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Strong but dangerous cards in Vorhand

Posted: Mon May 20, 2013 4:39 pm
by John McLeod
You are Vorhand, both opponents pass, and after picking up the skat you hold:
J: C S H
C: 10 K
S: A K Q
H: 10
D: 10 K Q
What will you discard, what contract will you play, and what is your plan for the first few tricks?

In yesterday's tournament I played Grand and lost. At the other three tables two people played Grand and won and one played diamonds and lost. I'm not sure whether Grand can be won as the cards lie against best defence - I will analyse it and post the result when I get Patrick's write-up of the deals - but I think I could have improved my chances significantly by taking more care over my discard and play.

Re: Strong but dangerous cards in Vorhand

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 10:11 am
by nswedd
This is my second attempt to post a reply. I don't know what happened to my first
attempt, several days ago.

I discard the HT and the SK. I lead one of the Unders, then the DT.


Re: Strong but dangerous cards in Vorhand

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 11:44 am
by John McLeod
When you lead your jack one opponent follows with the DJ and the other discards a small diamond. If you now lead DT you lose 32 points on that trick and subsequently at least 15 points in clubs (the ace is singleton) and at least 13 points in spades, the 10 being guarded, so you go off like I did.
Leading the DT to the first trick is a better shot. It still fails against best defence, but the defence is difficult enough that you are quite likely to make.
After you have cashed your CJ and seen the diamond discard, leading the DK and then DQ works better than leading the ten. It turns out that in order to defeat you, middlehand has to win one of these two tricks, cash the CA and return a diamond. If he waits and catches your DT for 32 points he then has no good way to get rid of the lead and you catch the opponents' ST.
There are other discards that guarantee the contract as the cards lie. My actual discard of HT and CT is not one of them - it turns out worse than yours. I now prefer the discard of HT and DT, which Michael W suggested when I showed him the hand.
The other hands were

Code: Select all

Middlehand    Dealer
J D           J --
C A           C Q 9 8 7
S 10 8 7      S 9
H 9 8         H A K Q 7
D A 9 8       D 7

Re: Strong but dangerous cards in Vorhand

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 4:30 pm
by Mike Tobias
Even now, I would discard as you did, and not the DT. I think keeping the three consecutive cards and discarding one of a doubleton is in general a better policy.

It's a strong hand: seven guaranteed tricks and three big ones assured will normally win comfortably, even with the loss of the DT. There's a case for the DT lead and establishing the suit before drawing trumps, because the defence get a discard with a trump lead, and that will be a singleton if possible, but that in turn leaves you vulnerable to losing a fourth trick by trumping.

Re: Strong but dangerous cards in Vorhand

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 4:52 pm
by John McLeod
The reasons why I now prefer to keep 2 diamonds and 2 clubs are
(a) if diamonds are 3-1 and I lead the king and queen, the opponents might let me make both tricks, vainly waiting for the 10.
(b) if my left-hand opponent wins with the ace of diamonds, there is a possibility of a club return, allowing me to win with the 10. If I have discarded the CT I don't get that chance.

Re: Strong but dangerous cards in Vorhand

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 7:18 pm
by Mike Tobias
Doesn't it apply equally if you discard the Club and lead KC? They may let it win (8th trick, game guaranteed), or else return DA, giving you two winners in Diamonds.

Re: Strong but dangerous cards in Vorhand

Posted: Fri May 31, 2013 12:27 am
by John McLeod
Yes, I think with my discard, the CK is a better lead than a diamond or a trump. Maybe there is not much to choose between the two discards.