Friday, July 31, 2009

Part 2--Updated

At game all you hold:
The auction begins with a pass on your right, you pass, and LHO opens 2NT (20-21). RHO transfers to spades and bids 3NT, which becomes the final contract. Your parner leads the queen of hearts and this is what you see:
Declarer wins the lead with the ace and thinks for about 2 minutes. Hopefully you were thinking too, because next declarer plays the ace of diamonds and a small one. You are in with the jack--what do you return?

Thanks for the comments, guys. Perhaps thg is right about this being a suit-preference situation, but it may be a little obscure, especially in a new partnership or one that doesn't play regularly. Absent that agreement, we are left to our own devices to figure the hand out, and I think Weinstein hit the nail on the head. Assuming partner's hearts are Q-J-Ten, a low spade return is only wrong when declarer has both the ace and ten of spades. So, in my best Kelsey impersonation, if you returned a low spade, you achieve a satisfying down one and 90% of the matchpoints. If you did anything else, you are -600 for a 30% board. At the table I got this one right though I admit that I didn't have all of the reasons worked out. It took me a long time to find the play, so it was nice when the hand was over 2 seconds after :).

Declarer's hand: Tx AKxx AKxx AQ9


thg said...

Isn't this one of those situation where partner will give suit preference with his diamond spots?

Jonathan Weinstein said...

If this is in a textbook, I know automatically a low spade is right :-)

But in real life I have to debate that versus a heart. Partner has one of the black aces. If the SA, you need to cash out. If the CA, maybe we need to set up his hearts before his CA is knocked out. Declarer could have Ax AKx AKxxx Qxx. But...unless declarer's second spade is the T, a spade switch isn't fatal...declarer can't afford to win, and if he ducks partner can go back to hearts (which he should work out.) So a low spade it is, and curse the gods if declarer has AT.