Join Bridge Winners
A trump trick
(Page of 4)

Here are a couple of interesting deals which came up in the final 2-day Swiss in our matches.  In both cases, the idea is to maximize your chances of getting a trump trick.  See what you would do, and what your reasons are.

West
J832
8532
842
A9
North
AQ54
9
AKQ76
532
East
South
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
K
6
0
0
1
9
3
J
7
2
0
2
Q
10
2
5
2
0
3
8
7
4

You lead the ace of clubs and continue.  Partner cashes 2 more club tricks, declarer following, and now he leads the fourth round of clubs.  Declarer ruffs with the 7 of hearts.  Do you overruff?  If so, why?  If not, why not? 

West
J832
8532
842
A9
North
AQ54
9
AKQ76
532
East
South
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
2
K
6
0
0
1
9
3
J
7
2
0
2
Q
10
2
5
2
0
3
8
7
4

If partner has QJ doubleton, Q10 doubleton, or J10 doubleton, it is essential to not overruff.  If you don't overruff you will score a trump trick.  If you do overruff, your trump trick vanishes.

On the other hand, if partner has K6 or K4, it is vital to overruff.  By forcing dummy to overruff you with the 9 of hearts, you protect partner's heart holding.  Failure to overruff allows declarer to pick up the trump suit.

By the numbers it appears to be percentage to not overruff, since there are 3 winning combinations for that play and only 2 winning combinations for overruffing.  However, if you take partner's defense into account it is clear to overruff.  If partner has one of the double honor holdings, he can see that there is no possibility of promoting a trump trick unless declarer has an extremely unlikely 8-card suit.  Therefore, partner should not be continuing with a fourth round of clubs from these holdings. 

At our teammates table the defender failed to overruff.  Declarer's heart holding was AQJ107x, and the failure to overruff cost the contract.

At our table, in the same position declarer chose to ruff with the 10 of hearts.  Now the contract was down, since the 9 of hearts gets covered by the king and the 8 is promoted. 

Our teammate did well ruffing with the 7 of hearts.  The only legit make is if East has K8 doubleton, and if he has that either play will succeed.  Ruffing with the 7 gave the defenders a chance to make a mistake.

West
Q9
A7
643
AK10854
North
K6532
QJ6
KQ
QJ7
East
South
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
7
9
3
0
0
1
K
J
6
2
0
0
2
A
6
2
4
0
0
3
3

2:  5+ spades

Standard signals

You cash two top clubs, both following, and the ace of hearts.  Partner echoes in clubs, and plays a discouraging heart.

Do you play a third round of clubs, or punt with a red suit?  Why?

 

West
Q9
A7
643
AK10854
North
K6532
QJ6
KQ
QJ7
East
South
W
N
E
S
1
2
2
P
2
P
3NT
P
4
P
P
P
D
4 South
NS: 0 EW: 0
A
7
9
3
0
0
1
K
J
6
2
0
0
2
A
6
2
4
0
0
3
3

Obviously if partner has Jx of spades you must play a third round of clubs for the uppercut.  However, if partner doesn't have the jack of spades, a third round of clubs might be costly.  Partner might ruff, giving the show away.  Even if partner doesn't ruff, your club continuation might tip declarer off about your spade holding.

If you don't play a third round of clubs, declarer figures to go wrong in the spade suit if he has the jack of spades.  Taking the finesse is clearly his percentage play considering the known 6-2 club division.  Also, your failure to play a third round of clubs and try for an uppercut might be even more reason to take the finesse.

From a sheer percentage point of view, there are 5 unknown spades (declarer is known to hold the ace), and three slots in declarer's hand vs. two in partner's hand.  Ownership of the jack of spades wouldn't have affected declarer's bidding in the slightest.    From these odds, it appears correct to punt with a red suit.

Despite this, it is correct to play a third round of clubs.  Partner should not be ruffing with xx in spades if he trusts your defense.  If you had a 5-card club suit you would have given him his ruff before cashing your ace of hearts, since you could give him a clear suit-preference signal for a heart return.  Furthermore, if you had started with a singleton 9 of spades you should make the same club play.  Partner won't ruff with Qxx, of course, and declarer won't have any real information.

If you continue with a third round of clubs and partner has 10x, he has a problem.  If you have QJ doubleton he needs to ruff with the 10, but if you have Qx then ruffing is fatal.  Since QJ is less likely than Qx, he probably shouldn't be ruffing, but that is not totally clear.  Perhaps the spot card led in clubs should imply various degrees of desiring an uppercut since suit-preference is obviously meaningless, but that would take a very high degree of partnership sophistication.

In fact, the holding was stiff 9 rather than Q9 doubleton.  At our teammates table, our teammate failed to play the third round of clubs.   Incredibly, declarer played for the drop in spades and went down.  At our table, the AJ10x of spades was in dummy, so the entire situation was different.  The defense naturally punted with a red suit.  I simply took the percentage play in spades and made. 

 

 

 

16 Comments
Getting Comments... loading...
.

Bottom Home Top