Is it bad to have seven trumps?

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.

Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby nswedd » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:49 am

Last Saturday, hand 2 in session 1 was

Code: Select all
    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
Code: Select all
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
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby John McLeod » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:13 pm

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.
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby Mike Tobias » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:36 pm

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.
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby Patrick Phair » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:48 pm

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
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby John McLeod » Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:58 pm

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.
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby Patrick Phair » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:54 pm

OK -- that's probably right.

How about if the heart suit were solid?

Patrick
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby John McLeod » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:56 am

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.
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby Patrick Phair » Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:12 am

OK, that looks reasonable. Suppose the discards are D9 and C9, making the Grand less attractive.

Patrick
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby John McLeod » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:11 am

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.
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Re: Is it bad to have seven trumps?

Postby Mike Tobias » Sun Sep 10, 2017 7:49 pm

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
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