Hands from last Sunday

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.

Hands from last Sunday

Postby Patrick Phair » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:09 pm

Here are a few queries from last Sunday's tournament. I am still in the course of writing this up, and I suspect that one of the scoresheets
is wrong.

(1) How far do you bid with the following hands?

(a) Hinterhand
J: C
C: Q
S: AK87
H: TK8
D: K

(b) Hinterhand
J: CS
C: A9
S: 98
H: A8
D: A9

(c) Mittelhand
J: S
C: AT8
S: 9
H: 7
D: AT98

(2) Suppose you win the bidding with hand (b) at either 18 or 27 and pick up the skat which has H7 and DQ. What do you play?

Patrick
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby John McLeod » Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:38 am

1a pass - might possibly bid to 20 if in a really optimistic mood
1b 27 but see below
1c 18 - don't see any justification for going higher

2. This hand had a good chance of developing into a Grand but this is about the worst possible skat. I think I would have discarded s98 and played hearts, but it's tempting to try the Grand in any case.

I just used Kiebitz to deal the other cards half a dozen times, and found to my surprise that the the Grand made against best defence in all three cases where the trumps were divided. Even in the case where both jacks were in one hand it sometimes makes - on one deal it made against any defence and in the other two it needed accurate defence to beat it.

The tactics for making Grand are interesting. You discard s98 and in the hands I looked at the key is to use your jacks to trump spades rather than attempt to draw the enemy jacks. For example if you get the almost expected lead of the sA you trump it and lead diamonds - first the ace and then continue diamonds (!), leading the 9 to throw the opponents in. That gives you an extra chance to ruff another spade or catch a picture with one of your aces.

So given that Grand is a reasonable prospect even with this skat perhaps my answer to 1b is wrong and I should carry on bidding, at any rate if it seems as though I am bidding against a Null. If the other bidder seems to be bidding on a suit, that suggests (a) that there is nothing really good in the skat and (b) that the breaks may be bad, so it is probably better to let the other person play.
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby Patrick Phair » Wed Jun 08, 2016 6:38 pm

These hands are from session 2 last Sunday. I realised that I might have lost that session when I went off on board 6, but I was very surprised to lose to Alban by 326 points so I looked further.

Hands a and c are both board 16. I must have been in an optimistic mood with hand a since the final bid was 22 and I presumably bid that. Nick, however, said "yes" to 22 with hand c, picked up two red jacks from the skat and made Grand with schneider for +72. Alban was more fortunate since Robin with hand c left him in 20. He therefore held after the exchange
J: CHD
C: -
S: AK87
H: TK8
D: -
with seven points in the discard. I am not convinced that this is a Grand, but Alban bid it and made it even though a defender held S TQ and H AQ9.

This suggests to me that Alban is rather aggressive with his Grand bids, so he probably bid it again four hands later on board 20 (hand b). The scoresheet claims that Robin made a Grand with/without 2 as Mittelhand, but Robin held
J: -
C: K8
S: ATQ7
H: Q
D: TK7

This has to be a scoring error -- the hand is far too weak for Grand and isn't with or without 2. I must therefore assume Alban made Grand with hand b, in which case I actually lost the session by 448 and Alban should have come second in the tournament ahead of Nick!

Patrick
Last edited by Patrick Phair on Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby John McLeod » Thu Jun 09, 2016 12:11 am

Patrick Phair wrote:He therefore held after the exchange
J: CHD
C: -
S: AK87
H: TK8
D: -
with seven points in the discard. I am not convinced that this is a Grand, but Alban bid it and made it even though a defender held S TQ and H AQ9.


I have dealt the remaining 13 cards about 10 times (giving HH the above hand with cQ, dK in the skat, MH sTQ and hAQ9 as specified and VH s9 and h7). The Grand made against best defence in all but one case, and that one was close. The play is interesting. Obviously it's best for the defenders to lead a club or diamond. Declarer trumps this, draws the enemy trump and leads the HK. Now the holder of the HA must play it. He cannot afford to hold up the HA, waiting to catch the ten. If he does the declarer will switch to spades and the defence will make only 3 tricks (2 hearts and a spade), usually with insufficient points.

But now the declarer's sA and hT are winners and he has the last trump. In order to stop him setting up his spades the defenders have to keep leading clubs and diamonds. So the declarer waits until they lead something worth trumping and cashes his tricks, scrambling just enough points to make.

So I am reasonably convinced that it is a valid Grand.
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby Patrick Phair » Thu Jun 09, 2016 2:53 pm

This surprises me. If HK is taken declarer loses control and may take only five tricks (three jacks, HT and SA). These total 27 points; add in the discard, the fourth jack and SQ and the total becomes 39. The "something worth trumping" will bring this up to 49 or 50. Where do the remaining points come from?

The defence is much harder if HK is ducked. Declarer now sets up spades by leading a small one. The defenders will be limited to three tricks
which will include declarer's HT. They therefore need to contribute 50 points in their six cards in those tricks. If S9 was discarded on a trump there is a little leeway, but otherwise ST will have to be under declarer and its holder must have exactly three of the last five ten-cards.

Patrick
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby John McLeod » Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:25 pm

Patrick Phair wrote:This surprises me. If HK is taken declarer loses control and may take only five tricks (three jacks, HT and SA). These total 27 points; add in the discard, the fourth jack and SQ and the total becomes 39. The "something worth trumping" will bring this up to 49 or 50. Where do the remaining points come from?

The remaining points are the ones the declarer caught with his first trump. If the defenders are cunning enough to play only small clubs or diamonds on the first trick, declarer discards his small heart on that trick and trumps the next one.
I'm not saying that it's a guaranteed win. The declarer has a good prospect of succeeding but you can also come up with deals where he is a few points short if the defence is accurate enough.
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby John McLeod » Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:39 pm

... and if the defenders do not give the declarer any big card to trump on either of the first two tricks, the declarer has the option to throw away two hearts. When he eventually trumps in he will draw their trump and set up spades. The defenders will win 4 tricks: the first two, the hA catching the h10 and h7, and the s10. Together with the hK thrown by declarer that's 35 points, so the defenders need another 25, which is not easy to arrange given that they can't afford to give declarer the chance to trump an ace in trick 1 or 2. Not impossible, but it requires pinpoint accuracy on the part of the defenders.
Now I'm looking forward to seeing whether the defence had any chance against this contract on the actual deal.
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby Patrick Phair » Fri Jun 10, 2016 11:34 pm

The full hand was:

Vorhand (John/Rob)
J: -
C: K97
D: TQ
H: AQ9
D: Q7

Mittelhand (Nick/Robin)
J: S
C: AT8
S: 9
H: 7
T: AT98

Hinterhand (Patrick/Alban)
J: C
C: Q
S: AK97
H: TK8
D: K

Skat: HJ, DJ

Alban won the bidding at 20 and decided on Grand, making for +48. Nick held my bid of 22 and made Grand for +72.

Patrick
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby John McLeod » Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:06 am

On this deal the Grand is invincible. Declarer follows the strategy I suggested. If an Ace or Ten of clubs or diamonds appears in the first two tricks the declarer trumps it, draws the enemy trump and then leads the hK. If no Ace or Ten appears in the first two tricks the declarer throws hearts and later draws the trump and establishes his spades: in this scenario the defenders can't put enough points on their 4 tricks.
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Re: Hands from last Sunday

Postby Patrick Phair » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:41 am

The hand is invincible because the valuable cards in clubs and diamonds are in the same hand, so they cannot all be saved for the few tricks declarer loses at the end. Having these cards in the hand under declarer makes it even harder for the defence to pick up points.

Patrick
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