Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Partnership defence?

Continuing where we left off, we could say that if declarer has 2-1, i.e. K of diamonds is the game-going trick, we will not beat it. Then our aim would be to make sure we won't fail to beat it when declarer is 1-2. If declarer's diamond is the J, partner could face a nasty decision. And if it's a low one, partner might have losing options as well. He doesn't know everything we does. Make it easy. Discard the Q of diamonds (the T would work also with the 9 visible in dummy). When declarer leads a diamond, partner will surely grab the ace and shift to something and we will know exactly how to cash out.

We could also say that we don't like to give up when declarer is 2-1. Can we trick declarer into going down, and minimize the risk of letting a beatable contract through if declarer's minor suit shape is reversed?

Our only option then is the 2 of diamonds (playing UDCA). By showing strength with the 2, partner will know we have the Q so if declarer leads a low, he'll take the ace. If declarer has Jx and believes you have the ace, he might try a 'chinese finesse' and let the J ride if not covered. Slam! The other variant is if partner gains the lead in clubs and shifts to a low diamond and declarer misguesses. Partner would never lead away from a holding including the J, so that might work. But, a suspicious declarer would probably get it right as with this particular dummy there is no hurry for the defenders to attack diamonds. So the only reason for doing that is 'trickery'.

Also, if we signal with the 2 and partner ducks a stiff J, declarer may put up the K and leave you regretting that one. On the other hand, maybe partner can deduce that you'd only try this from a 5-card suit, i.e. he'd duck the J from a Axx but win the ace from Axxx...?

Summing up: Going legit - help partner by ditching the Q. Possible con - signal with the 2.

This time either option would have worked as declarer held a glorious 9-count without the J of D.


As astout readers can gather from previous posts, the contract made at the table when the 5 was discarded and partner ducked the diamond.

Anyone wanting to add to this analysis in the 'search for truth' are welcome to post comments. We often learn the most from disasters.


Val said...

Hello Ulf,

I think both defenders have enough information (even if it's not clear wheter declarer is 6-4 in the M's or not)after the first 2 tricks to know that an aggressive defence is not required except for the case where declarer is singleton in diamonds. So, the only usefull information east shld provide at his first opportunity is the count in diamonds in case p has the ace. Playing std I wld discard D2. Playing udca the 5 (I like the Q too)

Patrick Bocken

P.S.: I like your blog a lot, keep posting :)

Sartaj Hans said...

The hand is tricky. Need to read through your posts again carefully ....
But one of the things that stands out is that the diamond play by declarer smells like a singleton.
Irrespective of what partner has....

With the DQ, declarers tend to muck around in the other suits, aiming for a semi strip or similar.

As a practical matter, the diamond ace should probably go up.
As a theoretical matter, the jury is "in the tank" :)


ulven said...

Regarding the diamond being a length signal, I don't think the layout is that strongly indicated this early on this hand for this to be a clear shift of priorities (i.e from attitude to length).

As for rising with the diamond ace, sure from a practical point of view you probably should. But to what point should partner's signals guide you then? I can't see how the 5 can be pitched from this holding. If you agree, then grabbing the ace is pointless. Declarer will have at least one more diamond and maybe you were just handed a gift from a misplay or maybe it's overtricks or I don't know what. I then only know the diamond wont run away.

Sure we should always try to guard against our partner 'misdefending', but [re-iterating] to that degree? Should every card be mistrusted? As for the argument that we should assume an expert declarer to play a certain way, we all know they don't.

This is one way you gain imps, by exploiting declarer errors. If we eye partner suspiciously, those gifts will be handed right back a lot of the time.

PiotrekL said...


I just wanted to say I came across your blog yestarday and read it all. The most interesting read about bridge I had for long long time. I especially like your ideas/views abotu bidding theory.

Keep it up :)

ulven said...

Thanks! I'm glad people enjoy reading it. Now thinking more along the lines of submitting articles to magazines. Had one in the Australian Bridge last spring, Just got one in this issue of The Bridge World and has another one coming.