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The Z-factor An unlikely push

#1 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-April-25, 06:11



This was an unusual push in the Palace Cup in Warsaw, a short time ago. You lead the three of spades (attitude) against 3NT. Zia plays low and partner plays the queen and returns the ten of spades to South's jack, your ace and dummy's eight. What now?

In the other room, after the same start, Nowosadski bid 3NT as North instead of doubling 2. The play to the first two tricks is the same, with Kalita at the helm. What now?
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#2 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-April-25, 07:01

Well the dangers seem to be that S has AKQJxx, K, J for his 14 points and you're cashing 3 clubs or if not he's cashing 9, or that you're giving declarer his 9h trick if you lead a club (K instead of K or both Ks but only 5).

I'm not sure how you decide between the options.
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#3 User is offline   gszes 

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Posted 2019-April-25, 10:50

I am clearing the spade suit primarily because I want to get a better handle on what partner major suit distribution was. If they were 33 it is fairly easy for me to consider discarding the heart suit on any run of the diamonds. I see no strong reason why declarer suddenly has to have 6 diamond tricks and p holding Kxxx is certainly viable even if declarer had AQJxxx. If p is 22 majors then setting nt looks bleak as we will come under tremendous pressure if there is a run of the diamonds where we get squeezed btn the club A and the heart suit.
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#4 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-April-26, 15:59

I like these problems, because there is a lot we can infer to guide us, yet at the end we have to make some judgment call.

For example, we can infer that declarer is 2=2 majors, else partner would have expressed a preference for a major.

We can infer that declarer has good diamonds, but we can't be sure how good or even how long. He is either 2=2=6=3 or 2=2=5=4.

I started writing a long analysis, but the truth is that I was spending more time writing than I was thinking, and I can't come to a clearly 'right' line of defence.

I am NOT going to play partner for the club K. Yes, that may be the only winning defence, but that assumes that the contract is cold unless we take our 4 tricks right away. That seems pessimistic to me: why play opener for the equivalent of Jx Kx AKQJxx xxx rather than Jx xx AKQJxx Kxx?

While we need to play clubs now on the first hand, it simply hands over an impossible contract on the other (assuming we pitch correctly).

Me? I was thinking of ducking the second spade, but on reflection doubt that it matters. I am going to get squeezed, if a squeeze is there, in any event (as best as I can see).

So I am intending to win, to clear spades and, if the diamonds appear to be such that declarer has exactly 5 winners, I will pitch hearts (after my low club) playing partner (who is, I infer, 3=3 majors) to hold the 10 (or the King, but if he holds the King declarer is going to be dead...especially since I will be stripping partner's spade exit at trick 3, so even the most comatose partner will lead a club to my AQ)

I'm hoping for Jx Kx AKQ108 Kxxx

If it was Jx Kx AKQJxx xxx or equivalent: this wasn't the last game I let through on a guess, and I can always blame partner for not switching to a low club (just kidding!).

Btw, I somewhat discount the possibility of opener being 3=3 majors: on this auction, I'd expect Zia to smell blood with 3=3=5=2 and hammer 2S. Also, I am not playing for diamonds to be 1=2=4=6 around the table, since the suit rarely contains 14 cards B-)
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#5 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-April-27, 04:20

I suppose the other danger is that declarer had Jx, K10, AKQJ10, xxxx and discarding hearts is fatal.
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#6 User is offline   alok c 

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Posted 2019-April-27, 13:51

Imo, redouble indicates 3-3 in majors with another K apart from Q as otherwise West was to bid his better major in any case after the double.It is a toss up between K&K being held by East.I may be totally wrong but I will play Q.
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#7 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-April-27, 20:24

View Postalok c, on 2019-April-27, 13:51, said:

Imo, redouble indicates 3-3 in majors with another K apart from Q as otherwise West was to bid his better major in any case after the double.It is a toss up between K&K being held by East.I may be totally wrong but I will play Q.

If partner holds the heart K, he will usually switch to a heart at trick 2. For a variety of reasons. When he returns a spade, the one card I am virtually certain a world class defender does not have is the heart King
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#8 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-April-28, 02:39

View Postmikeh, on 2019-April-27, 20:24, said:

If partner holds the heart K, he will usually switch to a heart at trick 2. For a variety of reasons. When he returns a spade, the one card I am virtually certain a world class defender does not have is the heart King


Really ? and concedes a completely unmakable contract when declarer has a whole load of holdings where a spade return defeats it trivially. Give declarer something like Jx, Qx, AKJxx(x), KQx(x)
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#9 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-April-28, 09:12

View PostCyberyeti, on 2019-April-28, 02:39, said:

Really ? and concedes a completely unmakable contract when declarer has a whole load of holdings where a spade return defeats it trivially. Give declarer something like Jx, Qx, AKJxx(x), KQx(x)

Do your WC partners routinely overcall on Axxxx Jxxx? I think its fair to infer that partner has decent hearts. If so, then we probably need to get our heart tricks going before we give declarer his 9th trick in spades.

Now, if you think that it is odds on that it is declarer with good hearts, then playing spades is better.
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#10 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-April-28, 09:21

View Postmikeh, on 2019-April-28, 09:12, said:

Do your WC partners routinely overcall on Axxxx Jxxx? I think its fair to infer that partner has decent hearts. If so, then we probably need to get our heart tricks going before we give declarer his 9th trick in spades.

Now, if you think that it is odds on that it is declarer with good hearts, then playing spades is better.


No he has the A as well
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#11 User is offline   mikeh 

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Posted 2019-April-28, 11:33

View PostCyberyeti, on 2019-April-28, 09:21, said:

No he has the A as well

So you bid based on hcp, rather than suit quality? Really?
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#12 User is offline   Cyberyeti 

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Posted 2019-April-28, 12:41

View Postmikeh, on 2019-April-28, 11:33, said:

So you bid based on hcp, rather than suit quality? Really?


I bid on shape, and for 2 suited overcalls there's a wide range of opinions among experts (some like to get in over a strong NT a lot), heart return can also be very wrong if declarer has say J10 or even J8.
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#13 User is offline   lamford 

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Posted 2019-April-28, 13:58

You need to play partner for the king of clubs. Too tough for me, and also for the top defenders facing this problem.
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#14 User is offline   nige1 

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Posted 2019-May-01, 12:58


Lamford writes 'This was an unusual push in the Palace Cup in Warsaw, a short time ago. You lead the three of spades (attitude) against 3NT. Zia plays low and partner plays the queen and returns the ten of spades to South's jack, your ace and dummy's eight. What now? In the other room, after the same start, Nowosadski bid 3NT as North instead of doubling 2. The play to the first two tricks is the same, with Kalita at the helm. What now?'
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I declarer is 3-3 in the majors or if the layout is like that on the left and LHO plays a 3rd ,
then LHO might have to throw 2 s, to guard s

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#15 User is offline   rhm 

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Posted 2019-May-15, 05:46

View Postnige1, on 2019-May-01, 12:58, said:


Lamford writes 'This was an unusual push in the Palace Cup in Warsaw, a short time ago. You lead the three of spades (attitude) against 3NT. Zia plays low and partner plays the queen and returns the ten of spades to South's jack, your ace and dummy's eight. What now? In the other room, after the same start, Nowosadski bid 3NT as North instead of doubling 2. The play to the first two tricks is the same, with Kalita at the helm. What now?'
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I declarer is 3-3 in the majors or if the layout is like that on the left and LHO plays a 3rd ,
then LHO might have to throw 2 s, to guard s


On this layout 3NT never makes against competent defense.
Yes West will have to discard 2 clubs, a heart and a spade.
Now what?
West will still come to 3 spade tricks, a club and a heart or possibly 2 club tricks.

The defense is obvious.
West should always simply continue spade.
If East has the club king and a club switch was required (not on the above layout, South would need 6 diamond tricks), hard luck.
Switching to clubs is totally against the odds.
The contract can be defeated even if South holds KTx in hearts and 5 diamonds, but the defense then gets tricky.
West must decide whether to play East for the heart ten or the club king.
When East has the club king, West must then discard his winning spade and keep AQ of clubs.

Rainer Herrmann
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