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Author Topic: Tempo  (Read 3445 times)

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« on: July 07, 2019, 06:56:07 PM »

Playing in tempo can be extremely important. Sometimes the slightest hesitation can give the game away, and your subtle subterfuges will all come to naught. Often you have to try to anticipate what might happen so that you can be ready to play in tempo so as not to give the game away. Holding up your King with Kx when Dummy holds AQJxxx in a suit with no side entries is a well known ploy (when you think Declarer only has 2 of the suit).

Another situation came up today in a hand I played with oktay. You are North, the Dealer at Game All. You are holding

 !S A432
 !H Q7
 !D QJ3
 !C J954

After 2 passes, partner opens a weak 2 !H . This is passed round to East, who protects with 3 !C , and West's 3NT ends the auction. You select the !H Queen as your opening lead and Dummy goes down. This is what you can see:

East (Dummy)
 !S Q65
 !H 9
 !D K94
 !C KQ10872

                !S A432
                !H Q7
                !D QJ3
                !C J954

Using o/e signals, Partner plays the !H 4 on trick 1, which Declarer wins in hand with the King. Declarer cashes the !C Ace (Partner contributes the 3) and then tanks for half a minute. What are you thinking about in the meantime?

The play at trick 1 suggests that Declarer has !H AKxx or AK10x. You know about the !C Ace, but the current pause suggests that Declarer started with the stiff !C Ace, as otherwise his second Club would have hit the table already. Declarer will also have either the !D Ace or the !S King, but probably not both of those cards, or Partner will have opened vulnerable with something like a 2-count. If Partner has the !S King then you cannot prevent an entry to Dummy in Diamonds, but if Partner has the Diamond Ace, the whole hand might revolve around trying to prevent Declarer from reaching Dummy with the !S Queen. It's entirely possible that the hand is going off whatever the position, because you know Declarer probably only has 1 entry to Dummy, and the Clubs are not going to run, and if Declarer has the !S King you cannot prevent them from reaching Dummy with the Queen, but you need to work the hand out as best you can.

After his tank, Declarer plays the !S King. If you hesitate, even for a moment, especially if you going to duck, then you've given the game away, because you only have something to think about if you have the Ace. If you end up taking the trick, a pause doesn't matter, but a pause before ducking is foolish. oktay thought for about 10 seconds and then ducked.

As it happened, Declarer was clearly not paying any attention, because he then played the !S 10 and then, after another pause, ran it and lost to partner's Jack. A 3rd Spade went to your Ace (all following) and you could cash your 4th Spade (Dummy & Declarer discarding Diamonds and Partner a Heart) before leading the !D Queen, allowing partner to take Declarer's King with their Ace and return a Diamond to your Jack. You exit with your 3rd Diamond and Declarer has to concede 1 Heart trick to South for -2.

This contract was probably doomed from the start, but you have to realise that You can work out that Partner has the !D Ace or the !S King, but Declarer cannot be sure. From their viewpoint South might or might not have the !S Ace and/or the !D Ace, so best to keep them guessing.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 07:01:12 PM by OliverC »
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