needs to recognise that the majority of the outstanding high cards will be with East rather than West, so the chances of the !H Ace and !D King being with West are greatly reduced. You have only one sure entry to Dummy, which is the !S King and even that will be under threat if the Spades are 6-1 (which is a serious threat given the bidding).

Safest, therefore, to take that entry while it's a relatively sure thing, so win trick 1 in Dummy with the King. Now what? There's absolutely no incentive to delay attacking trumps, but how is it best to play the suit? With no other considerations low from Dummy to the Queen is the best play, but you might play differently in this situation when it's more likely that the finesse of the Queen will lose (eg: Small to the Ace and small back towards the Jack, which might gain you a tempo when East ducks with !D Kxx in case partner has the doubleton Queen). One thing is sure, there are two very good reasons why you should not lead the Jack here:
  • You inevitably lose an extra Diamond trick when West has the singleton King, and lose a !D trick unnecessarily when West has !D Kx
  • More critically, when the finesse loses, you have not gained back an entry to Dummy. If the finesse of the Queen loses, the Jack becomes an entry
(2) Above pretty much determines how you should play, which is the standard "best line" of small to your Queen. If East has the King, Dummy's Jack is now an entry. Why is this important? Well the Jack of Hearts is why: You want to enjoy Dummy's 4th Heart in order to be able to discard either a losing Club or a losing Spade from your hand. You cannot rely on an entry in Hearts themselves if whichever defender holds the Ace holds up twice and takes the 3rd round.

Eszter led the Jack of Diamonds, which lost to East's King. East now solved our problem, however, by promptly leading out the !H Ace!. Now what? If you just played the !H 7 from your hand, then this post is aimed at you, because there is absolutely no reason not to play the !H King or Queen under the Ace, thereby gaining an entry to Dummy's long Heart in the Heart suit itself. If you play the 7 on auto-pilot you've blocked the Hearts and can never get rid of a black suit loser.

If you were leading the Heart suit yourself, you'd start with the King and then the Queen in order to force out the Ace. Why play any differently when Opps freely play the Ace of their own accord? Okay, we're only talking about a relatively insignificant overtrick on this occasion, but if you don't get into the habit of unblocking suits like this automatically and actively seeking to create entries at every opportunity, then you will find it much harder to do so when it's critical to the success of your contract.

 on: January 27, 2018, 02:08:04 PM 
Started by OliverC - Last post by OliverC
Another good hand on counting:

Love All, Dealer West

South (Dummy)
!S 7
!H A874
!D A854
!C J654

!C 10 led

!S AQ1082
!H KJ96
!D Q10
!C K8

West     North     East     South
1NT       2 !H(1)     No        3 !H(2)
No         4 !H        All Pass

(1) Majors
(2) Pre-emptive

I think Eszter and I were on the same wavelength here: With a genuine invitation I can bid a slow 3 !H, so my fast one  is more pre-emptive than anything else, but North has values to spare.

On the lead of the !C 10, West played low and your King wins the first trick. How do you plan the play? The bidding has told you where all the high cards are. If West's 1NT is 15-17, then there is no room for East to have more than a single Jack, so the location of the !S King, !H Queen, !D King and the !C AQ should not be in doubt. How, therefore, should you play the hand?

Eszter played a Heart to Dummy's Ace and another Heart back, capturing West's Queen on the second Heart. Now the !S Ace and a Spade ruff allowed her to lead a Diamond towards her Queen. West took their King, cashed the !C Ace and tried to cash the Queen, but Eszter was in control: She ruffed, cashed the !D Queen, ruffed another Spade, cashed the !D Ace and the !H Jack was her 10th trick.

Good enough, and few NS Pairs bid this game, so 10 tricks was a decent result. At the end, though, Easter left the !C Jack alone at trick 12, when actually she could have cashed it and discarded the !S Queen for an 11th trick (East had the last Heart and a Club left). There are a number of decent lines for 11 tricks here, mostly based on taking the !S finesse instead of a second round of Hearts.

(In fact, 12 tricks can be made on this hand, based on the bidding, our count of the hand, and a little luck: A !H to the Ace at trick 2, then the Spade finesse and a Spade ruff without cashing the Ace. Now a small Club off the table almost endplays West and leaves them with no decent option except exiting with the !H Queen. Now another !S ruff and a Club ruffs out West's Ace and Declarer can draw East's last trump, cash all the Spades and enjoy Dummy's !D Ace and !C Jack for the last two tricks.)

Opportunities for endplays (and squeezes) abound when you know for a fact that one defender holds everything, as here. In such circumstances it's always worth trying to come up with a line of play that puts such a defender under as much pressure as possible and takes advantage of their predicament.

 on: January 27, 2018, 10:45:41 AM 
Started by OliverC - Last post by OliverC
Eszter and I got into a slightly dodgy slam on this hand (entirely my fault, I concede), but Declarer's tactics in the play of the hand is a point well worth making as it potentially applies to many other hands:

EW Game, Dealer South

South (Dummy)
!S J
!H A85
!C AQ864

!D 5 led

!S A83
!H Q10976
!D J72

Bidding (Opps silent)
South     North
1 !C         1 !H
1NT(1)     2 !D(2)
2 !H(3)     2NT(4)
3 !C(5)     3NT(6)
6 !H(7)     All Pass

(1) Beta
(2) 3 Controls
(3) Gamma in Hearts
(4) Hxxxx in Hearts
(5) Epsilon in Clubs
(6) 2nd and 3rd round control.
(7) A little risky. Good when North has !S Ace and !H QJ10xx, but hopeless when North has the !S King and !H Kxxxx. Not a great slam when North has what they actually had, either. :) I probably should have gone quietly here, but decided not to...

The Play
On a !D lead, how should you approach the play? It's a given that you need something nice to happen in Hearts, but even if you assume that something nice is going to happen there, the hand still needs some care.
The important question is this: Do you need to worry about trying to ruff North's losing Spades with South's short trumps?.

On some hands the answer would undoubtedly be "Yes!", but on this hand, with a Diamond lead rather than a Spade lead, the answer should be a resounding "No!". There are lots of tricks available in the Minor suits on which North's losing Spades can be discarded. Even on an initial Spade lead, it's arguable that drawing Opps' trumps is the overriding concern. Yes you might end up -3 when East turns up with !H KJx, but you're probably off regardless if that's the case and the difference between -1 and -3 in 6 !H when most people will be in 4 !H is not that great.

Eszter took a middle road: Winning trick 1 in Dummy. at trick 2 she led the !S Jack, took her Ace and ruffed a Spade. Now a Club to the King (maybe originally intending to ruff another Spade) but then she changed tacks and played a Heart to Dummy's Ace, before cashing 2 more Clubs, discarding her last Spade on the 3rd before leading a second Heart towards her Q109.

This worked out okay: The Minor suits were both 3-3 and West turned up with !H KJx, so had no winning options on the 2nd Heart and 12 tricks were duly gathered for a very good score, because few NS Pairs bid to a making slam.

The thing is that after trick 1, Declarer has the tempo: her control of the Spade suit is still intact and Opps have to gain the lead twice in order to be able to (1) attack Spades and (2) to be able to cash any Spade tricks. If Declarer didn't have all of the Minor suit winners waiting in the wings to take care of her losing Spades, or if her control of Spades had already been removed (at trick 1), it might be a different matter. Here, though, since we need to get the Hearts sorted out for only 1 loser, it's not the right tactics to voluntarily give up our control of Spades.

Better to attack the Hearts straight away and not touch Spades at all. If the Hearts come in for 1 loser (ie: West has one or both of the missing Heart honours and we guess right), even if either opponent wins the 2nd round of Hearts, they are not in a position to cash a Spade trick. All they can do is to force out the !S Ace and we still have the tempo to complete drawing trumps and enjoy our Minor suit winners.

This sort of principle applies on many hands. Ultimately it comes down to counting winners and losers. Here we have umpteen winners in the Minors and there's no need to gain any extra tricks by ruffing Spades in the short hand. If we keep Dummy's trumps intact, we can potentially still come to our 12 tricks when the Hearts are not ideally placed but still catchable (eg: West with !H KJxx) as long as we retain the ability to lead Hearts twice towards our Q109. Ruffing a Spade in Dummy early on takes away that option.

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