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Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:49 am
by nswedd
Last Saturday, hand 2 in session 1 was

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    Forehand   Middlehand Hinderhand    Skat
J   H          CS         -             D
C   T8         Q          AK97 
S   KQ8        T97        A                      
H   8          TQ7        A9            K
D   KQ9        T          A87
Both forehands won the bidding for 18, picked up the Skat, and discarded the two singletons, leaving

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J    CSD
C    -
S    T97 
H    TKQ7
D    - 
What would you choose as trumps?

I knew from experience that a 7-card trump suit often plays worse than a 6-card trump suit, so I chose spades, making schneider for 44 points. Patrick chose hearts, making 30 points.

A possible reason for preferring six trumps to seven is that the defenders' trumps will probably split 3-2 rather than probably splitting 3-1, giving them fewer chances to discard a sidesuit ten on partner's trump trick. Is this valid? Was I just lucky in here, with the bare ace of spades dropping?

Nick

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:13 pm
by John McLeod
Several comments.
1. You mean Middlehand won the bidding for 18, not Forehand.
2. I would choose spades, but my main reason is that the heart suit has only one loser. If you change the hand to

Code: Select all

J    CSD
C    -
S    TKQ
H    T987
D    - 
then I unhesitatingly choose hearts.
3. The ace of spades dropping favours Patrick more than it favours you. It makes it unexpectedly easy for him to establish his 10 and lose only two spade tricks rather than three.
4. If I had been Hinderhand I would very likely have bid against you to play Grand, and I would have made it.

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:36 pm
by Mike Tobias
Strange, my earlier reply has disappeared.

I would definitely play Spades, the Clubs TKQ7 is an excellent side suit, winning three tricks including the ten

I had a hand last night where I chose six trumps over seven for similar reasons.

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:48 pm
by Patrick Phair
I don't remember my thinking on Nick's hand, though I do remember that almost all my six-trump holdings on Saturday met 4-1 breaks.

An interesting further point about this hand: if you are playing in spades and a diamond is led, presumably you ruff. But with what?

Patrick

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:58 pm
by John McLeod
I think I would ruff with the 10 of trumps, draw 2 rounds of trumps, and then if the HJ had not fallen I would start leading hearts.

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:54 pm
by Patrick Phair
OK -- that's probably right.

How about if the heart suit were solid?

Patrick

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:56 am
by John McLeod
You mean something like J:CSD, C:--, S:T97, H:ATK7, D:-- with DT and SQ in the skat? In that case I would play Grand and ruff a diamond lead with SJ.

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:12 am
by Patrick Phair
OK, that looks reasonable. Suppose the discards are D9 and C9, making the Grand less attractive.

Patrick

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:11 am
by John McLeod
I think I would still play Grand. Barring the possibility of a heart lead ruffed by HH on trick 1, my only losers are the three spades. I lose 28 points in spades so the other opponent will need to throw at least 32 points on these three tricks to defeat me.
Grand is safer than hearts, where I might well additionally lose a trick to the HJ. The spade contract is pretty safe. In this case I will trump an opening diamond lead with S7, lead my top trumps, and then if the HJ has not appeared I will run my hearts from the top. I could lose if the trumps are 5-0, but not if they are 4-1. My feeling is that Grand is still the most profitable contract, but I have not tried to calculate the probabilities.

Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Posted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:49 pm
by Mike Tobias
Patrick Phair wrote:OK, that looks reasonable. Suppose the discards are D9 and C9, making the Grand less attractive.

Patrick
If the other two cards were D9 C9, I'd discard the S10 instead and keep three Luschen. The only way it can lose is if the HK is trumped on trick one for a fourth trick, but with 9pts max on that, it'd still probably win