A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Discussion of hands from past BSkA tournaments (or other events) and how they were bid and played. Skat problems. General discussion of strategy and tactics.

A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby Gustavo » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:42 pm

In this hand my table was the only one in which MH and HH passed, and again I felt foolishly tempted to bid 18. Looking back I can now see that my hand was pretty rubbish, but the Skat actually made it quite decent as follows:

VH:
J S D
C 10 K 9
S K
H K Q 7
D K

Skat: HA, H10

This would probably have been an easy game in Hearts, but seeing the long Hearts suit I made two void suits discarding SK and DK and went for the Grand. The other hands were:

MH:
J
C A 8
S A 10 7
H 9
D A 10 Q 7

HH:
J C H
C Q 7
S Q 9 8
H 8
D 9 8

Conscious of my weakness with JS and JD I thought of leading the long suit in hopes of catching a Jack. HA came back, H10 got trumped, and from then on you can see that I was doomed. At that point I thought I should have led JD to try to make both Jacks fall, but now I see they were not split, so that wouldn't have worked.

The first question then is: would you have played Grand instead of Hearts, and if so, how?

It turns out that my best chance for a Grand seems to be leaving H10 and one of the singleton K in the Skat. The possible playing sequence would be as follows:
CK, CA, SQ -18
SA,SQ,JD 30
HA,H9,H8 41

Now here is the second question: assuming the sequence above, what would you lead next? I thought of HK, but I don't seem to find a way to make this hand work as a Grand.
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Re: A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby Gustavo » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:54 pm

Of course, it should be said that I was quite unlucky to have such a strong MH hand against me, but still...
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Re: A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby John McLeod » Thu Mar 30, 2017 2:29 pm

Joe Wergin wrote that there are 9 possible controls in a Grand: the four jacks, the four aces and the lead, and that to play a Grand you need at least 5 of them. Like most rules of thumb it has exceptions, but here you have only 4 controls, which should be a danger sign.

To win this kind of hand by force against a 2-0 jack split, you have to lead hearts from the top and keep playing hearts every time you get the lead. That way the defence will never be able to draw your trumps, but unfortunately there is also the problem of your club suit. If you lead it you will lose control, so you would just have to hope that the opponents to lead it for you, which having two each they are unlikely to do.

Even if the jacks split 1-1 this Grand is pretty hard to make. You can lead the SJ to draw their trumps (probably better than leading the DJ as it gives away less information) but then you have to use your last jack to get the lead back. Now you can cash all your hearts but after that you are almost certainly going to lose the last three tricks and too many points.

The problem with discarding the H10 is that in my view you don't have anywhere near enough winning cards in your hand to get to 61 points by that method. In your specific play example you have reached 41 but they still have two jacks. You can play your C10 for 51 and then you are finished. Also it's quite likely that MH will not play the CA if you lead the CK to the first trick - often MH will play low in this situation and then you won't even be able to score your C10.
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Re: A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby Mike Tobias » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:43 pm

Gustavo wrote:Of course, it should be said that I was quite unlucky to have such a strong MH hand against me, but still...


You were unlucky that MH didn't bid. I find it hard to believe Patrick didn't: Alban and I both bid 18 in MH and made a straightforward Grand without 4
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Re: A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby Mike Tobias » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:01 pm

I'd definitely have taken the Hearts. You've taken a risk bidding, it's paid off, so why take another one? I think in Grand you have to hope for the Jacks to split, and the defense to return the Ace of Clubs, which is the least likely return.
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Re: A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby Gustavo » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:09 pm

Mike Tobias wrote:I'd definitely have taken the Hearts. You've taken a risk bidding, it's paid off, so why take another one? I think in Grand you have to hope for the Jacks to split, and the defense to return the Ace of Clubs, which is the least likely return.


Trouble is, I hadn't realised that the Grand wasn't going to work at all...
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Re: A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby Patrick Phair » Sun Apr 16, 2017 12:54 am

After over a year with no postings about recent hands it took me a while to notice the threads about the March tournament. Thanks to Gustavo for getting this board going again.

I am surprised to see that both Alban and Mike bid on my hand:

J: -
C: A 8
S: A 10 7
H: 9
D: A 10 Q 7

I remember thinking it was similar to a Grand without 4 but I thought it was some way short of one. Maybe I could have bid 18 and then shut up if anyone else said anything, but I felt that the Grand was very unlikely. Skats I would hope to win with are:

(a) HA and another card -- Grand
(b) C10 or H10 -- Grand, but with the worry that spades may no longer be 2-2 after Vorhand has run hearts
(c) a jack -- possible Grand because of the chance of ruffing HA, or a Diamond game
(d) a diamond -- Diamond game
(e) two spades -- Spade game
(f) D9 and S9, or similar -- Null Ouvert

But I thought something like CQ and HK was more likely than the actual HA and H10. Categories (a) and (b) above cover 60 skats out of a possible 231, a 26% chance. There are also 60 skats which don't fall into any of the six groups above.

Patrick
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Re: A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby Mike Tobias » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:12 am

A challenge for you Patrick:

Take that hand and deal the other two at random a number of times. With FH and HH bidding properly, bid to 23 and then pass. If you pick up an unplayable hand, bale out in Null (it might even win)

See what happens over a number of hands.
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Re: A Grand that wasn't? (19 March, 3/11)

Postby John McLeod » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:41 pm

I tried a few of these. I think the key point is that with all 4 jacks out against you it's quite likely that VH or MH will be able to bid. If neither of them can your chances of being able to win something are quite good. I would probably also have missed this and passed. Maybe it's right to pass if your opponents seem to be cautious bidders.
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